Pickering is the real-life model for John Keating, the unconventional English teacher in the film Dead Poet's Society . That connection, which is played up prominently in this fourth collection of essays by Pickering, is more than self-serving; it offers an interesting perspective on the wit and wisdom in these 14 pieces. Musing upon such events as his election to the school board, his mother's death, and his sudden notoriety as a result of the movie, Pickering writes in an enjoyable, conversational tone that builds a rapport with his reader. When done well, personal essays such as these can be revealing and entertaining pieces of literature. Pickering does it well.-- Martin J. Hudacs, Towanda H.S., Pa.