Love on the Rocks: 2015 Adult Winter Reading

"For my part, I prefer my heart to be broken. It is so lovely, dawn-kaleidoscopic within the crack." — D.H. Lawrence

Broken hearts. Bad romance. Star-crossed lovers. Rancid relationships.

The 2015 Adult Winter Reading Program features books that remind us that not every fairy tale ends happily ever after.

Many of the stories in this year’s book selections not only tug at heartstrings, they bend and break them.

Get ready for a healthy pour of heartache with Love on the Rocks.

Author: 
Daniel Handler
ISBN: 
9780060724412
Hello. I am Daniel Handler, the author of this book. Did you know that authors often write the summaries that appear on their books dust jacket? You might want to think about that the next time you read something like, "A dazzling page-turner, this novel shows an internationally acclaimed storyteller at the height of his astonishing powers." Adverbs is a novel about love -- a bunch of different people, in and out of different kinds of love. At the start of the novel, Andrea is in love with David -- or maybe its Joe -- who instead falls in love with Peter in a taxi. At the end of the novel, its Joe whos in the taxi, falling in love with Andrea, although it might not be Andrea, or in any case it might not be the same Andrea, as Andrea is a very common name. So is Allison, who is married to Adrian in the middle of the novel, although in the middle of the ocean she considers a fling with Keith and also with Steve, whom she meets in an automobile, unless its not the same Allison who meets the Snow Queen in a casino, or the same Steve who meets Eddie in the middle of the forest. . . . It might sound confusing, but thats love, and as the author -- me -- says, "It is not the nouns. The miracle is the adverbs, the way things are done." This novel is about people trying to find love in the ways it is done before the volcano erupts and the miracle ends. Yes, theres a volcano in the novel. In my opinion a volcano automatically makes a story more interesting.
Author: 
Nancy Garden
ISBN: 
9780374400118
This groundbreaking book, first published in 1982, is the story of two teenage girls whose friendship blossoms into love and who, despite pressures from family and school that threaten their relationship, promise to be true to each other and their feelings.&nbspOf the author and the book, the Margaret A. Edwards Award committee said, Nancy Garden has the distinction of being the first author for young adults to create a lesbian love story with a positive ending. Using a fluid, readable style, Garden opens a window through which readers can find courage to be true to themselves."&nbspThe 25th Anniversary Edition features a full-length interview with the author by Kathleen T. Horning, Director of the Cooperative Children's Book Center. Ms. Garden answers such revealing questions as how she knew she was gay, why she wrote the book, censorship, and the book's impact on readers - then and now."
Author: 
Ian McEwan
ISBN: 
9780385721790
National Bestseller Ian McEwan's symphonic novel of love and war, childhood and class, guilt and forgiveness provides all the satisfaction of a brilliant narrative and the provocation we have come to expect from this master of English prose. On a hot summer day in 1935, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses a moment's flirtation between her older sister, Cecilia, and Robbie Turner, the son of a servant and Cecilia's childhood friend. But Briony' s incomplete grasp of adult motives-together with her precocious literary gifts-brings about a crime that will change all their lives. As it follows that crime's repercussions through the chaos and carnage of World War II and into the close of the twentieth century, Atonement engages the reader on every conceivable level, with an ease and authority that mark it as a genuine masterpiece.
Author: 
Jess Walter
ISBN: 
9780061928123
The story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks out over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: a tall, thin woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an actress, he soon learns, an American starlet, and she is dying. And the story begins again today, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio's back lot--searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier. What unfolds is a dazzling, yet deeply human, roller coaster of a novel, spanning fifty years and nearly as many lives. From the lavish set of Cleopatra to the shabby revelry of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Walter introduces us to the tangled lives of a dozen unforgettable characters: the starstruck Italian innkeeper and his long-lost love; the heroically preserved producer who once brought them together and his idealistic young assistant; the army veteran turned fledgling novelist and the rakish Richard Burton himself, whose appetites set the whole story in motion--along with the husbands and wives, lovers and dreamers, superstars and losers, who populate their world in the decades that follow. Gloriously inventive, constantly surprising, Beautiful Ruins is a story of flawed yet fascinating people, navigating the rocky shores of their lives while clinging to their improbable dreams.
Author: 
ReShonda Tate Billingsley
ISBN: 
9781416521679
The irony of a divorce-court judge getting divorced herself is not lost on Vanessa Colton-Kirk. After all, she's seen everything in her notorious Houston courtroom, where she's presided over the breakup of countless unhappy and disillusioned couples. Even her own sister, Dionne, is dealing with a relationship drama of her own, a betrayal that's left Dionne hungry for revenge on the man she hoped to marry. But when career-driven Vanessa chooses to work late on the night of her fifth wedding anniversary, her husband, Thomas, decides he's had enough of her putting work before starting the family he so desperately wants -- and he tells her he wants out. In a last-ditch effort to save the marriage, their own judge orders Vanessa and Thomas to attend a spiritual retreat. She goes -- but not without a fight. And just when she thinks she's won, fate steps in and helps her see things in a whole new light. Now Vanessa and her sister face the toughest choices of their lives. Can Dionne untangle herself from a payback plan gone horribly wrong? Can Vanessa rebuild a bond that she had a big part in destroying? Will she learn from her own mistakes and her years of experience on the bench? Or will she need something else to keep a tide of bitterness from taking over her life?
Author: 
Amy Webb
ISBN: 
9780525953807
A lively, thought-provoking memoir about how one woman "gamed" online dating sites like JDate, OKCupid and eHarmony - and met her eventual husband. After yet another online dating disaster, Amy Webb was about to cancel her JDate membership when an epiphany struck: It wasn't that her standards were too high, as women are often told, but that she wasn't evaluating the right data in suitors' profiles. That night Webb, an award-winning journalist and digital-strategy expert, made a detailed, exhaustive list of what she did and didn't want in a mate. The result: seventy-two requirements ranging from the expected (smart, funny) to the super-specific (likes selected musicals: Chess, Les Misérables. Not Cats. Must not like Cats!). Next she turned to her own profile. In order to craft the most compelling online presentation, she needed to assess the competition--so she signed on to JDate again, this time as a man. Using the same gift for data strategy that made her company the top in its field, she found the key words that were digital man magnets, analyzed photos, and studied the timing of women's messages, then adjusted her (female) profile to make the most of that intel. Then began the deluge--dozens of men wanted to meet her, men who actually met her requirements. Among them: her future husband, now the father of her child. Forty million people date online each year. Most don't find true love. Thanks to Data, a Love Story , their odds just got a whole lot better.
Author: 
Rainbow Rowell
ISBN: 
9781250012579
" Eleanor & Park reminded me not just what it's like to be young and in love with a girl, but also what it's like to be young and in love with a book."--John Green, The New York Times Book Review Bono met his wife in high school , Park says. So did Jerry Lee Lewis , Eleanor answers. I'm not kidding , he says. You should be , she says, we're 16 . What about Romeo and Juliet? Shallow, confused, then dead. I love you , Park says. Wherefore art thou, Eleanor answers. I'm not kidding, he says. You should be. Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits--smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you'll remember your own first love--and just how hard it pulled you under. A New York Times Best Seller! A 2014 Michael L. Printz Honor Book for Excellence in Young Adult Literature Eleanor & Park is the winner of the 2013 Boston Globe Horn Book Award for Best Fiction Book. A Publishers Weekly Best Children's Book of 2013 A New York Times Book Review Notable Children's Book of 2013 A Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of 2013 An NPR Best Book of 2013
Author: 
Jeff Guinn
ISBN: 
9781416557074
Bestselling author Jeff Guinn combines exhaustive research with surprising, newly discovered material to tell the real tale of two kids from a filthy Dallas slum who fell in love and then willingly traded their lives for a brief interlude of excitement and, more important, fame. Go Down Together has it all-true romance, rebellion against authority, bullets flying, cars crashing, and, in the end, a dramatic death at the hands of a celebrity lawman. This is the real story of Bonnie and Clyde and their troubled times, delivered with cinematic sweep by a masterful storyteller.
Author: 
Jennifer Weiner
ISBN: 
9780743418164
"At first my eyes wouldn't make sense of the letters. Finally, they unscrambled." Loving a Larger Woman, "said the headline, by Bruce Guberman. Bruce Guberman had been my boyfriend for just over three years, until we'd decided to take a break three months ago. And the larger woman, I could only assume, was me." Cannie Shapiro never wanted to be famous. The smart, sharp, plus-sized pop culture reporter was perfectly content writing about other people's lives on the pages of the "Philadelphia Examiner." But the day she opens up a national women's magazine to find out that her ex-boyfriend has been chronicling their ex-sex life is the day her life changes forever. Loving a larger woman is an act of courage in our world, Bruce has written. And Cannie -- who never knew that Bruce saw her as a "larger woman," or thought that loving her was an act of courage -- is plunged into misery, and into the most amazing year of her life. For the previous twenty-eight years, things had been tripping along nicely for Cannie. Sure, her mother's come charging out of the closet, and her father's long since dropped out of her world. But she
Author: 
Nick Hornby
ISBN: 
9781573225519
Now a major motion picture from Touchstone Pictures. Rob is a pop music junkie who runs his own semi-failing record store. His girlfriend, Laura, has just left him for the guy upstairs, and Rob is both miserable and relieved. After all, could he have spent his life with someone who has a bad record collection? Rob seeks refuge in the company of the offbeat clerks at his store, who endlessly review their top five films ( Reservoir Dogs ...); top five Elvis Costello songs ("Alison"...); top five episodes of Cheers (the one where Woody sang his stupid song to Kelly...). Rob tries dating a singer whose rendition of "Baby, I Love Your Way" makes him cry. But maybe it's just that he's always wanted to sleep with someone who has a record contract. Then he sees Laura again. And Rob begins to think (awful as it sounds) that life as an episode of thirtysomething , with all the kids and marriages and barbecues and k.d. lang CD's that this implies, might not be so bad.
Author: 
Vanessa Diffenbaugh
ISBN: 
9780345525543
A mesmerizing, moving, and elegantly written debut novel, The Language of Flowers beautifully weaves past and present, creating a vivid portrait of an unforgettable woman whose gift for flowers helps her change the lives of others even as she struggles to overcome her own troubled past. The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it's been more useful in communicating grief, mistrust, and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings. Now eighteen and emancipated from the system, Victoria has nowhere to go and sleeps in a public park, where she plants a small garden of her own. Soon a local florist discovers her talents, and Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But a mysterious vendor at the flower market has her questioning what's been missing in her life, and when she's forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it's worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness.
Author: 
Sandra Moran
ISBN: 
9781939562104
Three women, united by love and kinship, struggle to conform to the social norms of the times in which they lived. In 1931, Katherine Henderson leaves behind her small town in Kansas and the marriage proposal of a local boy to live on her own and work at the Sears & Roebuck glove counter in Chicago. There she meets Annie-a bold, outspoken feminist who challenges Katherine's idea of who she thinks she is and what she thinks she wants in life. In 1997, Katherine's daughter, Joan, travels to Lawrence, Kansas, to clean out her estranged mother's house. In an old suitcase she finds a wooden box containing trinkets and a packet of sealed letters to a person identified only by a first initial. Joan reads the unsent letters and discovers a woman completely different from the aloof and unyielding mother of her youth-a woman who had loved deeply and lost that love to circumstances beyond her control. Now Joan just has to find the strength to use the healing power of empathy and forgiveness to live the life she's always wanted to live.
Author: 
Laura Esquivel; Thomas Christensen (Translator); Carol Christensen (Translator); BookSource Staff (Compiled by)
ISBN: 
9780785721666
This novel includes recipes, romances, and home remedies.
Author: 
David Levithan
ISBN: 
9780374193683
basis, n. There has to be a moment at the beginning when you wonder whether you're in love with the person or in love with the feeling of love itself.If the moment doesn't pass, that's it-you're done. And if the moment does pass, it never goes that far. It stands in the distance, ready for whenever you want it back. Sometimes it's even there when you thought you were searching for something else, like an escape route, or your lover's face. How does one talk about love? Do we even have the right words to describe something that can be both utterly mundane and completely transcendent, pulling us out of our everyday lives and making us feel a part of something greater than ourselves? Taking a unique approach to this problem, the nameless narrator of David Levithan's The Lover's Dictionary has constructed the story of his relationship as a dictionary. Through these short entries, he provides an intimate window into the great events and quotidian trifles of being within a couple, giving us an indelible and deeply moving portrait of love in our time.
Author: 
A. S. Byatt
ISBN: 
9780679735908
National Bestseller nbsp; Winner of England's Booker Prize and the literary sensation of the year, Possession is an exhilarating novel of wit and romance, at once an intellectual mystery and triumphant love story. It is the tale of a pair of young scholars researching the lives of two Victorian poets. As they uncover their letters, journals, and poems, and track their movements from London to Yorkshire--from spiritualist séances to the fairy-haunted far west of Brittany--what emerges is an extraordinary counterpoint of passions and ideas.nbsp; An exhilarating novel of wit and romance, an intellectual mystery, and a triumphant love story. This tale of a pair of young scholars researching the lives of two Victorian poets became a huge bookseller favorite, and then on to national bestellerdom.
Author: 
Lauren Redniss
ISBN: 
9780061351327
In 1891, 24 year old Marie, née Marya Sklodowska, moved from Warsaw to Paris, where she found work in the laboratory of Pierre Curie, a scientist engaged in research on heat and magnetism. They fell in love. They took their honeymoon on bicycles. They expanded the periodic table, discovering two new elements with startling properties, radium and polonium. They recognized radioactivity as an atomic property, heralding the dawn of a new scientific era. They won the Nobel Prize. Newspapers mythologized the couple's romance, beginning articles on the Curies with "Once upon a time . . . " Then, in 1906, Pierre was killed in a freak accident. Marie continued their work alone. She won a second Nobel Prize in 1911, and fell in love again, this time with the married physicist Paul Langevin. Scandal ensued. Duels were fought. In the century since the Curies began their work, we've struggled with nuclear weapons proliferation, debated the role of radiation in medical treatment, and pondered nuclear energy as a solution to climate change. In Radioactive, Lauren Redniss links these contentious questions to a love story in 19th Century Paris. Radioactive draws on Redniss's original reporting in Asia, Europe and the United States, her interviews with scientists, engineers, weapons specialists, atomic bomb survivors, and Marie and Pierre Curie's own granddaughter. Whether young or old, scientific novice or expert, no one will fail to be moved by Lauren Redniss's eerie and wondrous evocation of one of history's most intriguing figures.
Author: 
Jane Juska
ISBN: 
9781400060115
"Round-heeled" is an old-fashioned label for a woman who is promiscuous--someone who nowadays might be called "easy." It's a surprising way for a cultured English teacher with a passion for the novels of Anthony Trollope to describe herself, but then that's just the first of many surprises to be found in this poignant, funny, utterly unique memoir. Jane Juska is a smart, energetic divorcée who decided she'd been celibate too long, and placed the following personal ad in her favorite newspaper, The New York Review of Books: Before I turn 67--next March--I would like to have a lot of sex with a man I like. If you want to talk first, Trollope works for me. This closing reference was a nod to her favorite author, of course. The response was overwhelming, and Juska took a sabbatical from teaching to meet some of the men who had replied. And since her ad made it clear that she wasn't expecting just hand-holding, her dates zipped from first base to home plate in record time. Juska is a totally engaging, perceptive writer, funny and frank about her exploits. It's high time someone revealed the fact that older single people are as eager for sex and intimacy as their younger counterparts. Jane Juska's brave, honest memoir will probably raise eyebrows and blood pressure, but it will undoubtedly appeal to the very large audience of grown-up readers who will be fascinated and inspired by her daring adventure.
Author: 
Jamaica Kincaid
ISBN: 
9780374180560
In See Now Then , the brilliant and evocative new novel from Jamaica Kincaid-her first in ten years-a marriage is revealed in all its joys and agonies. This piercing examination of the manifold ways in which the passing of time operates on the human consciousness unfolds gracefully, and Kincaid inhabits each of her characters-a mother, a father, and their two children, living in a small village in New England-as they move, in their own minds, between the present, the past, and the future: for, as she writes, "the present will be now then and the past is now then and the future will be a now then." Her characters, constrained by the world, despair in their domestic situations. But their minds wander, trying to make linear sense of what is, in fact, nonlinear. See Now Then is Kincaid's attempt to make clear what is unclear, and to make unclear what we assumed was clear: that is, the beginning, the middle, and the end.nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp; Since the publication of her first short-story collection, At the Bottom of the River , which was nominated for a PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, Kincaid has demonstrated a unique talent for seeing beyond and through the surface of things. In See Now Then , she envelops the reader in a world that is both familiar and startling-creating her most emotionally and thematically daring work yet.
Author: 
Marina Lewycka
ISBN: 
9781594200441
When their recently widowed father announces that he plans to remarry, sisters Vera and Nadezhda realize that they must learn to put aside a lifetime of bitter rivalry in order to save him. The new woman in his life is Valentina, a voluptuous gold-digger from Ukraine, fifty years his junior, with fabulous breasts and a proclivity for green satin underwear and boil-in-the-bag cuisine, who will stop at nothing in her single-minded pursuit of the luxurious Western lifestyle she dreams of. But separating their addled and annoyingly lecherous dad from his new love will prove to be no easy feat-in terms of sheer cold-eyed ruthlessness, the two sisters swiftly realize that they are rank amateurs. As Hurricane Valentina turns the old family house upside down, all the old secrets come falling out, including the most deeply buried one of them all, from the war, the one that explains much about why Nadezhda and Vera are so different. In the meantime, oblivious to it all, their father carries on with the great work of his dotage-a grand history of the tractor and its role in human progress, giving due credit to the crucial Ukrainian contribution. The story carries us back to prerevolutionary Ukraine, through wartime Germany, to contemporary England, taking in love and suffering, tanks and tractors, bitchiness, sibling rivalry, and, above all, the joys of growing old disgracefully. A funny, enchanting novel about the belated healing of old family wounds under the most unlikely of circumstances and the trials and consolations of old age, A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainianmanages both to transport us somewhere entirely fresh and to echo what we ourselves know in our hearts about how families work (and don't). Written with great and well-earned wit, empathy and grace, it is a debut worthy of full-throated celebration. A wise, tender, deeply funny novel about an eccentric elderly Ukrainian widower in England and the struggles of his two feuding daughters to thwart the voluptuous young gold-digger from the old country who sweeps him off his feet
Author: 
Gary Shteyngart
ISBN: 
9781400066407
The author of two critically acclaimed novels, The Russian Debutante's Handbook and Absurdistan , Gary Shteyngart has risen to the top of the fiction world. Now, in his hilarious and heartfelt new novel, he envisions a deliciously dark tale of America's dysfunctional coming years--and the timeless and tender feelings that just might bring us back from the brink. In a very near future--oh, let's say next Tuesday--a functionally illiterate America is about to collapse. But don't that tell that to poor Lenny Abramov, the thirty-nine-year-old son of an angry Russian immigrant janitor, proud author of what may well be the world's last diary, and less-proud owner of a bald spot shaped like the great state of Ohio. Despite his job at an outfit called Post-Human Services, which attempts to provide immortality for its super-rich clientele, death is clearly stalking this cholesterol-rich morsel of a man. And why shouldn't it? Lenny's from a different century--he totally loves books (or "printed, bound media artifacts," as they're now known), even though most of his peers find them smelly and annoying. But even more than books, Lenny loves Eunice Park, an impossibly cute and impossibly cruel twenty-four-year-old Korean American woman who just graduated from Elderbird College with a major in Images and a minor in Assertiveness. After meeting Lenny on an extended Roman holiday, blistering Eunice puts that Assertiveness minor to work, teaching our "ancient dork" effective new ways to brush his teeth and making him buy a cottony nonflammable wardrobe. But America proves less flame-resistant than Lenny's new threads. The country is crushed by a credit crisis, riots break out in New York's Central Park, the city's streets are lined with National Guard tanks on every corner, the dollar is so over, and our patient Chinese creditors may just be ready to foreclose on the whole mess. Undeterred, Lenny vows to love both Eunice and his homeland. He's going to convince his fickle new love that in a time without standards or stability, in a world where single people can determine a dating prospect's "hotness" and "sustainability" with the click of a button, in a society where the privileged may live forever but the unfortunate will die all too soon, there is still value in being a real human being. Wildly funny, rich, and humane, Super Sad True Love Story is a knockout novel by a young master, a book in which falling in love just may redeem a planet falling apart. nbsp;
Author: 
Zora Neale Hurston
ISBN: 
9780060838676
One of the most important works of twentieth-century American literature, Zora Neale Hurston's beloved 1937 classic, Their Eyes Were Watching God, is an enduring Southern love story sparkling with wit, beauty, and heartfelt wisdom. Told in the captivating voice of a woman who refuses to live in sorrow, bitterness, fear, or foolish romantic dreams, it is the story of fair-skinned, fiercely independent Janie Crawford, and her evolving selfhood through three marriages and a life marked by poverty, trials, and purpose. A true literary wonder, Hurston's masterwork remains as relevant and affecting today as when it was first published--perhaps the most widely read and highly regarded novel in the entire canon of African American literature.
Author: 
Sarah Waters
ISBN: 
9781573227889
#147;Erotic and absorbing#133;Written with starling power."#151; The New York Times Book Review nbsp; Nan King, an oyster girl, is captivated by the music hall phenomenon Kitty Butler, a male impersonator extraordinaire treading the boards in Canterbury. Through a friend at the box office, Nan manages to visit all her shows and finally meet her heroine. Soon after, she becomes Kitty's dresser and the two head for the bright lights of Leicester Square where they begin a glittering career as music-hall stars in an all-singing and dancing double act. At the same time, behind closed doors, they admit their attraction to each other and their affair begins. nbsp;
Author: 
Terry McMillan
ISBN: 
9780451217455
From the critically acclaimed author of A Day Late and a Dollar Short and The Interruption of Everything , a wise, earthy story of a friendship between four African American women who lean on each other while "waiting to exhale": waiting for that man who will take their breath away.
Author: 
Jean Rhys; Charlotte Brontë; Judith L. Raiskin (Editor)
ISBN: 
9780393960129
Textual notes illuminate the novel's historical background, regional references, and the non-translated Creole and French phrases necessary to fully understand this powerful story. Backgrounds includes a wealth of material on the novel's long evolution, it connections to Jane Eyre, and Rhys's biographical impressions of growing up in Dominica. Criticism introduces readers to the critical debates inspired by the novel with a Derek Walcott poem and eleven essays.
Author: 
Emily Brontë; Katherine Frank (Introduction by)
ISBN: 
9780679405436
The title of the novel comes from the Yorkshire manor on the moors of the story. The narrative centres on the all-encompassing, passionate, but ultimately doomed love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, and how this unresolved passion eventually destroys them and the people around them. Virginia Woolf said of Emily Brontë that her writing could "make the wind blow and the thunder roar," and so it does in Wuthering Heights . Catherine Earnshaw, Heathcliff, and the windswept moors that are the setting of their mythic love are as immediately stirring to the reader of today as they have been for every generation of readers since the novel was first published in 1847. With an introduction by Katherine Frank. (Book Jacket Status: Jacketed) nbsp;