Over many years, John McPhee has written well about an extraordinary range of topics. Oranges, museums, shipping, geology, conservation, and basketball are among them. This volume collects lovely, and often hilarious, notes about subject that got away. Some were profiles whose subject died, or turned out to be busy. Some, like a profile of every other Princeton in the U.S. never quite gelled. “Nothing goes well in a piece of writing,” McPhee reminds us “until it is in its final stages or done.