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Name That Tome

November 13, 2000|ROY RIVENBURG | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Not every book can be a bestseller. And when you see some of the goofy titles that land on our desk, you can understand why.

Here's a rundown of the season's most unusual book titles, along with brief excerpts. For sport, we've thrown in four fake titles as well. See if you can spot the impostors and then check your answers at the end of the article.

* "Yawn! Bedtime Reading for Insomniacs." An anthology of coma-inducing reading material, such as airline ticket fine print, a treatise on ingrown toenails, and President Clinton's grand jury testimony.

Use, duplication, or disclosure by the government is subject to restrictions as set forth in FAR 52.227-14 (June 1987) Alternate III(g)(e) (June 1987), FAR 52.227-19 (June 1987), or DFARS 52.227-7013 (c)(l)(iii) (June 1988), as applicable. (from a Lotus software agreement)

* "The World According to Al Gore." A companion to the anti-insomnia book listed above.

"Here in this studio, the air that we're breathing while we're talking has 600% more chlorine atoms in each breath we take right now than it did when you and I were born." (From a 1992 C-Span interview.)

* "Yoga for Animals." A method for helping household pets achieve inner peace.

Fido may resist the lotus position at first, but with positive reinforcement, he can learn to become a canine pretzel. And the results will be astounding: fewer "accidents" in the house, reduced stress, and no more attacks against the mailman.

* "Look Great Naked." Whip those flabby thighs, abdomens and other "trouble zones" into shape.

Barbara was clearly distressed. "Brad, you need to help me. In two months I'm going to the Bahamas and there's no way I'm putting on a bathing suit looking like this!"

* "Even God is Single." A collection of snappy comebacks for people who are sick of being asked, "Why aren't you married?"

Married people are not necessarily better catches. Hitler got married. Frankenstein got married. Linda Tripp got married.

* "Slut!" Growing up with a reputation for being naughty.

Given her environment of male sexual domination and female sexual subordination, I find it amazing that Rosalina had the strength to insist on her right to an independent sex life.

* "Disguises for Your Dog." Instructions for dressing your pooch as a mummy, a flying saucer or an Oriental lamp.

Deep down within every dog's heart is a hidden desire to be mysterious, to be incognito, to live out their darkest fantasies.

* "To-Do Lists of the Dead." Reminder notes penned by now-deceased notables.

Abraham Lincoln: 1) Free slaves. 2) Think of fancy way to say "87 years ago." 3) Beef up security at Ford's Theater.

* "Muskrat Thugs: The Captain & Tennille Story." An unauthorized biography of the 1970s pop music duo.

The Captain was livid. So livid that steam seemed to rise from his trademark cap. "Damn those muskrats and their love!" he bellowed to the sound engineer.

* "Talking Dirty With the Queen of Clean." Her royal highness of housekeeping shows you how to turn your home into a sparkling palace.

Over the years, I have found that there is one room that generates question after question, and that room is the bathroom.

* "Graffiti for Dummies." A step-by-step guide to creating spray-paint art on freeway signs, buildings and trains.

Working under cover of darkness is the best way to avoid getting caught, but you might have trouble seeing what you're doing. Wait for a full moon or purchase a miner's helmet to illuminate your "canvas."

* "Fifty Acres and a Poodle: A Story of Love, Livestock and Finding Myself on a Farm." A city girl moves to the country. Sort of a nonfiction version of "Green Acres."

I think of decorating the entire farmhouse in poodle art. I think of a poodle weather vane on the barn.

* "Thanks for the Mammogram!" The lighter side of breast cancer. (Still no plans to issue a sequel, "Thanks for the Prostate Exam, Pal!")

I had to decide whether I wanted reconstructive surgery, the build-a-breast route. Kind of like Legos, except the pieces don't snap together.

* "Bigfoot's Mistress." The diary of an Idaho woman who claims she had a six-year affair with Sasquatch.

"Sassy" never spoke, but he was able to communicate through gestures and eye contact. I never breathed a word of the affair to my then-husband, Hans. He wouldn't have understood.

* "Don't Ask for the Dead Man's Golf Clubs." Advice on how to help someone cope with the death of a loved one.

Don't ever say, "I know it's not the same, but I can really empathize because I lost my dog."

Answers: The fake book titles are "Yoga for Animals" (our original idea was "Yoga for Pets," but that title actually exists), "Muskrat Thugs: The Captain & Tennille Story," "Graffiti for Dummies" and "Bigfoot's Mistress." The rest are all real. In some cases, too real.

Publishers: "Yawn!" (Ten Speed Press); "The World According to Al Gore" (Renaissance Books); "Look Great Naked" (Prentice Hall Press); "Even God is Single" (Workman); "Slut!" (Perennial); "Disguises for Your Dog" (Thomas Dunne Books); "To-Do Lists of the Dead" (Andrews McMeel); "Talking Dirty With the Queen of Clean" (Pocket Books); "Fifty Acres and a Poodle" (Bantam Books); "Thanks for the Mammogram!" (Fleming H. Revell); "Don't Ask for the Dead Man's Golf Clubs" (Workman).

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Roy Rivenburg's e-mail address is roy.rivenburg@latimes.com.

Fake Book covers created by REUBEN MUNOZ / Los Angeles Times

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