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The Compleat Cockroach, by David George Gordon (Ten Speed Press, $11.95).

Synopsis: A comprehensive, illustrated examination of "the most despised (and least understood) creature on earth."

Representative quote: "Upon lifting the oil cloth of the kitchen table, the edge of the table was found to be encrusted by a great mass of German roaches. These began to fall like rain drops and frantically scatter upon contacting the mist from the aerosol bomb."

Noteworthy flaw: A comprehensive, illustrated examination of "the most despised (and least understood) creature on earth."

A Field Guide to Cows: How to Identify and Appreciate America's 52 Breeds, by John Pukite (Penguin, $11.95).

Synopsis: All the detailed descriptions and accurate illustrations, plus interesting histories, you need to participate in the thrilling sport of cow watching.

Representative quote: "A white belt encircles the body behind the shoulders and before the rump; the udders are usually white."

Noteworthy flaw: "Cows are easy to find, readily identifiable, and enjoyable to view and hear moo."

Be Careful What You Pray For...You Just Might Get It, by Larry Dossey, MD (HarperSanFrancisco, $13).

Synopsis: "Negative prayers"--the various curses, hexes, spells, and evil eyes found in cultures all over the world--are all real, scientifically proven phenomena.

Representative quote: "If we've once had chicken pox, we won't get it again; not so with hexes. Having been medically cursed once does little to immunize us against the next episode, as the following case shows."

Noteworthy flaw: If negative prayers worked, Kenneth Starr's head would have exploded in a ball of flame a long time ago.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): book covers.

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