Bookworms

T.A. Barron's Where Is Grandpa? (Philomel Books, 2000; $15.99) is anautobiographical children's book about the death of a grandfather. Experts have called it "poignant, touching and spiritually evocative," a source of healing for the entire family. The bright illustrations by Chris K. Soentpiet are reminiscent of Maxfield Parrish and seem bigger than the pages on which they appear.

Lesson No. 1 may be the hardest: Stop arguing about who's right and listen to the other person. Lesson No. 2 is a bit less daunting: Decide what your purpose is before starting a precarious discussion. In Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most (Viking, 1999; $24.95), Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton and Sheila Heen, members of the Harvard Law School faculty and the Harvard Negotiation Project, offer insightful tips on how to communicate rather than fight.

In Second Opinions: Stories of Intuition and Choice in the Changing World of Medicine (Viking, 2000; $24.95), physician and Harvard researcher Jerome Groopman, M.D., argues that patients' intuitions about the condition of their bodies are often wrongfully dismissed by doctors. Groopman urges patients to tell doctors their thoughts, and to trust their instincts when evaluating the medical advice of experts.

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In Battling the Inner Dummy: The Craziness of Apparently Normal People (Prometheus, 1999; $17.95), David Weiner suggests that Freud's "id" is the subcortical ninny that causes a normally rational being, such as you, to act--well--dumb. Weiner, whose take on Freud is not entirely serious, contends that if you want to understand yourself better, you've got to get in touch with this "inner dummy," the ID. About that, he is quite serious.

In Origins of Genius: Darwinian Perspectives on Creativity (Oxford University Press, 1999; $27.50), University of California psychologist and genius expert Dean Keith Simonton, Ph.D., argues that creative ideas evolve in much the same way that species do. After repeatedly selecting better ideas and rejecting inferior ones, the creative genius collects, over time, truly wondrous ideas that are worthy of being passed on to the next generation. A bit academic for the casual reader, it is worth the effort for those seriously interested in creativity.

Does your 5-year-old--or 12-year-old for that matter--still have temper tantrums in the local Food Lion? Psychologist C. Drew Edwards, Ph.D., a specialist in managing difficult children, suggests ways to bring peace and love with you as you walk down the grocery aisle. Edwards' superb How to Handle a Hard-to-Handle Kid (Free Spirit, 1999; $15.95) presents a guide to diffusing jaw-clenching aggravations. (To handle the nightmare at Food Lion, see pages 158 to 160.)

In Natural Healing for Depression: Solutions from the World's Great Health Traditions and Practitioners (Perigee, 1999; $15.95) James Strohecker and Nancy Shaw Strohecker have edited a collection of psychologist-authored articles on a variety of treatments not usually found in the doctor's black bag. The treatments include herbs, yoga, biofeedback, spirituality and homeopathy.

Isn't it curious that most of us haven't a clue what goes on between our ears? To remedy this deficiency, psychologist Pierce J. Howard, Ph.D., director of the Center for Applied Cognitive Studies in Charlotte, North Carolina, wrote The Owner Manual for the Brain (Bard, 2000; $24.95). Originally published in 1994, this revised, user-friendly edition maps the nervous system and illuminates the effects of nutrition, drugs, sleep, music, exercise, illness and stress on the mind.

Adapted by Ph.D.

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