Retirement: Ignore it at your own risk. Let's face it -- you know you need to spend some time learning and thinking about it, and then taking action. You just need to take the first steps and get some guidance -- right?

Enter a slew of handy books on the subject. You don't have to face retirement planning alone, after all -- many knowledgeable authors are eager to help you out. Here are some books to consider:

How should you choose among all these books? Well, read the reviews. Read parts of the books, too. One nifty feature offered by (NASDAQ:AMZN) is that for many books, you can read excerpts as well as zoom in on pictures of the front and back covers and tables of contents. Look at details such as the number of pages. A book may have the best recommendations, but if it's 500 pages long and you have the attention span of a gibbon, well, perhaps it's not a perfect fit for you.

Those who crave easy-to-digest retirement guidance in a manageable package might want to take advantage of a free trial of our Rule Your Retirement newsletter. It's issued each month, is readable in a single sitting, and contains lots of valuable tips as well as inspiration and motivation. (You've got little to lose and a lot to gain by trying it for free.)

The lead writer for the newsletter is our own Robert Brokamp. Check out his marvelous style and his smarts in these articles:

Learn more in our Retirement area. And if the thought of taking control of something as critical as retirement on your own is daunting, seek the help of a financial advisor to hold your hand. Choose carefully, though (we offer some tips), and perhaps try our well-regarded TMF Money Advisor service, too (for free!).

Finally, you can ask questions and get answers on our Retirement Investing discussion board -- or at least drop in and see what other Fools are saying.

Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian owns shares of The Fool has a disclosure policy.