From Publishers Weekly
London literary agent Geller revolves his mock science of Judology around an equation that weighs the potential for anti-Semitic backlash, links to Jewish culture and worldwide cultural influence to determine whether a given subject is, as the old saying goes, "Good for the Jews" or "Not Good for the Jews." Of course, the numbers turn out to be largely meaningless, as the real substance of Geller's evaluations lie in his idiosyncratic commentaries. In some cases, the effort to find a Jewish connection feels strained, and most of the discussions are lightweight. The Godfather films, for example, are Good because they diverted attention from Jewish gangsters, while Nigella Lawson's love of ham and pork dishes make her Not Good. But there are thoughtful discussions of subjects like eBay's policy against allowing auctions of Nazi memorabilia and the impact of TiVo on Orthodox TV viewing. A lengthy section toward the end assesses various countries for their suitability as vacation spots, and a recurring sidebar presents a world history timeline from a Jewish perspective (the Louisiana Purchase is dubbed "a sweet kosher deal"). Unfortunately, there's really only one joke here, and though it's amusing in small doses, it can't sustain the entire book. (Oct.)
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In the 1950s, it was common for Jewish kids to hear their parents whispering about current events: "Is it good for the Jews?" (The Rosenbergs--not so much.) Apparently, the whispering is still going on, prompting Geller to come up with a formula to answer all the questions. Here's how it works: anti-Semitic factor plus impact on the world times the level of Jewishness equals Tzurus
(i.e., trouble) divided by seven equals good or not good for the Jews. Grouped alphabetically, the list of topics Geller rates on this scale constitutes an eclectic mix of bedfellows: alcohol is next to the Amish, and K-Y Jelly snuggles beside Karma. After each entry comes a definition and some examples of the term and an explanation of what went into the rating. There are surprises: Monica Lewinsky--good for the Jews! Andrew Lloyd Webber--not good for the Jews! Sidebars include lists of anti--Semitic writers (Roald Dahl, Agatha Christie, and Graham Greene, among others). He doesn't address Mel Gibson, but let's guess: not good for the Jews. Ilene CooperCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved