September 08, 1986 12:00 PM

by H. Thomas Steele

Treating bowling like a real sport is much the same as treating Twinkies like real food: It takes all the fun out of things. That’s why this friendly-spirited survey of bowling art is so enjoyable. It’s built on illustrations rounded up by Steele, a Los Angeles graphics designer. There are bowling shirts and patches and neon alley signs. There’s an insignia from the 19th Army Bombardment Squadron in World War II, showing a ball splattering the pins. There’s an angry 1978 painting of scattered pins, Bowling II, by James Chatelain. There’s a cover of a 1946 issue of Bowlers Journal and Billiard Revue showing Ronald Reagan and his then wife, Jane Wyman, at Sunset Bowl in Los Angeles. Steele, who refuses to divulge his own average, might alienate purists by referring to the “15-pound” balls he remembers encountering as a boy—most men use a 16-pounder—but then if we wanted scientific books on bowling, we’d wait for Carl Sagan to write one. (Abbeville, $19.95)

You May Like