Computers as Tutors: Solving the Crisis in Education, by Frederick Bennett, PhD (Faben, $25).
Synopsis: Teachers suffer from “sickness, accidents, psychological problems, boredom, and burnout.” Computers will do a better job. Students will get the social interaction they need by stretching and going to the bathroom.
Representative quote: “By occasionally shifting machines and physical locations, pupils can meet other groups during school sessions.”
Noteworthy flaw: Claims that classes will not be torpedoed by malfunctioning machines and program bugs. “For those that occur, an outside expert will be contacted by telephone.”
Magick Made Easy: Charms, Spells, Potions, & Power, by Patricia Telesco (HarperSanFrancisco, $16).
Synopsis: Don’t get caught up in the exotic eye-of-newt image of sorcery. Magick, with a k, can be summoned with common household objects: duct tape, mustard, rubber bands.
Representative quote: “Dental floss is a perfectly suitable substitute to use for knot magick, binding and releasing. Bless minty dental floss before using it to sweeten and energize your words.”
Noteworthy flaw: “Our ancestors didn’t have a lot of time for complex or meaningless procedures.”
Simplify Your Life With Kids: 100 Ways to Make Family Life Easier and More Fun, by Elaine St. James (Andrews McMeel, $14.95).
Synopsis: Simple strategies make child rearing easier. Set the breakfast table the night before. Don’t work overtime, or chat on the phone, or watch television, or flip through magazines. Avoid having pets. No “excessive laundering and housekeeping.” Stay organized.
Representative quote: “Make up a master list of the items you purchase regularly and run off copies of it to use as your weekly shopping list….If you arrange the list in the same order that the items appear in the aisles of the supermarket, you never have to backtrack.”
Noteworthy flaw: Encourages parents to get kids involved in sports, volunteering, religious groups, and after-school activities, while urging them not to “overschedule.”