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Books for Grownups: June 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

Sylvia: A Novel

by Leonard Michaels (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $13)

You can almost see the black turtlenecks and smell the smoke in this newly re-released novel about a couple in 1960s Greenwich Village. It's a harrowing look into a dark night of the soul by the late author of The Men's Club.

The Best Place to Be

by Lesley Dormen (Simon & Schuster, $22)

Eight linked stories about a New Yorker who's been through just about everything but doesn't feel as if she's "arrived" until she turns 50.

Love and War in California: A Novel

by Oakley Hall (St. Martin's Press, $24.95)

A good, old-fashioned novel about a guy who comes of age at Pearl Harbor—and manages to live through most of the global and personal upheavals of the last half of the 20th century.

The King of Colored Town

by Darryl Wimberley (The Toby Press, $24.95)

In Civil Rights-era Florida, a black high-school junior takes as her first lover a man equal parts trouble and heart. Guess which wins out?

The Back Nine

by Billy Mott (Knopf, $24.95)

The author moonlights as a caddy—and his novel about a return to the links after 20 years is a literary hole-in-one.

NONFICTION

When She Was White

by Judith Stone (Miramax, $23.95)

The true story of a woman who was born "white" but re-"classifed" as "coloured" in South Africa and how she and her family were torn apart first by apartheid, and then by its dismantling.

The Violin Maker: Finding a Centuries-Old Tradition in a Brooklyn Workshop

by John Marchese (HarperCollins, $24.95)

Can you improve on perfection? Well, you can try to match it, which is what one celebrated Brooklyn violinmaker attempts when he sets out to create an instrument equal to the Stradivarius.

The Feminine Mistake: Are We Giving Up Too Much?

by Leslie Bennetts (Hyperion/Voice, $24.95)

This one struck a chord with boomer women, probably because Bennetts doesn't hold back: choosing to leave the work force to raise a family is your choice, she says, but you always pay for that choice, literally and otherwise.

The Gentle Subversive: Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, and the Rise of the Environmental Movement

by Mark Hamilton Lytle (Oxford University Press)

Believe it or not, some people cared about the environment before Al Gore did. Carson was an antipesticide pest on behalf of the living things she loved so dearly. This is her story.

The Encyclopedia of Sixties Cool: A Celebration of the Grooviest People, Events, and Artifacts of the 1960s

by Chris Strodder (Santa Monica Press, $24.95)

A kind of old-fashioned MySpace of our generation, this is a compendium of more than 250 profiles of actors, musicians, writers, politicians, athletes, and others who defined a—or is it "the"?—decade.

SELF-HELP/LIFESTYLE

Vegetable Harvest

by Patricia Wells (Morrow, $34.95)

It's all about the veggies—even if you're going to eat meat or fish. That's the message behind this recipe- and charm-filled cookbook by the renowned author of The Provence Cookbook, among many others.

Ending the Tobacco Holocaust

by Dr. Michael Rabinoff (Elite Books, $24.95)

We hardly need another reason to quit, or stay off, cigarettes, but this meticulously researched book provides many: from an exposé of the way cigarettes are pushed to children overseas, to the causality between smoking and mental illness.

Walking on Eggshells: Navigating the Delicate Relationship Between Adult Children and Parents

by Jane Isay (Doubleday/Flying Dolphin Press, $23.95)

The title just about says it all and reminds us of the adage: Little children, little problems. Big children . . . well, you know.

Health Care Half Truths: Too Many Myths, Not Enough Reality

by Arthur Garson Jr. and Carolyn L. Englehard (Rowman & Littlefield, $24.95)

A much-needed dose of realism about the need for health-care reform—and, surprisingly, a quick and engaging read.

The Citizen-Powered Energy Handbook

by Greg Pahl (Chelsea Green, $21.95)

The future, she is here: solar roof panels, backyard wind turbines, and biofuel stills—they're not just for environmental geeks any more.

Check out all the great content on our Books channel.

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