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Books for Grownups August 2008

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AARP The Magazine and Publishers Weekly have teamed up to let you know about the latest fiction, nonfiction, and lifestyle/self-help of interest to you. Once you've checked out the selections below, visit Publishers Weekly's fiction and nonfiction pages for reviews, author Q&As, and more.

FICTION

The Franchise Babe
By Dan Jenkins (Doubleday, $24.95)
Longtime sportswriter Jenkins romps through the rarely seen business side of big-money women’s golf. Jenkins knows his stuff and loves the game; the book’s a riot.

L’Assassin
By Peter Steiner (St. Martin’s Minotaur/Dunne, $24.95)
In this literate crime thriller from New Yorker cartoonist Steiner, the middle-aged hero, an ex-CIA officer, must leave his idyllic life in the French countryside and go on the run after becoming the target of a revenge-seeking former U.S. Secretary of State.

An Absolute Scandal
By Penny Vincenzi (Doubleday, $24.95)
Here’s one to take to the beach. British author Vincenzi’s trademark breakneck plotting, scandalous double crosses, and sultry storytelling make this read like a snappy British Dallas. All that’s missing are the shoulder pads in this tale of a prominent family’s possible undoing as it battles Lloyd’s of London in court.

Master of the Delta
By Thomas H. Cook (Harcourt/Penzler, $24)
Edgar Award winner Cook examines the slow collapse of a prominent Southern family in this suspenseful tale about a middle-aged high school teacher who discovers that one of the students in his true-crime class is the son of a confessed murderer.

Black & White and Dead All Over
By John Darnton (Knopf, $24.95)
Loaded with subtle social commentary and wry humor from a boomer perspective, this highly intelligent whodunit examines a string of murders at a major New York City newspaper struggling to stay afloat amid ever decreasing readership, circulation, and stock value.

NONFICTION

Assisted Loving: True Tales of Double Dating with My Dad
By Bob Morris (HarperCollins, $24.95)
Morris, a frequent contributor to the New York Times, mixes humor and social commentary in this courageous book, revealing the bitter grief over his mother’s death and the joyous reemergence into life of Joe, his widowed father.

The Selected Essays of Gore Vidal
Edited by Jay Parini (Doubleday, $27.50)
Vidal’s characteristic barbed wit and contrarian views are on display in these many essays, including some of his best and most entertaining, on literature and politics—from middlebrow taste to JFK’s legacy.

Society’s Child
By Janis Ian (Tarcher, $26.95)
Ian’s early immersion in the folk-music scene of the ’60s helped shape her prodigious songwriting talents while she was still in her teens. Her roller-coaster life may be typical stuff for celebrity autobiography, but fans will appreciate the candor with which she discusses the hardships and her gradual path to happiness as an independent singer-songwriter in Nashville.

One Minute to Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War
Michael Dobbs (Knopf, $28.95)
In a fast-paced, suspenseful account, Washington Post reporter Dobbs relates the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis—when the U.S. and the USSR hovered on the brink of nuclear war.

The Liberal Hour: Washington and the Politics of Change in the 1960s
By G. Calvin Mackenzie and Robert Weisbrot (Penguin Press, $29.95)
Two professors of government examine the political dynamics that allowed the U.S. government in the 1960s to enact the most far-reaching social reform legislation since the New Deal.

LIFESTYLE/SELF-HELP

Juicing, Fasting, and Detoxing for Life: Unleash the Healing Power of Fresh Juices and Cleansing Diets
By Cherie Calbom with John Calbom (Wellness Central, $14.99)
After publishing a string of books promoting single-diet cures, the authors offer a whole-life program for regaining health in an unhealthy world, along with tips and schedules that make the plan manageable for even the busiest people.

The No-Nonsense Guide to Menopause
By Barbara Seaman and Laura Eldridge (Simon & Schuster, $26.95)
The late Barbara Seaman, a legendary figure in the women’s health movement, and Laura Eldridge touch on nearly every aspect of women’s health (nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress relief, vitamins and herbs, aging, appearance) as they help readers frame key questions, evaluate research studies, consider treatment options, and move gracefully through menopause.

The Nice Girl Syndrome: Stop Being Manipulated and Abused—and Start Standing Up for Yourself
By Beverly Engel (Wiley, $24.95)
Domestic-violence expert Engel elucidates the “seven types of nice girls” (including Doormat, Pretender, Prude, and Enlightened One) and provides a guide for women to become authentically strong and self-protective.

The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living
By Russ Harris (Trumpeter, Random House, dist., $14.95)
Physician Harris draws upon “acceptance and commitment therapy” (ACT) to argue that happiness is not necessarily a normal state of being and true serenity can best be achieved by being “mindful” of negative thoughts and emotions and responding to hardships with “psychological flexibility.”

Know Your Power: A Message to America’s Daughters
By Nancy Pelosi with Amy Hill Hearth (Doubleday, $23.95)
In a graceful personal and political history, Pelosi describes her experiences from an Italian-American childhood to her seat in Congress. The book is a simply crafted acknowledgment of the support of her family, mentors, and helpful colleagues without insider scandal or intimate revelations—a gentle account from a tough politician.

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