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Hot Chocolate for the Mystical Soul: 101 True Stories of Angels, Miracles, and Healings, by Arielle Ford (Plume, $13.95).

Synopsis: Deepak Chopra's publicist presents inspirational stories of life-changing encounters with volcanoes and pyramids, as well as her own feelings of love for a dolphin.

Representative quote: "Suddenly I was a bird."

Noteworthy flaw: Foreword by another client, Mark Victor Hansen, author of Chicken Soup for the Soul, reminds reader of second-tier, derivative nature of book.

Fitness is Religion: Keep the Faith, by Ray Kybartas (Simon & Schuster, $24).

Synopsis: Madonna's personal trainer explains how staying in peak condition requires a leap of faith and religious devotion.

Representative quote: "Madonna shares my belief that the pursuit of fitness is the pursuit of wholeness, a religious regimen that can empower each of us to cope with the overwhelming pressures of our day-to-day existence."

Noteworthy flaw: Reveals that his nickname for Madonna is "Evilsky."

Sweat Your Prayers: Movement as Spiritual Practice, by Gabrielle Roth (Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, $22.95).

Synopsis: Dancing is both a religion and a path to solving all your problems. "Sweat is holy water, prayer beads, pearls of liquid that release your past, anointing all your parts in a baptism of fire."

Representative quote: "I danced into another dimension, a place beyond the borders of my physical self. As I moved I felt myself transforming into a raven, taking flight in a wailing wind."

Noteworthy flaw: Occasionally lists appropriate dance music, all of which happens to be from albums produced by the author.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): book covers.


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