By FRANCINE PROSE Caroline Leavitt JOANNA POWELL
March 19, 2007 12:00 PM

THREE REAL LIVES WORTH LOSING YOURSELF IN

DOG YEARS by Mark Doty: After his beloved retriever Beau dies of a neurological disorder, poet Doty tries acupuncture and herbs to save his remaining pooch Arden—until he learns to let go. A tender reflection on love and loss, this is Marley & Me for the cerebral.

MISSISSIPPI SISSY by Kevin Sessums: In a charming but bracingly unsentimental work, Vanity Fair editor Sessums documents his square-peg early years in Forest, Miss., conjuring a time and place—and a raft of characters—that are utterly compelling.

THE HAPPIEST MAN IN THE WORLD by Alec Wilkinson: Poppa Neutrino, 74, has been a knife sharpener, street musician and seafarer—crossing the Pacific in a raft built from scrap wood. Wilkinson’s bio captures this vagabond’s eccentric magic.

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