4 Booklist March 15, 2016 www.booklistreader.com
Your Best Age Is Now: Embrace an
Ageless Mindset, Reengergize Your
Dreams, and Live a Soul-Satisfying Life.
By Robi Ludwig.
Apr. 2016. 256p. HarperOne, $25.99 (9780062357182).
With Gen Xers turning 50, there’s a whole
new batch of women facing middle age.
Ludwig, a psychotherapist and television
reporter, takes a positive spin, casting the
forties through sixties as a time of challenge
and change. Instead of viewing these years
as a time of crisis, she compares them to the
teens (both groups are facing body changes,
hormones, and emotions) and suggests oldsters borrow youth’s enthusiasm and energy.
What keeps us young, according to Ludwig,
is challenging authority, keeping current on
trends, trying new things, and being a little
rebellious. Midlife is a time to face down
regrets, increase energy (focusing on good nutrition, ample sleep, and more exercise), and
look for meaningful work (paid or volunteer).
The author weaves personal stories within
the narrative and highlights various “midlife
mentor[s],” including Kate White, Kathie Lee
Gifford, Joan Lunden, and Suzanne Somers,
who rock their sixties. Ludwig covers a lot of
territory, but her common-sense advice and
positive approach, along with her TV appearances, will give this how-to wide appeal.
Apostle: Travels among the Tombs
of the Twelve.
By Tom Bissell.
Mar. 2016. 432p. Pantheon, $27.95 (9780375424663);
e-book (9781101870976). 225.9.
Bissell, author and a contributor to Harper’s
and the New Yorker, takes on a formidable
task: melding a travelogue with intensive
biblical scholarship. From 2007 to 2010, he
traveled to the tombs of the 12 Apostles—in
Rome, Turkey, Jerusalem, even India—hoping
to make sense of whom
these men really were. Or,
more accurately, whom
legend says they were. Bissell writes with a keen eye
about his fellow pilgrims
at the tombs: the young
Evangelical who, despite
his religion’s tepid view of
the saints, still goes to the resting place of
Phillip and James; the Greek guide who can
rattle off every fact about John as if they were,
well, the gospel truth. But Bissell mostly uses
these stops as jumping-off places for an erudite discussion of theology, biblical history,
and competing religious theories. At times,
the theological discussions turn dense, which
makes them juxtapose uneasily with the travelogue portions of the book. Yet just when
theology or history becomes too obscure,
Bissell offers a startling insight or profound
observation that immediately reengages the
Journalism & Publishing
The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A
Mother and Son on Life, Love,
By Anderson Cooper and Gloria
Apr. 2016. 256p. Harper, $27.99 (9780062454942);
e-book, $14.99 (9780062454966). 070.92.
When the ever-youthful artist, designer, and
writer Gloria Vanderbilt (It Seemed Important
at the Time, 2004) became ill
at age 91, her son, journalist
and CNN anchor Ander-
son Cooper (Dispatches from
the Edge, 2006), decided it
was high time for them to
open up to each other. So
mother and son embarked
on a strikingly candid, psy-
chologically intricate email correspondence,
sharing memories, clarifying facts, articulating
their very different outlooks on life, confiding
dreams and fears, and expressing love. They
compare their feelings when they first talked
about Cooper being gay and consider how pro-
foundly losing their fathers as children shaped
their sense of self and high-profile lives. Coo-
per slips into reporter mode and asks difficult
questions; Vanderbilt quotes poetry and offers
hopeful life lessons. She also stuns her son with
frank revelations about her traumatic child-
hood, teenage Hollywood affairs with much
older men, difficult marriages, and, following
her phenomenal success as a designer, the cruel
betrayal that left her in financial ruin. Cooper
observes that he always identified more with
his father’s poor Mississippi family than with
the wealthy Vanderbilts, and he reveals how his
brother’s suicide led to his becoming a journal-
ist. Fascinating, forthright, philosophical, and
inspiring, these mother-and-son musings on
family, life, death, forgiveness, fame, and per-
severance are at once uniquely personal and
deeply human. —Donna Seaman
HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Star power
will be at work as promotional efforts reach
out to the avid followers of both grande dame
Vanderbilt and award-winning journalist and
best-selling author Cooper.
Philosophy & Psychology
Why Can’t I Meditate? How to Get Your
Mindfulness Practice on Track.
By Nigel Wellings.
Apr. 2016. 384p.Tarcher, paper,$16 (9781101983270). 158.12.
In an increasingly busy culture, mindfulness is helpful, but how to put it into practice?
This is the question the book seeks to answer.
Wellings combines teachings from Buddhism
with methods from cognitive therapy to provide a clear framework for meditation practice
and its attendant challenges. Chapters detail
the logistics of practice—finding a space, sitting
still—but also describe the mental hurdles that
those who meditate may encounter. Interviews
with beginning practitioners are sprinkled
throughout, providing good perspectives and a
way to thoughtfully process the struggles that
beginners may face. The book is full of practical tips, and Wellings’ tone is gentle, reminding
seekers to be compassionate toward themselves
and their perceived failures. The instructions
are clear, easy to follow, and kind, offering readers a path forward while leaving plenty of room
for them to decide what works best. New students of mediation would be hard-pressed to
find a more patient teacher. —Christine Engel
Appearing below is a list of all the print reference titles reviewed in this issue. Reference
librarians should also remember that all Booklist reference reviews can be accessed by
Booklist subscribers on Booklist Online.
The 100 Greatest Bands of All Time: A Guide to the Legends Who Rocked the World.
Ed. by David V. Moskowitz. p. 11
The 100 Most Important Sporting Events in American History. Ed. by Lew Freedman. p. 12
The Almanac of American Politics, 2016. Ed. by Richard E. Cohen and James A. Barnes. p. 7
Historical Dictionary of the U.S. Presidency. By Richard S. Conley. p. 7
Kaleidoscope of Poland: A Cultural Encyclopedia. Ed. by Oscar E. Swan. p. 17
Modern Spain. Ed. by Enrique Ávila López. p. 18
The Pregnancy Encyclopedia: All Your Questions Answered. Ed. by Paula Amato and
Chandrima Biswas. p. 10
The Ultimate Obamacare Handbook, 2015–2016: A Definitive Guide to the Benefits,
Rights, Responsibilities, and Potential Pitfalls of the Affordable Care Act. Ed. by Kimberly
Amadeo. p. 7