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Books for Grownups: April 2007

What our generation wants to read

AARP The Magazine and Publishers Weekly have teamed up to let you know about the latest fiction, nonfiction, and how-to books 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

Boomsday

by Christopher Buckley (Twelve, $24.99)

A vicious satire by the Jonathan Swift of our generation, this tale of a twentysomething blogger's modest proposal for baby boomers may scare you—not that there's anything wrong with that. It's all in good fun. We think.

Breakable You

by Brian Morton (Harvest Books, $14)

What would you do if your biggest rival's unpublished masterwork fell into your hands? Morton's flailing late-midlife novelist tries to decide.

Brothers

by Da Chen (Three Rivers Press, $14.95)

Anyone who grew up on The Prince and the Pauper will appreciate this contemporary Chinese version about two half-brothers, one legitimate and privileged, the other raised in a harrowing orphanage. It's a good old-fashioned read about the changing nature of a country that many say is poised to take over the world.

The Stories of Mary Gordon

by Mary Gordon (Pantheon, $26)

Gordon is the quintessential baby boomer, ruminating on desire, aging, and death. Short on laughs, maybe, but long on insight and good writing.

The Last of Her Kind

by Sigrid Nunez (Picador, $14)

Two very different young women who meet as roommates at Barnard in the 1960s go on to very different lives. Nunez captures the era of university takeovers, the Vietnam War, and the fight for civil rights, all the while reminding us of the selves we were, or wanted to be.

NONFICTION

Graceland: An Interactive Pop-Up Tour

by Chuck Murphy with a foreword by Priscilla Presley (Quirk Books, $40)

For fans without the ways or means to get to Memphis, pop-up master Murphy provides a scream-worthy up-close-and-personal desktop tour of Elvis Presley's famous Graceland estate in this brilliantly low-tech 3-D volume, overstuffed with photos, mementos, and intricate replicas of the King's domain. There's even a pair of removable shades, but, alas, no jumpsuit.

The Echoing Green: The Untold Story of Bobby Thomson, Ralph Branca and the Shot Heard Round the World

by Joshua Prager (Pantheon, $26.95)

Prager paints a marvelous portrait of New York City baseball—see The Boys of Summer and Summer of '49—and brings back to life one genuine piece of Americana. Bring your own peanuts and Crackerjacks.

LBJ: Architect of American Ambition

by Randall B. Woods (Free Press, $35)

Hell, no, we wouldn't go—to hear anything positive about the president who escalated the war in Vietnam. But according to historian Randall Wood's prodigious research, we'd be wrong to miss this portrait of Johnson, a man less cynical, less self-serving, and more tragic than often described. Makes you think twice about dividing the world into Good Guys and Bad Guys.

This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession

by Daniel Levitin (Plume, $15)

For a generation that made rock the soundtrack of their lives, Levitin, a former rock musician and studio producer turned neuroscientist, explains why songs get into our heads and hearts, and stay there, 30 years on.

Falling Through the Earth

by Danielle Trussoni (Picador, $14)

We've heard plenty lately from men who spent time in Vietnam, but this memoir by the daughter of one particularly troubled guy gives pause to anybody who thinks horror ends at armistice.

HOW-TO

The Longevity Bible: 8 Essential Strategies for Keeping Your Mind Sharp and Your Body Young

by Gary Small and Gigi Vorgan (Hyperion, $14)

The authors take a holistic approach to body and brain fitness, and offer eight essentials (positive outlook, mental and physical exercise, acceptance of change are three) in this manual for a better, longer life—which is what we ultimately all want and look forward to, right?

Our Bodies, Ourselves: Menopause

by The Boston Women's Health Book Collective (Touchstone, $15)

We might not have cared then, but now? There's barely a woman of our certain age without questions and concerns about what our mothers called the change of life.

Portfolio Life: The New Path to Work, Purpose and Passion After 50

by David Corbett with Richard Higgins (Jossey-Bass, $24.95)

Here's what work looks like at 50: reprioritized, rejiggered, rethought. You follow?

The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for Persons with Alzheimer Disease, Related Dementing Illnesses, and Memory Loss in Later Life (4th Edition)

by Nancy L. Mace and Peter V. Rabins (The Johns Hopkins University Press,$15.95)

This classic handbook to caring for an aging parent with Alzheimer's or another form of dementia has been updated to incorporate the latest research. This book features concrete, practical tips and comprehensive information on home care, nursing homes, and alternative arrangements.

French Women for All Seasons: A Year of Secrets, Recipes, and Pleasure

by Mireille Guiliano (Knopf, $24.95)

Guiliano serves up second helpings of her popular approach to healthy living in this gracious outing (following 2005's French Women Don't Get Fat). The trick: seasonality, local produce, and personal style. Everything in moderation is this New York City-based Frenchwoman's secret to staying slim and bien dans ta peau.

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