The Half-Jewish Book: A Celebration, by Daniel Klein and Freke Vuijst (Villard, $22.95).
Synopsis: Judaism isn’t so much a religion that you either practice or don’t but rather a genetic trait, like skin color. Being half-Jewish is “a rich and elaborate personal identity, one with an illustrious and fascinating tradition.”
Representative quote: “It doesn’t matter if the Jewish parent is observant or not….It also doesn’t matter in which–if any–religion the person was brought up or what religion he has chosen to follow. In other words, a person is half-Jewish if half of his genetic/cultural makeup is Jewish and half is not. That’s it.”
Noteworthy flaw: Fails to note inevitable sequels: “The One-Quarter-Jewish Book,” “The One-Eighth-Jewish Book,” “The One-Sixteenth-Jewish Book,” and, ultimately, “The Not-Jewish-at-All Book.”
Your Fate Is in Your Hands: Using the Principles of Palmistry to Change Your Life, by Donna McCue with Stacey Donovan (Pocket Books, $13.95).
Synopsis: The lines on your palms, the curves of your fingers, the creases on your wrists all provide a clear window not only into your soul but into your future. Nonbelievers scoff, but serious science backs this up.
Representative quote: “Scientists have concluded that both the cerebral cortex and the hand develop from the same stem cell material–the ectoderm of the fertilized egg cell–which underscores the profound and real connection between the hand and brain.”
Noteworthy flaw: Everything in the body develops from the same stem-cell material, which by McCue’s reasoning means there’s an equally profound and real connection between her head and her ass.
God Speaks on Family: Practical wisdom for the 21st century, by Ivan Sokolov (Soulfodder Press, $12.95).
Synopsis: Every day the Lord God Almighty shares his thoughts with British executive coach Ivan Sokolov, who writes them down. The God of today is a lot more free and easy than the uptight God of old, who tended to judge. Abortion is fine with new God. Birth control and infidelity are too (you might as well cheat, since marriage seldom works, long term). God wants school to be fun.
Representative quote: “In the first seven or eight years, avoid teaching any intellectually demanding subjects. The three ‘R’s could be valuably removed from the curriculum altogether, and replaced by painting, music, creative play, caring for animals and plants, and learning reverence for all things natural and each other.”
Noteworthy flaw: At the end of the book, God urges readers to check out Sokolov’s previous volume, God Speaks on Life.