READING L.A.

Calvin Naito, manager of communications:

"Robert Kennedy and His Times," by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. (Ballantine).

"After reading this book, you will be sensitized to the America around you and inspired to become a more principled person. Schlesinger's theme is a powerful one: We achieve our lasting legacy through the values we exemplify."

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Mark Roosa, museum preservation officer:

"Railroad Crossing: California and the Railroad, 1850-1910," by William Deverell (University of California).

"Deverell's keen insight into the complexities of the transcontinental railroad's development makes this book a joy to read. He balances the romantic notion that it preserved the Union with the anger felt by many people."

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Bill Reinhardt, business consultant:

"Male Menopause," by Jed Diamond (Sourcebooks).

"Ten years ago, when I was 50, I lost everything--my wife and my children--through an acrimonious divorce. Diamond's book helped me understand what I was going through. Finally, a description of what happens to men as they age, without name-calling."

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Julie Cobb, actress-director-writer:

"Bird By Bird," by Anne Lamott (Pantheon).

"I love to be taken on a journey, and Lamott takes me out of time and place into a world where I laugh in recognition of myself and cry at the poignancy of shared observations. 'Bird by Bird' is about life, death, fear, courage, discipline and kindness."

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