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How to Teach Your Dog to Talk,

by Captain Haggerty (Fireside, $13).

Synopsis: Your dog can learn to make sounds that approximate English words, as well as perform a variety of other tasks, such as fetching Kleenex or a ringing cell phone. The author, retired from the U.S. Army K-9 Corps, suggests you consider what you would eventually like your dog to say when picking

your breed.

Representative quote: "A slightly undershot bite, as found in Affenpinschers, Boxers and Brussels Griffons, is great for the difficult to duplicate 'f' sound."

Noteworthy flaw: No explanation given as to what happened to the author's first name.

Bacchus & Me: Adventures in the Wine Cellar, by Jay McInerney (Lyons Press, $24.95).

Synopsis: The best-selling New York novelist finds fresh material in his deep affection

for wine, yielding a book its publisher claims is at least partially intended for readers of "modest purse."

Representative quote: "Like a head banger discussing Nirvana after Nevermind, I was one of those reverse snobs about [Dom Perignon]. The '88 vintage, which was a little tough for my taste, tended to confirm my skepticism when it was first released. But the sensational '90 vintage--and a tasting of mature vintages dating back to '75--has made a new believer out of me."

Noteworthy flaw: "I've had daydreams about accepting the Nobel prize for literature since I was seventeen."

Mauve: How One Man Invented a Color that Changed the World, by Simon Garfield (Norton, $23.95).

Synopsis: The latest entry in the duplicate-the-success-of-Dava-Sobel's-Longitude-by-disinterring-an-obscure-bit-of-history competition chronicles the story of English chemist William Perkin, who invented the first synthetic dye.

Representative quote: "In this way he solved some of the last remaining dilemmas surrounding mauve--how best to apply it to calico and paper. He established new fixatives that would benefit the entire industry."

Noteworthy flaw: Some of the dye's applications are more disgusting than others: "'In eating the luscious frankfurter, your soul rejoices to see the sanguineous liquid oozing from the meat--alas, coal-tar colours have done it.'"

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