250 Things You Can Do to Make Your Cat Adore You, by Ingrid Newkirk (Fireside, $11).
Synopsis: Newkirk, the founder of PETA, outlines your moral obligations to your cat. Cleaning the litter box every day is not enough--do it after each use. Serve vegetarian cat food, of course--better if you bake it yourself.
Representative quote: "Preheat oven to 325¡F (160¡C). Add 1/2 cup oil and 3 cups water (as necessary) to 7 cups of the 60-Day dry ingredient mixture [another 16 steps]....Store in covered container."
Noteworthy flaw: Suggests the ideal scratching post is a tree stump "about eighteen inches in diameter and three to four feet tall" foraged from your local forest.
To Seek Out New Life: The Biology of Star Trek, by Athena Andreadis, PhD (Crown, $21).
Synopsis: The biological underpinnings of the four Star Trek television series and eight Star Trek films are explored, including the Vulcan mind meld.
Representative quote: "Could fingertips be attuned to molecular fluxes? That sounds outlandish, but we find many peculiar sensors within the terrestrial animal kingdom. For example, some bacteria can sense magnetic fields."
Noteworthy flaw: Opens door for companion volume, "Yes, Master: The Physics of I Dream of Jeannie."
When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair: 50 Ways to Feel Thin, Gorgeous, and Happy (When You Feel Anything But), by Geneen Roth (Hyperion, $15.95).
Synopsis: Obesity isn't bad simply because hauling around 50 pounds of extra fat is unhealthy--it's a mental thing. Never diet. Carry chocolate with you at all times and eat it whenever you like.
Representative quote: "Bring enough to share. Trust me, no matter what is going on at the table before you take out your chocolate, the tone will instantly change when you unveil the wrapper. Conversations will stop. Eyes will gleam."
Noteworthy flaw: Doesn't realize tablemates' eyes are gleaming with pity at sight of obese friend pulling out giant chocolate bar in the middle of lunch.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): book covers.