Moose n’ Me by Kenny Loggins (Good Ol’ Dog Publishing)

There once was a dog, and Kenny was his owner-o. True story, and now the next generation can learn all about it in this illustrated book, based on a tune that Loggins wrote before he ever hung out with Messina. It’s a bit funny trying to read a book to your kid that’s supposed to be sung (the chorus pages are the sticking point); however, the tale of a dog that loves its master is forever gold, and this casts it as brilliantly as can be, with sweet drawings by Joshua Nash. Now if we could just get the pages to sing … —MK

Orders from Berlin by Simon Tolkien (Thomas Dunne/Minotaur Books St. Martins’s Press)

In this suspense novel about a plot to assassinate Winston Churchill during the crucial first months of World War II, area resident (and J.R.R. Tolkien grandson) Simon Tolkien displays his talent for crafting historical suspense around a classic mystery-style master detective. This is the third book of Tolkien’s to star Detective Constable Bill Trave, and although the other two featured plots relating to the twisted legacies of the war, this is the first one to plunk the hero down in the midst of the actual conflict and to put him in a cast that includes thoroughly dramatized versions of major historical figures. The first paragraph, for example, depicts a bespectacled Adolf Hitler busy examining reconnaissance maps. Tolkien, a former barrister, writes with the keen and penetrating eye of a man well used to seeing beneath surfaces and with the imagination of someone who’s at home with both history and literature. —CD

Six Thousand Sunrises: Making the Most of Every Day in Your Senior Years by Robert John Emmons (American Academy Press)

In his latest book, former Smart & Final CEO and USC business professor Robert Emmons comes out with a startling claim for the elder set. Due to recent changes in life expectancy, the average 65-year-old can expect to live to see six thousand more sunrises. Emmons argues that this fact, coupled with the force of changing demographics, has created an unprecedented opportunity for men and women to rethink what it means to age well. For the “new old,” later life is all about getting out and experiencing the freedom and the social graces that accumulate alongside wisdom and emotional strength. Emmons combines case studies of successful seniors (several of whom are prominent Santa Barbarans) with self-help-style advice and even some original poetry in a unique and captivating volume. —CD


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