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Open Book 2

Fractured family tales from the early '70s.
Two fractured families in the 1970s are the subject of this week's tale, published about 20 years after the time during which it takes place. Time Out called it "a huge '70s nostalgia trip, a litany of kitsch, a mountain of memorabilia as the backdrop to a bittersweet story of suburban America."

Excerpt: "Elena spooned the peas onto the plates Wendy provided and then went to help her daughter fold the napkins and arrange the cutlery, turning a knife here so that the sharp side faced in, adjusting the glasses so that each was at the right-hand corner of the plastic place mats. ... They each stood around the remains of the turkey, spooning carbohydrates onto their plates beside the peas. The order of it was impeccable. First Wendy, then Benjamin, then Elena carried her plate to the table and returned to the refrigerator in search of a beverage. After a long, fruitless investigation, Wendy settled on pasteurized, homogenized, vitamin D-enriched milk. As Wendy held out the milk carton for her father, who accepted it and poured himself a glass--it would sit next to the scotch-on-the-rocks--Elena concluded that her daughter and husband each looked into the refrigerator in the same way. Hopefully. While she and Paul recognized what limited offerings were concealed there."

bookFor a chance to win an InformationWeek goody, E-mail [email protected] by noon ET Thursday with the title, author, and answer to this question: To whom does the moniker "Charles" refer?

Last week: The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield. Third question: "Control Drama" is the method we, as individuals, use to control others, learned in childhood to get attention. Winners: Curtis Goldblatt and Deenie Tallant.