By FRANCINE PROSE Joanne Kaufman and NATALIE DANFORD
Updated June 05, 2006 12:00 PM
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Nonfiction

Gardening at Ginger by James Raimes
This perceptive memoir about tilling the soil and watching the wildlife at a country house (nickname: “Ginger”) in upstate New York is a quiet charmer.

Strange Piece of Paradise by Terri Jentz
Screenwriter Jentz returns to the Oregon desert where, on a cross-country biking trip in 1977, she and her college roommate were attacked by an axe-wielding stranger. Her well-crafted story of trying to make sense of lunacy is unforgettable.

Rumspringa by Tom Shachtman
Shachtman writes a riveting account of an Amish rite of passage allowing teens to sample worldly pleasures—smoking, drinking, casual sex—to “inoculate” them against sin. About 80 percent, he reports, later opt to join the church (and renounce the wine coolers).

Let Me Finish by Roger Angell
Best known for his elegant writing on baseball, Angell, 85, remembers a privileged Manhattan childhood and his stepfather, the writer E.B. White, in these charming autobiographical essays.