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Books for Grownups April 2008

Online Extra...

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.


His Illegal Self
By Peter Carey (Knopf, $24.95)
If you thought Washington politicking was harsh, wait until you see what goes on in an Australian hippie commune. Set in the late 1960s and early ’70s, this literary adventure novel follows a half-convinced Vietnam-era radical as she flees the U.S. for the Outback with the child of a recently killed underground counterculture icon.

Silver: My Own Tale as Written by Me with a Goodly Amount of Murder
By Edward Chupack (St. Martin's Press, $23.95)
Boomers with fond memories of the book Treasure Island will relish this debut, a swashbuckling tale of murder mixed with maps, ciphers, and codes and narrated by an aging Long John Silver as he faces the hangman’s noose back in England.

The Importance of Being Kennedy
By Laurie Graham (Harper, $24.95)
An under-the-stairs fictional chronicle of the Joseph P. Kennedy family’s interwar period. With nanny as narrator, Mr. and Mrs. K’s cold-hearted and pressure-driven parenting is revealed along with the petty squabbles at the root of John, Robert, and Ted’s political lives.

The Executor
By Michael Kruger (Harcourt, $23)
A middle-aged German goes to Turin to deal with the giant unfinished novel of his late famous friend. Like all great friendships, this one turns out to have its secrets, and the novel becomes a beguiling meditation on the nature of authorship and the limits of how much one artist can know another.

By Donald Ray Pollock (Doubleday, $22.95)
Fifty-four-year-old Pollock’s debut story collection takes a Winesburg, Ohio approach to his hometown. It’s dark, twisted, and full of uncouth characters. Great fun, in other words.


Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America
By David Hajdu (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $26)
After writing about the folk scene of the early 1960s in Positively 4th Street, Hajdu goes back a decade to examine the censorship debate over comic books, which he suggests was a prelude to the cultural battle over rock music.

Comedy at the Edge
By Richard Zoglin (Bloomsbury, $24.95)
A senior Time magazine writer-editor who covered the showbiz beat for 20 years, Zoglin once did major pieces on Carson, Cosby, Letterman, Seinfeld, and others. Now he offers a comedy chronicle of laughmakers from the mid-1960s to the early '80s with entertaining excerpts and funny one-liners.

Our Daily Meds
By Melody Petersen (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, $26)
Are Americans taking too many pills? Journalist Petersen thinks so and documents how drug companies’ slick marketing has sold us on everything from antacids to antidepressants.

The Road To Dallas: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy
Edited by David Kaiser (Harvard/Belknap, $35)
Vincent Bugliosi won’t like this book, in which a Naval War College historian takes a sober look at the evidence for a Mafia conspiracy behind the assassination of JFK.

The Age of American Unreason
By Susan Jacoby (Pantheon, $26)
A trenchant critique of American political and social apathy, this book weighs in against anti-intellectualism and antirationalism in a historical survey and analysis of contemporary politics.


Where Did I Leave My Glasses? The What, When, and Why of Normal Memory Loss
By Martha Weinman Lear (Wellness Central, $22.99)
If you’re always losing your keys and occasionally your daschund, Lear—bestselling author of Heartsounds—will soothe your anxiety. A succinct look at the science of memory and advice on how to keep your own memory fit and nimble.

The First Year: Heart Disease—An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed
By Lawrence D. Chilnick (Da Capo Lifelong, $16.95)
Chilnick, a health writer and one-time heart-attack patient, takes readers on a personal step-by-step guide to address lifestyle changes and plan a fit life.

How Not to Look Old: Fast and Effortless Ways to Look 10 Years Younger, 10 Pounds Lighter, 10 Times Better
By Charla Krupp (Springboard, $25.99)
Krupp, style expert for the Today show and former beauty director for Glamour, offers easy-to-follow, tried-and-true fashion advice for women well beyond their 20s. Whether high- or low-maintenance about their beauty routine, women of a certain age who want to compete in our youth-obsessed culture will treat this easy read with interest.

The Church of 80% Sincerity
By David Roche (Perigee, $19.95)
Part memoir, part inspiration, part handbook, this powerful little volume by Roche—a performer and motivational speaker now in his 60s who was rejected by a Catholic seminary because of a severely disfigured face—is witty and frank on coming to terms with being yourself.

Birthing the Elephant: The Woman’s Go-for-It! Guide to Overcoming the Big Challenges of Launching a Business
By Karen Abarbanel and Bruce Freeman (Ten Speed, $15.95)
This positive and practical guide for the first-time entrepreneur details the life cycle of a small-business launch with real-life success stories and a slew of helpful hints and strategies.

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