In lieu of our usual assortment of briefly noted titles, here are several new books that can help you make good on that New Millennium's resolution to get your money matters into good shape.

It's a hopeful sign for our society: The publication of not one, but two, new books advising African Americans on how to make the most of their rising prosperity. The titles are Investing in the Dream: Personal Wealth-Building Strategies for African-Americans in Search of Financial Freedom by investment advisor Jesse B. Brown and It's About the Money! by The Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. and his son, Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. with Mary Gotschall. Each book offers sound advice on building wealth one step at a time, and each one addresses cultural contexts that affect how African Americans view money issues, individually and within families.

Ted Miller, editor of Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine, weighs in with Kiplinger's Practical Guide to Investing, a no-nonsense tour of credible investment options in an era full of overhyped nonsense about day trading and other get-rich-quick schemes. Carolyn Janik expands on one of Miller's topics in Making Money in Real Estate: How to Build Financial Independence with Residential and Commercial Property, a solid primer with a clear explanation of a daunting subject.

And there's more. Financial planning coach Jerry Mason starts with the basics and puts readers through their financial paces in Financial Fitness for Life. Mason's lucid coverage of key topics and lively presentation of what could be intimidating content make this an excellent wedding or graduation gift. Smart Money Moves: Mutual Fund Investing from Scratch is another good guide for investors who are just getting started in the market. Author James Lowell combines time-tested advice about long-term investing with an up-to-date look at the state of the ever-evolving mutual fund marketplace.

Journalist E. Thomas Wood is an editor with the Champs-Elysees.com family of European language-and-culture products.

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