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Editors' Picks: Week of June 17–23

By kileyturner
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tagged: middle age
Ah, middle age. Such a simple time. So little to think about, so few regrets. HA!
Autopsy of a Boring Wife

Autopsy of a Boring Wife

edition:eBook
also available: Paperback

Like a Québécois Bridget Jones’s Diary, Marie-Renée Lavoie’s Autopsy of a Boring Wife tells the hysterically funny and ultimately touching tale of forty-eight-year-old Diane, a woman whose husband leaves her and is having an affair because, he says, she bores him. Diane takes the charge to heart and undertakes an often ribald, highly entertaining journey to restoring trust in herself and others that is at the same time an astute commentary on women and girls, gender differences, and the c …

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They Left Us Everything

They Left Us Everything

A Memoir
edition:Paperback
also available: Paperback

Winner of the 2015 RBC Taylor Prize
Winner of the 2016 Forest of Reading® Evergreen Award™ 
#1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER
A warm, heartfelt memoir of family, loss, and a house jam-packed with decades of memories.

After almost twenty years of caring for elderly parents--first for their senile father, and then for their cantankerous ninety-three-year old mother--author Plum Johnson and her three younger brothers have finally fallen to their knees with conflicted feelings of grief and relief. Now they …

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Going Home Again

Going Home Again

edition:eBook
also available: Hardcover Paperback
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When Charlie Bellerose reunites with his flamboyant brother Nate, after two decades apart, their youthful rivalry seems forgotten. Drawn together again by their failed marriages, trying to survive in a world of long-distance parenting and hopeful reunions, they begin to imagine that they can be a new family of sorts. But Charlie’s chance encounter with his first love, Holly, now happily married, unravels his past and complicates his present, plunging him back to his bittersweet college days in …

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Hope Makes Love

Hope Makes Love

edition:eBook
also available: Hardcover
tagged : literary

All former major league baseball player Zep Baker needs to put his life back on track is to revive his marriage by convincing his wife to return to Tampa with their daughter. But his wife won’t fall for his pleading or his old tricks. He needs a new game plan. Enter Hope, a neuroscience researcher who he persuades to help him in this endeavour. The resulting life-experiment takes both characters to places they did not foresee and for which they are not prepared.

 

With his award-winning comic to …

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Every Happy Family

Every Happy Family

edition:eBook
also available: Paperback

Humorous and heartbreaking, wise and demented, Every Happy Family explores the colourful – and sometimes repurposed – fabric of the Wright family. The stories mark turning points in the lives of the individual family members, as well as in their relationships with each other.

 

Married parents Jill and Les are the warp of the Wright family tapestry - Jill beginning to lose her mother to Alzheimer's, Les diagnosed with a cancer he initially keeps secret from their children. Each family member' …

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The World

The World

edition:Hardcover
also available: Paperback
tagged :

Weaving together five heartbreaking stories, Bill Gaston transforms the cruelty of life into something not only beautiful but heartwarming.

A recently divorced, early retiree accidentally burns down his house on the day he pays off the mortgage, only to discover that for the first time in his life he’s forgotten to pay a bill: his insurance premium. An old friend of his, a middle-aged musician, prepares for her suicide to end the pain of esophageal cancer. Her father, who left his family to st …

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Everything Rustles

Everything Rustles

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
tagged :

In this debut collection of personal essays, Silcott looks at the tangle of midlife, the long look back, the shorter look forward, and the moments right now that shimmer and rustle around her: marriage, menopause, fear, desire, loss, and that guy on the bus, the woman on the street, wandering bears, marauding llamas, light and laundry rooms.

This isn?t a “how to” guide to middle age and it's not a collection of memories either — for one thing, the author can?t remember that much — foranot …

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Fatboy Fall Down

Fatboy Fall Down

A Novel
edition:eBook
also available: Paperback

A heartrending novel about one man’s search for meaning in a difficult life

A child ridiculed for his weight, a son overshadowed by a favored brother, a husband who falls short of his wife’s ambitions, an old man with a broken heart… As Orbits’s life passes, he doggedly pursues a simple dream — a little place in the country where a family might thrive — while wondering if he can ever shake free of the tragedies that seem to define him. 

Fatboy Fall Down is the lush and heartbreaking mu …

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Excerpt

When he was fifty-eight years old and preparing for his retirement in a slumberous cocoa village nestled within a valley’s crook, Orbits would look at the parakeets, so tiny and green they could be mistaken, from a distance, for skittering leaves and he would recall his dream of reading the weather report with a macaw perched on his shoulder. The bungalow, its walls wrinkled by vines that trailed from the lemon and guava trees and seeming to glide into the open windows, he had coveted for half his life and his ease in acquiring it at an affordable price, encouraged him into speculating about other long-delayed pursuits.

He would visit his daughter whom he had not heard from nor seen for over a decade. He would populate the pond at the back of his house with red tilapia and augment the yard with fruit trees — cashews, mangoes, golden apples, cherries and plums. He would attend to his growing vision problems and finally finish his meteorology course. All of this, he mentioned in letters to Wally, his old friend from the Ministry of Agriculture. It was Wally who, before his relocation to Toronto, had introduced him to life in the capital and who had explained how aspects of the island’s past had engrained themselves into a culture of lime and unexpected generosity always twinned with reproach. Wally, too, had noted that the faddishness of the boom years did not completely displace the old way of thinking: the refusal to be persuaded, the childish presumptuousness, the nursing of grudges, the fear of competition, the absolute dread of being ignored.

Wally’s heart attack had preceded Orbits’ by a few years and in a letter, Orbits had joked about both men resting side-by-side on hospital beds. But Wally had survived his heart attack.

In the evenings, Orbits walked across the yard of the old shop where tufts of knotgrass sprouted from concrete and asphalt and he mentioned his plans to the sceptical shopkeeper. “Just a few months again for my pension,” he told the shopkeeper. “I have my bucket list.”

The shopkeeper, offended by Orbit’s optimism, replied, “Careful the bucket don’t tumble down the hill and take you with it. Remember what happen to Jack and the other miserable little one.” The shopkeeper knew Orbits only as a local politician of negligible importance, an unremarkable man trying to be remarkable. If Orbits, in an uncharacteristic burst of candour, had described the torment that marked his childhood and which had left both scars and a faltering imagination; if he had spoken of the events that had forced him to return to his parent’s house following his brother’s suicide, only to witness the life squeezed out of both; if he had mentioned that for most of his life, always expecting rejection, he was forever preparing for it; if he had confessed any of this, the shopkeeper, a tiny man with an unevenly shaped moustache and bristly eyebrows that gave him a harried and reflective look, would not have seen Orbits as any different from anyone in the island.

But Orbits had grown to see himself as different, and separate. For most of his life he had little idea of what the future might bring; he never planned for anything and when a little slice of luck fell his way, he briefly imagined it was the world settling itself, balancing the turmoil of his early years.

Yet, at the beginning of his life, before the birth of his brother, he never suspected there was anything unusual or shameful about himself. There was nothing unnatural about the rolls of supple fat that hung from his waist and which his mother pinched and tickled whenever he fell from the sofa or the front stairs. Or with his father’s amused comment, “Clear the road, Mamoose. The steamroller coming through.” He assumed the responses of his parents to his weight and clumsiness were normal and that in every house in the village, there were little fatties like him rolling around to the amusement of the adults.

Then, a few months prior to his fifth birthday, his slim and perfect brother was born. And shortly after, he was sent off to school. He expected he might find there some variation of his parents’ jolliness but he discovered that school was a place of hardened bullies and frustrated teachers waiting patiently for students like him while they nursed their hangovers. He also learned quickly that it was a bad idea to run away from the other boys because invariably he tumbled on the road, drawing even more ridicule. One day while he was trying to pull himself from the slippery mud, a group of boys pretended to be applauding his effort. As he rolled back and forth to get some traction, one of them said, “It look like Fatso rocking himself to sleep.”

“Like a little piggy.”

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