Truncated Buzz About Books 

This month, demolish intelligent design and play a game based on being hanged.

A Tokyo tour guide fears that his rubbery-skinned American client is a serial killer in In the Miso Soup (Penguin, $14), the latest novel in translation (by Ralph McCarthy) from Ryu Murakami, chronicler of Japanese decadence and no relation to any other famous literary Murakamis. ... Zany party games (such as "Hanging," based on imminent executions), birdwatching tips, and nosebleed remedies are among thousands of reissued vintage do-it ideas in The Weekend Book (Overlook, $17.95), edited by Francis Meynell. ... Tom Selleck was originally pegged to play Indiana Jones, as Sheerly Avni reveals in Cinema by the Bay (JAK, $39.95), the most beautiful coffee-table book about the most beautiful films made in the most beautiful spot on Earth. Lustrous photographs augment inside scoops on a dozen directors' careers. ... A hunky blond ship's captain rescued Jack London from cannibals in the Solomon Islands one day in 1908. Edited by Gary Riedl, Jack London's Tales of Cannibals and Headhunters (University of New Mexico, $24.95) includes true South Seas misadventures. ... Science versus intelligent design: It's the battle between an idea and the absence of an idea, as explicated brilliantly in sixteen new essays by leading scientists in Intelligent Thought (Vintage, $14), edited by John Brockman.

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