The Mid-life Madness: Stories for People of a Certain Age

Robin Pilcher

After the dot-com bubble burst, Dan Porter is laid off from his job and must decide what is truly important. His wife of twenty years, Jackie, a beautiful and successful managing director at a clothing designer shop, no longer connects with him. His teenagers, Josh, Nina, and Millie, are distant and confusing. Jackie is tempted by the attentions of a younger man at her office, and thanks to an opportunity suggested by a magazine article, Dan finds himself contemplating a drastic change in his life.

Mark Haddon
"At sixty-one, George Hall is settling down to a comfortable retirement. When his tempestuous daughter, Katie, announces that she is getting married to the deeply inappropriate Ray, the Hall family is thrown into a tizzy. Unnoticed in the uproar, George discovers a sinister lesion on his hip, and quietly begins to lose his mind. As parents and children fall apart and come together, Haddon paints a disturbing yet amusing portrait of a dignified man trying to go insane politely."
Bill Bryson

Bryson and an estranged and strange college chum decide to hike the Appalachian their 40s without almost no physical preparation. If that's not humorous enough, the picture of the bear on the cover is connected to a passage in the book guaranteed to generate snorts for years to come.

Also available on audio.

Kris Radish
For Katherine Givens and the four women about to become her best friends, the adventure begins with a UPS package. Inside is a pair of red sneakers filled with ashes and a note that will forever change their lives. Katherine's oldest and dearest friend, the irrepressible Annie Freeman, left one final request - a traveling funeral - and she wants the most important women in her life as "pallbearers."
Luanne Rice
"Jane Porter left the apple orchards of rural Twin Rivers, Rhode Island, years ago, fleeing memories that could tear two families apart. Now she has been unexpectedly drawn home to her mother and only sister. Dylan Chadwick has come back, too, shedding the steely exterior he wore as a federal agent in order to follow in the footsteps of his apple-farming father and forget the life he once lived. Amid this landscape of loss and renewal, a haunting story of converging lives, small-town secrets—-and the magical sway of unexpected miracles—-unfolds."
Alice Kuipers
Claire and her mother are running out of time, but they don't know it. They rarely find themselves in the same room at the same time, and it often seems that the only thing they can count on are notes to each other on the refrigerator door. When home is threatened by a crisis, their relationship experiences a momentous change. Forced to reevaluate the delicate balance between their personal lives and their bond as mother and daughter, Claire and her mother find new love and devotion for one another deeper than anything they had ever imagined.
Patricia Gaffney

About two people who have never been able to live without each other--and are suddenly forced to try...Examines that one moment--so common in long-term relationships--when one partner just has to get out, and the changes and growth that follow.

Nicholas Delbanco
"The year is 1962. Lawrence is a senior at Harvard when he meets Hermia, a wild-spirited junior at Radcliffe. A passionate, short-lived romance ensues. But neither is ready for marriage, and Lawrence, a new graduate, is eager to see the world. Forty years later, fate brings them together again. When they rediscover one another on a Mediterranean cruise, romance comes full circle as they experience a love that is deeper, richer, and more bittersweet than the exuberant passion they shared all those years ago. Moving back and forth in time and between the voices of Hermia and Lawrence, the story details the paths they have each followed until the point when they reconnect."
Carole Cadwalladr

Looking for clues in a family history filled with three generations of mistaken marriages, dubiously fathered children, and hand-me-down sayings, Rebecca discovers she is just one piece of a family history that is still unraveling—-and she wonders if events of the past are destined to repeat themselves in her own child's future.

Will North

"When forty-three-year-old Fiona Edwards first sees the lanky backpacker striding up the lane toward her award-winning farmhouse bed-and-breakfast in the remote mountains of North Wales, she’s puzzled. She’s used to unexpected strangers, but few arrive on foot. The man to whom she opens her door is middle-aged, unshaven, sweat-soaked . . . and arrestingly handsome. What neither of them knows at that moment is that their lives are about to change forever. American Alec Hudson has carried the ashes—and the memory—of his late ex-wife, Gwynne, all the way from London’s Heathrow Airport, honoring her request that he scatter them atop a mountain they had climbed together years before—the same brooding peak whose jagged cliffs rise to the sky from the back pastures of Fiona’s farm. But the weather doesn’t cooperate, and as Fiona and Alec wait for it to clear, they are drawn together by mutual loss, longing, and the miracle of love at midlife."

Debra Dean

"An elderly Russian woman now living in America, Marina cannot hold on to fresh memories...yet her distant past is miraculously preserved in her mind's eye…carrying her back to the terrible fall of 1941, when she was a tour guide at the Hermitage Museum and the German army's approach signaled the beginning of what would be a long, torturous siege on the city."

Ron McLarty

Working as a quality control inspector at a toy factory in Rhode Island, friendless alcoholic Smithy Ide considers himself a loser until a tragic event prompts him to set off on an epic cross-country bicycle journey that promises him a final chance to become the man he has always wanted to be.

Sue Miller
On the heels of a divorce, Catherine Hubbard…takes up residence in her grandmother Georgia’s old house. Sorting through her own affairs, Catherine stumbles upon the true story of Georgia's life and marriage, and the misunderstanding upon which she build a lifelong love.
M. A. Harper

A middle-aged woman is forced to return to a home state she'd rather forget…and come to terms with a past filled with the shadows of her mother--a once vibrant femme fatale now suffering from Alzheimer's.

Mary Guterson

A discontented woman (married, with a teenage son, and fast approaching middle age) who dallies in her past--with startling, humorous, and bittersweet consequences.

Elizabeth Berg
Estranged from her mother and her sister for thirty-five years after a series of dramatic events, Ginny Young arrives at a reunion that reveals the family she thought she knew