August 06, 1979 12:00 PM

by Vance Muse

This book is billed as “an arbitrary encyclopedia of things to be afraid of, including weekends, sea snakes, nylon underwear, ambulance services, organ builders, pay toilets, encounter groups, zippers, Nevada, ballpoint pens, telephone solicitation, July and August.” Then there’s oxygen, for example: “Some cities report unacceptable air quality 320 days a year.” Ballpoint pens: “A motorcyclist could have walked away from a minor collision had he not been stabbed to death by the ballpoint pen he kept in his front pocket.” Love the summertime? “In addition to snakebites, fatal insect stings and sunburns, July and August also usher in the year’s most burglaries, assaults, rapes and murders.” For those who thrive on anxiety, this book will be even more fun than waiting for an IRS audit. (Times Books, $8.95)

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