Monday, April 17, 2017

Read-Alike Monday: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

A lot of people have been talking about The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks again, since the movie starring Oprah is set to come out soon. Since we loved this book and we know many of you did, we're offering some suggestions on what to read next if you liked this book.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer, yet her cells--taken without her knowledge--became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first "immortal" human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer and viruses; helped lead to in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions. Yet Henrietta Lacks is buried in an unmarked grave. Her family did not learn of her "immortality" until more than twenty years after her death, when scientists began using her husband and children in research without informed consent. The story of the Lacks family is inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of.


READ-ALIKES:

The Vaccine Race: Science, Politics, and the Human Cost of Defeating Disease by Meredith Wadman  The epic and controversial story of a major breakthrough in cell biology that led to the conquest of rubella and other devastating diseases. 

Until the late 1960s, tens of thousands of American children suffered crippling birth defects if their mothers had been exposed to rubella, popularly known as German measles, while pregnant; there was no vaccine and little understanding of how the disease devastated fetuses. In June 1962, a young biologist in Philadelphia, using tissue extracted from an aborted fetus from Sweden, produced safe, clean cells that allowed the creation of vaccines against rubella and other common childhood diseases. Two years later, in the midst of a devastating German measles epidemic, his colleague developed the vaccine that would one day wipe out homegrown rubella. The rubella vaccine and others made with those fetal cells have protected more than 150 million people in the United States, the vast majority of them preschoolers. The new cells and the method of making them also led to vaccines that have protected billions of people around the world from polio, rabies, chicken pox, measles, hepatitis A, shingles and adenovirus. 

Meredith Wadman's masterful account recovers not only the science of this urgent race, but also the political roadblocks that nearly stopped the scientists. She describes the terrible dilemmas of pregnant women exposed to German measles and recounts testing on infants, prisoners, orphans, and the intellectually disabled, which was common in the era. These events take place at the dawn of the battle over using human fetal tissue in research, during the arrival of big commerce in campus labs, and as huge changes take place in the laws and practices governing who "owns" research cells and the profits made from biological inventions. It is also the story of yet one more unrecognized woman whose cells have been used to save countless lives. 

Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present by Harriet A. Washington  The first comprehensive history of medical experimentation on African Americans. Starting with the earliest encounters between Africans and Western medical researchers and the racist pseudoscience that resulted, it details the way both slaves and freedmen were used in hospitals for experiments conducted without a hint of informed consent--a tradition that continues today within some black populations. It shows how the pseudoscience of eugenics and social Darwinism was used to justify experimental exploitation and shoddy medical treatment of blacks, and a view that they were biologically inferior, oversexed, and unfit for adult responsibilities. New details about the government's Tuskegee experiment are revealed, as are similar, less well-known medical atrocities conducted by the government, the armed forces, and private institutions. This book reveals the hidden underbelly of scientific research and makes possible, for the first time, an understanding of the roots of the African American health deficit.

Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science by Atul Gawande  In gripping accounts of true cases, surgeon Atul Gawande explores the power and the limits of medicine, offering an unflinching view from the scalpel's edge. Complications lays bare a science not in its idealized form but as it actually is--uncertain, perplexing, and profoundly human. Complications is a 2002 National Book Award Finalist for Nonfiction.












The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee  Physician, researcher, and award-winning science writer, Siddhartha Mukherjee examines cancer with a cellular biologist’s precision, a historian’s perspective, and a biographer’s passion. The result is an astonishingly lucid and eloquent chronicle of a disease humans have lived with—and perished from—for more than five thousand years. 

The story of cancer is a story of human ingenuity, resilience, and perseverance, but also of hubris, paternalism, and misperception. Mukherjee recounts centuries of discoveries, setbacks, victories, and deaths, told through the eyes of his predecessors and peers, training their wits against an infinitely resourceful adversary that, just three decades ago, was thought to be easily vanquished in an all-out “war against cancer.” 

The book reads like a literary thriller with cancer as the protagonist. From the Persian Queen Atossa, whose Greek slave cut off her malignant breast, to the nineteenth-century recipients of primitive radiation and chemotherapy to Mukherjee’s own leukemia patient, Carla, The Emperor of All Maladies is about the people who have soldiered through fiercely demanding regimens in order to survive—and to increase our understanding of this iconic disease. 

Riveting, urgent, and surprising, The Emperor of All Maladies provides a fascinating glimpse into the future of cancer treatments. It is an illuminating book that provides hope and clarity to those seeking to demystify cancer.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

New and Noteworthy Middle Grade Fiction


 by Pseudonymous Bosch



We’re being showered this April with great debut novels, the latest in popular series, along with the newest from favorite authors.

 Bad News . Book 3 in the Bad Books series (Bad Magic, Bad Luck) Thirteen-year-old Clay, a boy who no longer believes in magic, tags graffiti on his classroom wall and, as punishment, is sent to a camp for wayward kids located on a volcanic island, where eccentric campmates abound, a ghost walks among the abandoned ruins of a mansion, and a dangerous force threatens to erupt with bad magic.   In the latest entry, Clay and the Secret Series Allies confront the white-gloved members of the mysterious Midnight Sun cabal.




 
   Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly.  In conjunction with the new Disney live action Beauty & the Beast, an original story taking place during Belle’s time at the Beast’s castle.  Smart, bookish Belle, a captive in the Beast's castle, has become accustomed to her new home and has befriended its inhabitants. When she comes upon Nevermore, an enchanted book unlike anything else she has seen in the castle, Belle finds herself pulled into its pages and transported to a world of glamour and intrigue. But what about her friends in the Beast's castle? Can Belle trust her new companions inside the pages of Nevermore? Belle must uncover the truth about the book, before she loses herself in it forever.

 by Sarah Beth Durst 
 Journey Across the Hidden Islands   Award-winning fantasy writer Durst has created an action packed story with an Eastern flavor.  When twin princesses Seika and Ji- Lin travel to pay respects to their kingdom's dragon guardian, unexpected monsters appear, and tremors shake the earth. The Hidden Islands face unprecedented threats, and the old rituals are failing. With only their strength, ingenuity, and flying lion to rely on, can the sisters find a new way to keep their people safe?




 by Jessica Day George
 

Saturdays at Sea   Finishes up the series starring the ever changing Castle Glower and Princess Celie that began with Tuesdays at the Castle.  After traveling to the seaside kingdom of Lilah's betrothed prince, Lulath, Celie and her companions are busy training griffins, enjoying wedding festivities, and finishing construction of a grand ship built from parts of the Castle. But on their maiden voyage, the Ship steers them far off course into uncharted waters.



 by Tim Green and Derek Jeter
 
Baseball Genius  and Fair Ball by Derek Jeter & Paul Mantell.  Derek Jeter may not be out on the diamond but he is putting his experience to work in several novels about baseball, co-authoring with veteran children’s sports novelists.  In Baseball Genius, an average kid with an above average talent for predicting baseball pitches tries to help his favorite player out of a slump.  In Fair Ball, Jeter continues with a series containing a fictionalized version of himself as a youngster living and loving baseball.




 by Andy Griffiths


  65-Story Treehouse
   How’s your division?  This hilarious, goofy series uses multiples of 13 for each title, beginning with The 13-Story Treehouse.  So we’re at number…5!  A treehouse like no other provides the setting for outrageous antics.






 by Scott Westerfeld
   

Horizon   Debut middle grade series with a companion online game by popular teen writer Westerfeld (Uglies).  When Aero Horizon 16 crashes in the Arctic, eight children emerge from the wreckage to find themselves alone and surrounded, not by ice, but by a mysterious and deadly jungle full of carnivorous plants and predatory birds--the other five hundred people from the plane are gone, not necessarily dead, but taken by something that lives in the jungle.



 by Carol Weston
 
Speed of Life  This debut novel by real life advice columnist Weston garnered 4 starred reviews.  Sofia lost her mother eight months ago, and her friends were 100% there for her. Now it’s a new year, and they’re ready for Sofia to move on.  Problem is, Sofia can’t bounce back, can’t recharge like a cell phone. She decides to write Dear Kate, an advice columnist for Fifteen Magazine, and is surprised to receive a fast reply. Soon, the two are exchanging emails, and Sofia opens up and spills all, including a few worries that are totally embarrassing. Turns out even advice columnists don’t have all the answers, and one day, Sofia learns a secret that flips her world upside down.
 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Read-Alike Monday: Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

Hillbilly Elegy has been one of the most popular books at Lake Forest Library since it was released last summer. If you are interested in learning more about poverty in America, try one of these next.

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
From a former Marine and Yale Law School Graduate, a poignant account of growing up in a poor Appalachian town, that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class. Part memoir, part historical and social analysis, J. D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy is a fascinating consideration of class, culture, and the American dream.

Vance’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love.” They got married and moved north from Kentucky to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. Their grandchild (the author) graduated from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of their success in achieving upward mobility for their family. But Vance cautions that is only the short version. The slightly longer version is that his grandparents, aunt, uncle, and mother struggled to varying degrees with the demands of their new middle class life and they, and Vance himself, still carry around the demons of their chaotic family history.

Delving into his own personal story and drawing on a wide array of sociological studies, Vance takes us deep into working class life in the Appalachian region. This demographic of our country has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, and Vance provides a searching and clear-eyed attempt to understand when and how “hillbillies” lost faith in any hope of upward mobility, and in opportunities to come. At times funny, disturbing, and deeply moving, this is a family history that is also a troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large portion of this country.
 


READ-ALIKES:
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond From Harvard sociologist and MacArthur "Genius" Matthew Desmond, a landmark work of scholarship and reportage that will forever change the way we look at poverty in America
 
In this brilliant, heartbreaking book, Matthew Desmond takes us into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to tell the story of eight families on the edge. Arleen is a single mother trying to raise her two sons on the $20 a month she has left after paying for their rundown apartment. Scott is a gentle nurse consumed by a heroin addiction. Lamar, a man with no legs and a neighborhood full of boys to look after, tries to work his way out of debt. Vanetta participates in a botched stickup after her hours are cut. All are spending almost everything they have on rent, and all have fallen behind.

The fates of these families are in the hands of two landlords: Sherrena Tarver, a former schoolteacher turned inner-city entrepreneur, and Tobin Charney, who runs one of the worst trailer parks in Milwaukee. They loathe some of their tenants and are fond of others, but as Sherrena puts it, “Love don’t pay the bills.” She moves to evict Arleen and her boys a few days before Christmas.

Even in the most desolate areas of American cities, evictions used to be rare. But today, most poor renting families are spending more than half of their income on housing, and eviction has become ordinary, especially for single mothers. In vivid, intimate prose, Desmond provides a ground-level view of one of the most urgent issues facing America today. As we see families forced  into shelters, squalid apartments, or more dangerous neighborhoods, we bear witness to the human cost of America’s vast inequality—and to people’s determination and intelligence in the face of hardship.

Based on years of embedded fieldwork and painstakingly gathered data, this masterful book transforms our understanding of extreme poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving a devastating, uniquely American problem. Its unforgettable scenes of hope and loss remind us of the centrality of home, without which nothing else is possible.
 

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
The Glass Castle is a remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. When sober, Jeannette's brilliant and charismatic father captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn't want the responsibility of raising a family.

The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered.

The Glass Castle is truly astonishing--a memoir permeated by the intense love of a peculiar but loyal family.

Nickel and Dimed: Or (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich Millions of Americans work for poverty-level wages, and one day Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that any job equals a better life. But how can anyone survive, let alone prosper, on $6 to $7 an hour? To find out, Ehrenreich moved from Florida to Maine to Minnesota, taking the cheapest lodgings available and accepting work as a waitress, hotel maid, house cleaner, nursing-home aide, and Wal-Mart salesperson. She soon discovered that even the "lowliest" occupations require exhausting mental and physical efforts. And one job is not enough; you need at least two if you intend to live indoors.

Nickel and Dimed reveals low-wage America in all its tenacity, anxiety, and surprising generosity -- a land of Big Boxes, fast food, and a thousand desperate strategies for survival.

Strangers in Their Own Land by Arlie Russell Hochschild
In Strangers in Their Own Land, the renowned sociologist Arlie Hochschild embarks on a thought-provoking journey from her liberal hometown of Berkeley, California, deep into Louisiana bayou country--a stronghold of the conservative right. As she gets to know people who strongly oppose many of the ideas she famously champions, Hochschild nevertheless finds common ground and quickly warms to the people she meets--among them a Tea Party activist whose town has been swallowed by a sinkhole caused by a drilling accident--people whose concerns are actually ones that all Americans share: the desire for community, the embrace of family, and hopes for their children. 

Strangers in Their Own Land goes beyond the commonplace liberal idea that these are people who have been duped into voting against their own interests. Instead, Hochschild finds lives ripped apart by stagnant wages, a loss of home, an elusive American dream--and political choices and views that make sense in the context of their lives. Hochschild draws on her expert knowledge of the sociology of emotion to help us understand what it feels like to live in "red" America. Along the way she finds answers to one of the crucial questions of contemporary American politics: why do the people who would seem to benefit most from "liberal" government intervention abhor the very idea?

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Celebrate Irish Culture with the Library this St. Patrick's Day!

Looking to celebrate Irish culture beyond wearing green and drinking a shamrock shake? Although we fully support both of those things, we've made a list of ways to celebrate and learn more about Irish culture through music, movies, and books as well!

IRISH FICTION BOOKS:
Try the historical fiction Irish Country series by Patrick Taylor. Set in Ballybucklebo, a fictional village in rural Northern Ireland, the series follows novice doctor Barry Laverty as he begins his assistantship at the practice of Dr. Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly. Patrick Taylor was born and raised in Bangor, County Down, in Northern Ireland. An Irish Country Doctor is the first book in the series. 

Check out these books at the Library (FICTION TAYLOR) or download the audio versions using the Hoopla app.



 




IRISH MYSTERY BOOKS:
The Dublin Murder Squad series by Tana French makes for great atmospheric, chilling reading. The first in the series is In the Woods, follows detective Rob Ryan as he tries to solve a case that he was involved in from his childhood and a similar case taking place today. There are different lead detectives in every story, but they all work in Dublin's Muder Squad division. Tana French grew up in Ireland, Italy, the US and Malawi, and has lived in Dublin since 1990.

Check out these books at the Library (FICTION FRENCH) or download the eBook/eAudiobook versions through the Overdrive app.




 



NONFICTION BOOKS:
Sometimes it's easier to understand different times, places, and cultures through photographs, which is why we recommend, The Irish: A Photohistory by Sean Sexton & Christine Kinealy. These photos document life from 1840-1940. 

Check out this book at the Library (941.5 SEX)








The Story of Ireland: A History of the Irish People by Neil Hegarty is a comprehensive and engaging account of a nation that has long been shaped by forces beyond its coasts. This book re-examines Irish history, challenging the accepted stories and long-held myths associated with Ireland starting from A.D. 433. 

Check out this book at the Library (941.5 HEG)







The classic memoir, Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt, takes readers through the authors childhood in both depression-era Brookyln and the slums of Limerick, Ireland. An excerpt from the book says it all- “When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I managed to survive at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood.”

Check out this book at the Library (BIOG MCCOURT MCC) or through our apps- Overdrive and Hoopla.


 


IRISH MOVIES:
Once is a beautiful contemporary love story. An unnamed Guy is a Dublin guitarist/singer-songwriter who makes a living by fixing vacuum cleaners in his Dad's Hoover repair shop by day, and singing and playing for money on the Dublin streets by night. An unnamed Girl is a Czech who plays piano when she gets a chance, and does odd jobs by day and takes care of her mom and her daughter by night. 

Guy meets Girl, and they get to know each other as the Girl helps the Guy to put together a demo disc. During the same several day period, the Guy and the Girl work through their past loves, and reveal their budding love for one another, through their songs.

Check this movie out at the Library (DVD ONC)





If you are looking for a classic, try The Quiet Man starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara. Sean Thornton has returned from America to reclaim his homestead in Ireland and escape his past. Sean's eye is caught by Mary Kate Danaher, a beautiful but poor maiden, and younger sister of ill-tempered "Red" Will Danaher. A riotous relationship forms between Sean and Mary Kate, as Will attempts to keep them apart.

Check this movie out at the Library (DVD QUI)









IRISH MUSIC:
The Clancy Brothers were an influential Irish folk group who came about in the 1960s as part of the American folk music revival. They popularized Irish traditional music in the United States and revitalized it in Ireland.

Stream or download their albums on the Hoopla app.





If you like your music a little more loud and in your face, try the Celtic punk band, Dropkick Murphys. The Massachusetts based band has released nine albums.

Stream or download all of their albums on the Hoopla app.




Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Cook with Books at the Library presents: Meg Barnhart from the Zen of Slow Cooking!

Meg Barnhart from The Zen of Slow Cooking
Monday night we had a special guest at the Library, Meg Barnhart from The Zen of Slow Cooking. She taught us how to use our slow cookers to make better food. Here are some highlights and cookbooks that Meg brought up in the presentation. Even if you weren't there, you will find this information helpful when using your slow cooker! Be sure to check out The Zen of Slow Cooking's website for more recipes and helpful slow cooking tips!

SOME OF MEG'S FAVORITE COOKBOOKS (SLOW COOKER AND OTHERS):
Slow Cooker: The Best Cookbook Ever With More than 400 Easy to Cook Recipes by Diane Phillips

Barefoot Contessa: Foolproof by Ina Garten

Noteworthy: A Collection of Recipes from the Ravinia Festival

Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston's Flour Bakery and Cafe by Joanne Chang

Art of the Slow Cooker: 80 Exciting New Recipes by Andrew Schloss


WHAT TO STOCK YOUR PANTRY AND FREEZER WITH:




KEYS TO SUCCESS:

BUILDING BLOCKS FOR SOUPS AND STEWS:




Monday, February 27, 2017

Read-Alike Monday: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

If you're like us, you are having a hard time waiting for the new HBO series, Big Little Lies, based on the book by Liane Moriarty. Here's a couple of books to read while you wait.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.


Read-Alikes:

The Fever by Megan Abbott
The panic unleashed by a mysterious contagion threatens the bonds of family and community in a seemingly idyllic suburban community.

The Nash family is close-knit. Tom is a popular teacher, father of two teens: Eli, a hockey star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie's best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school and community.

As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town's fragile idea of security.




Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight
Litigation lawyer and harried single mother Kate Baron is stunned when her daughter's exclusive private school in Park Slope, Brooklyn, calls with disturbing news: her intelligent, high-achieving fifteen-year-old daughter, Amelia, has been caught cheating.

Kate can't believe that Amelia, an ambitious, levelheaded girl who's never been in trouble would do something like that. But by the time she arrives at Grace Hall, Kate's faced with far more devastating news. Amelia is dead.

Seemingly unable to cope with what she'd done, a despondent Amelia has jumped from the school's roof in an act of "spontaneous" suicide. At least that's the story Grace Hall and the police tell Kate. And overwhelmed as she is by her own guilt and shattered by grief, it is the story that Kate believes until she gets the anonymous text:  She didn't jump. Sifting through Amelia's emails, text messages, social media postings, and cell phone logs, Kate is determined to learn the heartbreaking truth about why Amelia was on Grace Hall's roof that day-and why she died.


The Admissions by Meg Mitchell Moore
The Hawthorne family has it all. Great jobs, a beautiful house in one of the most affluent areas of Northern California, and three charming kids whose sunny futures are all but assured. And then comes their eldest daughter’s senior year of high school . . .

Firstborn Angela Hawthorne is a straight-A student and star athlete, with extracurricular activities coming out of her ears and a college application that’s not going to write itself. She’s set her sights on Harvard, her father’s alma mater, and like a dog with a chew toy, Angela won’t let up until she’s basking in crimson-colored glory. Except her class rank as valedictorian is under attack, she’s suddenly losing her edge at cross-country, and she can’t help but daydream about a cute baseball player. Of course Angela knows the time put into her schoolgirl crush would be better spent coming up with a subject for her English term paper—which, along with her college essay, has a rapidly approaching deadline.


Angela’s mother, Nora, is similarly stretched to the limit, juggling parent-teacher meetings, carpool, and a real estate career where she caters to the mega-rich and super-picky buyers and sellers of the Bay Area. The youngest daughter, second-grader Maya, still can’t read; the middle child, Cecily, is no longer the happy-go-lucky kid she once was; and their dad, Gabe, seems oblivious to the mounting pressures at home because a devastating secret of his own might be exposed. A few ill-advised moves put the Hawthorne family on a collision course that’s equal parts achingly real and delightfully screwball—and they learn that whatever it cost to get their lucky lives it may cost far more to keep them.


The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell
Imagine that you live on a picturesque communal garden square, an oasis in urban London where your children run free, in and out of other people’s houses. You’ve known your neighbors for years and you trust them. Implicitly. You think your children are safe. But are they really?

On a midsummer night, as a festive neighborhood party is taking place, preteen Pip discovers her thirteen-year-old sister Grace lying unconscious and bloody in a hidden corner of a lush rose garden. What really happened to her? And who is responsible?

Dark secrets, a devastating mystery, and the games both children and adults play all swirl together in this gripping novel, packed with utterly believable characters and page-turning suspense.
 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

10 Great Love Stories


Valentine's Day got you in the mood for a great love story? Try one of these great love stories old and new. Not all of them have happy endings, but they do tell stories of great love. Happy Valentine's Day to all of you!

Wuthering Heights by 
Wuthering Heights is a wild, passionate story of the intense and almost demonic love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, a foundling adopted by Catherine's father. After Mr Earnshaw's death, Heathcliff is bullied and humiliated by Catherine's brother Hindley and wrongly believing that his love for Catherine is not reciprocated, leaves Wuthering Heights, only to return years later as a wealthy and polished man. He proceeds to exact a terrible revenge for his former miseries. The action of the story is chaotic and unremittingly violent, but the accomplished handling of a complex structure, the evocative descriptions of the lonely moorland setting and the poetic grandeur of vision combine to make this unique novel a masterpiece of English literature.


The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
With ravishing beauty and unsettling intelligence, Michael Ondaatje's Booker Prize-winning novel traces the intersection of four damaged lives in an Italian villa at the end of World War II. Hana, the exhausted nurse; the maimed thief, Caravaggio; the wary sapper, Kip: each is haunted by the riddle of the English patient, the nameless, burned man who lies in an upstairs room and whose memories of passion, betrayal, and rescue illuminate this book like flashes of heat lightning.





Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Eleanor... Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough...Eleanor.

Park... He knows she'll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises...Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.







Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
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. 



Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord...1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life, and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire—and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.







Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” So begins Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen’s witty comedy of manners—one of the most popular novels of all time—that features splendidly civilized sparring between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of eighteenth-century drawing-room intrigues. 






The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Audrey Niffenegger's dazzling debut is the story of Clare, a beautiful, strong-minded art student, and Henry, an adventuresome librarian, who have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-three and Henry thirty-one. Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: his genetic clock randomly resets and he finds himself misplaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity from his life, past and future. His disappearances are spontaneous and unpredictable, and lend a spectacular urgency to Clare and Henry's unconventional love story. That their attempt to live normal lives together is threatened by something they can neither prevent nor control makes their story intensely moving and entirely unforgettable.





Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Leo Tolstoy’s classic story of doomed love is one of the most admired novels in world literature. Generations of readers have been enthralled by his magnificent heroine, the unhappily married Anna Karenina, and her tragic affair with dashing Count Vronsky.

In their world frivolous liaisons are commonplace, but Anna and Vronsky’s consuming passion makes them a target for scorn and leads to Anna’s increasing isolation. The heartbreaking trajectory of their relationship contrasts sharply with the colorful swirl of friends and family members who surround them, especially the newlyweds Kitty and Levin, who forge a touching bond as they struggle to make a life together. Anna Karenina is a masterpiece not only because of the unforgettable woman at its core and the stark drama of her fate, but also because it explores and illuminates the deepest questions about how to live a fulfilled life.





The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
Fourteen-year-old Alma Singer is trying to find a cure for her mother's loneliness. Believing she might discover it in an old book her mother is lovingly translating, she sets out in search of its author. Across New York an old man called Leo Gursky is trying to survive a little bit longer. He spends his days dreaming of the lost love who, sixty years ago in Poland, inspired him to write a book. And although he doesn't know it yet, that book also survived: crossing oceans and generations, and changing lives...





The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
"I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once."

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green's most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.