These recent selections are from diaries Edward Hoagland has kept from the 1950s to the present, not so much diaries, perhaps, as observations, jottings, notes, material for use one day in his essays, the form he much prefers. He has written four novels, Cat Man, The Circle Home, The Peacock's Tail, and Seven Rivers West, this last in 1986, and since then has often focused on subjects from nature, though on urban and personal topics as well. His nonfiction books, eleven of them, include Notes from the Century Before, The Courage of Turtles, Walking the Dead Diamond River, The Tugman's Passage, Red Wolves and Black Bears, Balancing Acts, Tigers & Ice, and Compass Points. Alfred Kazin described Hoagland as one of the best "personal essayists" - "a virtuoso of the reader-capsizing sentence, a splendid observer of city street, circus lot, go-go girls, freight trains, juries in the jury room plus and, especially, any and every surviving patch of North American wild he can get to moon around in. " At present, Hoagland, who has partly overcome a serious stutter, is among the most sought-after teachers at Bennington College in Vermont.