The Uncoupling

by Meg Wolitzer |

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REVIEWED BY MEREDITH MARAN

People PICK

NOVEL

Wolitzer's previous novels, most recently the 2008 bestseller The Ten-Year Nap, have established her as a whiz at smart send-ups of American culture and the people (us!) who comprise and consume it. In this, her wittiest and most incisive work yet, she delivers a modern version of the ancient Lysistrata story, in which the women of Greece withheld sex to convince their men to end a war. Wolitzer's sex strike takes place in suburban Stellar Plains, N.J. When the high school drama teacher chooses Lysistrata for the school play, "Women who had suddenly risen up from long, happy relationships ... inexplicably said no." One after another, every woman and teenage girl in Stellar Plains loses interest in lovemaking-threatening high school hookups and lifelong marriages, forcing men and women in suddenly sexless relationships to reassess their romantic attachments and the very meanings of their lives. Stunningly insightful, characteristically hilarious, Wolitzer's latest holds a mirror up to modern America, offering a shock of recognition amid the laughter.

What if suddenly women lost all interest in their men?

The Land of Painted Caves

by Jean M. Auel |

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REVIEWED BY SUE CORBETT

NOVEL

Three decades after Ayla first appeared as an orphaned Ice Age toddler in The Clan of the Cave Bear, her saga ends with this sprawling finale, the sixth in Auel's hit series. A working mom's life was clearly no easier 30,000 years ago: While Ayla's training to become the clan's shaman, her man strays, lions attack, the earth quakes. The paintings of the title, likely the famed discoveries at Lascaux, provide balm to her heavy heart. While the uninitiated may find Auel's epic tedious, she does paint a convincing picture of ancient life. And readers who fell in love with little Ayla will no doubt revel in her prehistoric womanhood.

The Fifth Witness

by Michael Connelly |

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REVIEWED BY DONNAMARIE BARNES

THRILLER

The Lincoln Lawyer's Mickey Haller-played by Matthew McConaughey in the current film-is back, still working out of his Lincoln Town Car but now defending foreclosure clients. When one is accused of murder, Mickey does what he does best, skating on the edges of the system while staying within the law. When his doubts about his client's innocence grow, he begins to question his role. This is Connelly at his thought-provoking best.

Bent Road

by Lori Roy |

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REVIEWED BY BETH PERRY

NOVEL

When Celia Scott lived in Detroit before the '67 riot, she festooned her windows with lace curtains and accented her Sunday best with pearls. Then she and her family moved to rural Kansas, where her children are unhappy, her husband is grieving his sister's death, and Celia's pearls remain locked in a drawer. A former tax accountant, author Roy is calculated in the way she builds and eases tension; when a local girl goes missing, even the simplest scenes crackle with suspense. Inhabiting a world where lights are dim and laughter is hushed, Roy's characters still manage to shine.

THE HELP

by Kathryn Stockett

The film's coming in August-read Stockett's runaway bestseller about race and redemption before then.

A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD

by Jennifer Egan

Centered on denizens of the music industry, Egan's tale spans decades, shifts styles and engrosses from start to finish.

SOMETHING RED

by Jennifer Gilmore

The personal and political intersect in this powerful family drama set in Carter-era D.C.

HE'S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU

by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo

Don't let its salt-in-the-wound title scare you-this tough-love manual's in your corner.

MEN ARE FROM MARS, WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS

by John Gray

Of course it didn't work out. They're aliens.

SENSE AND SENSIBILITY

by Jane Austen

The romantic travails of Austen's classy sisters will remind you you're in excellent company.

Promoting Tweak, his memoir of meth addiction, Nic Sheff claimed he was sober. In We All Fall Down, he reveals the truth: He wasn't.

WHAT WERE YOU ON AT THE TIME?

I was smoking pot. I justified it by feeling it wasn't hard drugs.

HOW DID YOU STOP?

I came clean to my dad. It was super-embarrassing. And for the first time, I got myself into a treatment center.

WHY IS THIS TIME DIFFERENT?

I take bipolar medication. It's made a real difference. I've been sober for two years, and I'm engaged to be married.

WHY WRITE THE NEW BOOK?

Recovery is portrayed as going to rehab and being cured. It isn't. I wanted to write about getting better slowly, which is how it is for a lot of people. My advice to other addicts: Hold on. If I could pick myself up, anyone can.

Liked Lisa Lillien's 200 Under 200? Her new cookbook ups that calorie limit by 50 percent.

WHY 300 THIS TIME?

These recipes are more entrees-it's more breakfast, lunch and dinner ideas than ever before.

DO YOU EVER IGNORE THE NUMBERS?

Absolutely. I live by the 80/20 rule-80 percent of the time I'm doing what I should be doing, and 20 percent of the time, I'm having fun. There's nothing I don't eat.

GOT A FAVORITE UNDER 300 RECIPE?

BLT Pizza. People love BLTs and they love pizza-so why not combine the two? It only has six ingredients. (Find it at hungry-girl.com)

IS 400 UNDER 400 NEXT?

No, that's a little too many!