THE TALL BOOK
by Arianne Cohen |

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REVIEWED BY CAROLINE LEAVITT

NON-FICTION
Tall pride gains stature in this engagingly funny book by the 6'3" author of Confessions of a High School Word Nerd. Growing up tall had terrible shortcomings for Cohen, who longed for stylish clothes that fit and men who might date her (she later, for a while, became half of the country's tallest couple with a partner who hit 7'2"). Determined to delve into the psychology of "talls" and to celebrate her kind, Cohen interviewed doctors, economists, psychologists and fellow talls; she found that Redwood types not only get hired more often than their scrubby peers, they also tend to be smarter, richer, more fertile and to live longer. Describing height as a "pivotal piece of identity," she takes readers on a tour of the European Tall Clubs and conventions and busts the myth that all talls are great athletes (many tall klutzy guys become CEOs instead). She even delves into the pharmaceutical stunting of tall girls, a risky, under-the-radar practice that began in the 1940s, peaked in the '70s and continues today. A wise and witty resource for anyone with higher standing.

by Aravind Adiga | [

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REVIEWED BY ANNE LESLIE

STORIES
Set in India between the assassinations of Indira and Rajiv Gandhi, Adiga's short stories focus on people who, because of poverty, class or fate, have little more than their desperation to get them through the day. A bus conductor, a child beggar, a disappointed teacher, a journalist who sees the truth—they rise toward the possibility of dignity, only to be knocked back by disillusionment. In the eyes of the powerful, the powerless barely exist. "Even the privilege of speech is not ours," says an exhausted laborer. "Even if we raise our voices, we are told to shut up." Adiga, who won last year's Man Booker prize for his novel The White Tiger, gives them voices, names and stories and makes it our privilege to get to know each one.

by Robert Rodi |

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MEMOIR
Hoping to add a little spice to his dog's life, author Rodi spent a year putting Dusty, a rescued sheltie, through the paces at agility trials. Faced with teeter-totters, tires to jump through and tunnels to maneuver, Dusty became "a neurotic mess," yet Rodi's drive wouldn't let him quit. Initially his city sensibility clashed with the rural contestants. He soon built camaraderie, but as Dusty continued to balk, Rodi realized that his hunger for "ribbons and glory" might be failing them both. His book is a charming, hilarious look at a little-documented world.

by John Hart |

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REVIEWED BY JOSH EMMONS

THRILLER
Borrowing heavily from the psychology and subject of Stephen King's The Body (on which the film Stand By Me was based), The Last Child tells the story of Johnny Merrimon, a 13-year-old boy in rural North Carolina who's determined to locate his missing twin sister, Alyssa, long after others in the community have given up hope. When he accidentally encounters a dying man who says he's "found her," Johnny enlists his best friend Jack's help and must wriggle free from the fetters of school and a home life shattered by his family's loss to uncover the truth. Although the book comes up short on suspense—you'll spot every false lead without much difficulty—and the characters deserve more emotional range than Hart (The King of Lies) allows them, Johnny's heartbreaking quest is described with great energy and sympathy.

'Standard comments are, 'Wow, you're really tall!' and occasionally, 'Dude, you're like man-tall'

>SOME TIDBITS FROM RENEGADE

Think the First Couple have a perfect marriage? A new book on Barack Obama's rise lays bare some of the typical marital tensions not captured on camera. Author Richard Wolffe shares examples:

• Once, Michelle was holding forth about democracy. "She's scary," her husband told Wolffe. It was, Wolffe says, "a joke at her expense while she's being idealistic. She wasn't happy and elbowed him."

• They're both competitive. "He told me she's so competitive that she didn't want to do organized sports. She couldn't even play card games because she hates losing so much."

• Mr. Unflappable "can be angry and impatient and grumpy," says Wolffe. "When he gets angry he can chill the room."

>• The key to the good life, says actress Lisa Rinna, 45, in her new book, "is renovating and reinventing, at any age." Her top tips:

LEAVE YOUR COMFORT ZONE Say yes to what comes your way—a birthday party, your high school reunion.

WEAR SUNSCREEN Every day. You don't have to spend a lot of money on it. The sun is what ages us.

EXERCISE I wouldn't not brush my teeth, so why would I not do something physical each day? Even if it's baby steps, you've got to move.

REMEMBER ROMANCE Take your husband somewhere and reconnect.

LOOK YOUR BEST I talk in the book about my breast implants and lips—I got silicone injections that offered permanent results. I'm not promoting plastic surgery, but I can tell you, if you feel you look good on the outside, it does seem to help on the inside.

>• In a new book Brent Jeffs opens up about life in the FLDS and the abuse he says he suffered at the hands of his uncle, now-jailed 'prophet' Warren Jeffs. Brent, 26, spoke to PEOPLE's Bob Meadows.

WHAT DID YOUR UNCLE DO TO YOU? I was 5, playing with cousins at their school [where Warren was principal]. He took me to a bathroom and raped me. [Warren's lawyer denied the allegation.] He told me I would burn in hell if I told.

DID YOU TELL? I just went numb. But in 2001 my brother Clayne told my parents Warren had abused him. Clayne killed himself the next year. I filed a lawsuit against Warren because of what happened to me.

DID YOU WIN? I dropped the suit after Warren was convicted of being an accomplice to the rape of a girl in 2007. [Warren is serving at least 10 years.] I wasn't after money. I just wanted him stopped.

HOW'S YOUR LIFE NOW? I was kicked out of the FLDS in '98. My marriage ended, but my daughter Hailee has filled a place in my heart I never even knew was there. I want people who suffer abuse to know that I turned my life around. They can too.