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: I'm someone who's always felt that the mediocre Coen Bros. movie "Burn After Reading" should have been called "Burn Before Reading." At least that way there'd be a joke in it. But I'm pleased to discover that the "burn before reading" joke shows up in Monday Begins on Saturday by another set of brothers, the brothers Strugatski.

I looked over the bare junk-laden room with shards of strange models and fragments of unprofessional drawings, paused by the door to poke my shoe at the folder bearing the smudged legend Absolutely Secret. Burn Before Reading, and went on.

It's an excellent book full of the deadpan fantastic I love so much. I got it from Susan McCarthy, who keeps books in her attic and puts corks from wine bottles on the deadly nails sticking through the attic roof. "One day anthropologists will come up here," she says, "and they'll say 'I guess she came up here and got drunk and read.'"


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