David Mamet, Theatre (Faber & Faber, $22). In this hard-nosed little book, the author of American Buffalo and Glengarry Glen Ross concisely sets forth his explanations of what theater is, how it works, why most directors and all critics are idiots, and why people who don’t write plays like David Mamet are basically wasting their time. He also finishes the job of outing himself as a libertarian-flavored not-quite-conservative. Since Mamet is also one of the major American playwrights of the twentieth century, all this is of obvious interest to anyone who cares about theater, and it’s expressed so compellingly (if repetitiously) that you can’t help but get swept up in the current of the author’s absolute self-assurance. You may not like Theatre, but you’ll learn from it (TT).