New fiction and nonfiction briefly noted; Garfield discovers art history; Metropolitan Cats, text by John P. O'Neill, design by Alvin Grossman. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art/Harry N. Abrams. 112 pp. $25.

If the premise behind this expensive art book based on the appearance of cats , incidentally or prominently, in a museum's holdings strikes you as a commercial gimmick, your instincts are probably sound. The Met is unashamedly hitching a ride on the Garfield-Kliban wave of feline best sellers. The commentary is forgettable, but the reason to snatch up this book is the glorious reproductions. The art comes from every school and age: Staffordshire ceramics, Chinese and Japanese scrolls, Egyptian tomb frescoes, Mughal miniatures, 20 th-century illustration and lithography.

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