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Books for Grownups - May 2012

New Donald Westlake mystery, plus Arlen Specter, pain management and the Arab Spring


The Woman In The Mirror

The Woman in the Mirror: How to Stop Confusing What You Look Like with Who You Are
By Cynthia Bulik
(Walker, $16)

A nutritionist and eating-disorders specialist at the University of North Carolina, Bulik paints a disturbing picture of the distorted body images that American women experience from girlhood to old age. She then lays out a common sense guide designed to help them develop a realistic self-image, based on reining in negative self-talk and expanding self-awareness. The author’s conclusion (and counsel): "It’s never too late to love yourself."

Man On The Run

Man on the Run: Helping Hyper-Hobbied Men Recognize the Best Things in Life
By Zeke Pipher
(S&S/Howard, $14.99)

Pipher — outdoorsman, writer, pastor — explains why he thinks some men become "hyper-hobbied": Their endless busyness reflects a desire for adventure and challenge, and it leads them to neglect family and friends. Pipher's advice for regaining balance weighs every facet of adult male life from ambition, competition and depression to loneliness, loyalty and strength of character.

Masala Farm

Masala Farm: Stories and Recipes from an Uncommon Life in the Country
By Suvir Saran with Raquel Pelzel and Charlie Burd, photos by Ben Fink
(Chronicle, $29.95)

Saran, born in New Delhi and now the executive chef and owner of New York restaurant Devi, chronicles his adventures on a farm in upstate New York in this delightful book. In addition to funny accounts of two New Yorkers learning to live the country life (the other being Saran’s partner, Charlie Burd), we get more than 80 delicious and inventive farm-to-table recipes.

Small Space

Small-Space Container Gardens: Transform Your Balcony, Porch, or Patio with Fruits, Flowers, Foliage & Herbs
By Fern Richardson
(Timber Press, $19.95)

Richardson, writer of an award-winning blog about gardening in wee spaces, offers a comprehensive approach to get you started on a balcony or small patio. The book’s thematic organization — color, weather, pests and so on — is a boon to those just starting container gardening. It also abounds with resources such as planting schemes and do-it-yourself projects. 

Pain Tracking

Paintracking: Your Personal Guide to Living Well with Chronic Pain
By Deborah Barrett
(Prometheus, $20)

As a Ph.D. student at Stanford University in 1994, psychotherapist Barrett began to experience symptoms that led to a diagnosis of fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndromes. With empathy and insight into the prejudices that many patients encounter at the hands of physicians and caretakers, Barrett urges readers to direct their care by recording the up-and-down cycle typical of many chronic-pain sufferers. She doesn’t promise an end to pain, but her encyclopedic guide to leading a satisfying life will help readers tame "pain’s cruel whims."

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