Laura Becher, graduate student:
"The Men and the Girls" by Joanna Trollope (Avon).
"Trollope's sumptuous detail--from the sights and sounds of a townmarket to the glint of sunlight off the heroine's red curls--envelops the reader from the start. Her books never fail to grant me a brush with a world beyond the bustle of my own life."
Leslie Bartlett, actress:
"Wake Up, I'm Fat!" by Camryn Manheim (Broadway Books).
"Manheim's writing style makes you feel as if you're talking to a girlfriend. It's natural, easygoing, funny, as she shares stories about her struggle to become a successful TV star. Most of all, the book is as honest as it is entertaining."
Mike Farrell, actor-activist:
"The Children" by David Halberstam (Fawcett).
"A saga on the nature and character of America's civil rights movement, this book redefines heroism by extolling the impact of the moral architect of that era, the Reverend James Lawson, Jr., now a minister in Los Angeles."
Frederick Borsch, Episcopal bishop:
"The Elegant Universe" by Brian Greene (W. W. Norton).
"After offering helpful explanations of general and special relativity and quantum mechanics, Greene goes on to present a horizon of theoretical physics: the string theory (miniscule vibrations at the heart of things) in hidden dimensions."