It's almost impossible to look through PW's listing of spring 2002 books without realizing the impact of September 11 and of these unsettling times. More than a dozen titles in contemporary affairs review, analyze or look historically at terrorism, the world of Islam, the Muslim jihad, Afghanistan and the Middle East. An inordinate number of self-help titles focus on how to feel better under difficult circumstances: Say Yes to Change, Stand Up for Your Life, Choosing Happiness, Secrets for Success and Inner Peace, Breaking the Cycle of Unhappiness and 12 Simple Secrets of Happiness, etc., while lifestyle titles focus heavily on no-frills, inexpensive decorating methods, such as those shown in New Spaces from Salvage, Get the Look, Furnishing for a Lifetime, Good Things from Tag Sales and Flea Markets and Use What You Have Decorating. Meanwhile, controversy continues to swirl around such topics as genetic research and testing; immigration laws and practices; globalization; and the media. But fiction friends return--among them Robert B. Parker, William Diehl, Amanda Quick, Belva Plain, E. Lynn Harris, Tony Hillerman, Anita Shreve, Jan Karon--to provide excellent company for those who more than ever seek escapist fare. Please note that travel titles were featured in last week's category close-up, while computer and gardening books will be listed in the February 25 and March 18 issues, respectively.

The vignettes on these pages were coordinated and edited by Daisy Maryles, Laurele Riippa and Dick Donahue; writers were Robert Dahlin, Dick Donahue, Charles Hix and Suzanne Mantell.

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