Joshua Piven, , read by Burt Reynolds. . Listen & Live, $16.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-885408-69-3

You've just leapt off a building and, noticing a Dumpster below, you thank your stars that you've spent several hours listening to this cassette, and you can now land in said Dumpster without breaking your back. Although it is rather unlikely that you will ever use any of the material presented in the book—how to perform a tracheotomy, or bring a plane in for an emergency landing—these things do happen every once in a while. To someone, somewhere—maybe. So it couldn't hurt to bone up on some skills, right? Though neither written nor read in a humorous manner, the book nevertheless amuses in a strange way; the decision to group numerous bizarre crises into two hours of tape, not to mention some of the particularly far-fetched scenarios ("How to Leap from a Motorcycle to a Car" or "How to Escape from Killer Bees") often exceed our expectations of absurdity. You can imagine needing to know CPR some day, but how many of us will have the opportunity to wrestle free from an alligator? As a man who has seemingly leapt into Dumpsters and jumped into moving vehicles (or had a stunt double perform these things), Reynolds seems a wise choice for a reader. Unfortunately, his presentation is flat and unenthusiastic, and it sounds like he's reading the material for the first time. Misplaced emphases render several passages difficult to understand. However, Reynolds's familiar voice, combined with the offbeat material, affords some camp appeal in the tradition of outdated high school safety films. Based on the Chronicle paperback. (Apr.)