Great Reads by Midlife Women

This month’s reviews: A Secret Currency of Love, Welcome to the Departure Lounge, and Nothing Right.
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The Secret Currency of Love, edited by Hilary Black (William Morrow)

In this anthology, Black tackles what she calls the last taboo: a woman’s relationship with money. Dani Shapiro is in disbelief when her mother creates a generation-skipping trust; Ann Hood explains the virtues of not sharing a bank account with her spouse; 25 more authors reveal economic intimacies.

Buy the book at Amazon.com

Welcome to the Departure Lounge, by Meg Federico (Random House)

When the author’s mother, 81, and stepfather, 82, get home care (both have dementia), Federico becomes the reluctant participant in a kind of "Geriatrics Gone Wild" episode. Her parents’ antics include ordering cases of Scotch and sex toys, and climbing inside a fireplace to light the gas. Although she portrays her parents comically, this is a poignant memoir.

Buy the book at Amazon.com

Nothing Right, by Antonya Nelson (Bloomsbury)

Families are the focus of these 11 insightful stories. In "Falsetto," a woman’s fraught relationship with her brother erupts anew when their parents are hospitalized after an accident. And in the title story, a mother and son grow closer when he becomes a father at age 15. These aren’t happy stories, but Nelson’s bittersweet humor and hopeful characters are a delight.

Originally published in MORE magazine, February 2009.

Buy the book at Amazon.com

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