cover image Return of the Straight Dope

Return of the Straight Dope

Cecil Adams. Ballantine Books, $23 (448pp) ISBN 978-0-345-38111-8

Cecil (as he refers to himself) is clearly a man with access to many databases; he's an entertaining know-it-all, full of peculiar and often fascinating information. In his latest volume (after The Straight Dope and More of the Straight Dope ), a collection of his syndicated Q & A columns, Cecil discourses snappily on a wide range of subjects, among them cow tipping, the significance of Star Dates, the odds of contracting HIV from heterosexual intercourse, what happens if you're driving at the speed of light and turn your headlights on. His lively columns frequently provoke corrections, amplifications and hostility from his readers. Fans of Jan Brunvand's (an oft-quoted pal of Cecil's) Urban Legends books will love this one. (Apr.)