Shelf Life

Our Shelf Life Blog features the latest recommendations chosen by library staff and volunteers.
Thu, 02/09/2017 - 12:31am
Cover to A Spy Called James: The True Story of James Lafayette, Revolutionary War Double Agent

James was a slave in Virginia when the American Revolution began. Wanting to earn his freedom while helping the new country, he volunteered for the Revolutionary Army, with the promise of his freedom at the war’s end—if the Americans were victorious.

He was assigned to work for the young and brilliant French commander who was helping George Washington, the Marquis de Lafayette. Lafayette had a special job for James. He wanted him to become a spy. James agreed and appeared at a British camp in tattered clothes, asking for work. The British, discovering how clever James was, asked him to spy for them!

Wed, 02/08/2017 - 12:30am
Cover to My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier

The haunted newlyweds in Rebecca. The vile and violent act of nature unleashed in The Birds. Deadly family secrets at the Jamaica Inn. British novelist Daphne Du Maurier was the queen of romantic suspense. She knew perfectly well how to portray a broken person who felt helpless in a desperate situation—someone who might have had a happy life were it not for the encroachment of nightmarish scenarios created by the wicked. Every so often, a movie director will rediscover her work and bring a tale of inner torment to the screen. In July 2017, Du Maurier’s My Cousin Rachel will enter theaters once more.

Tue, 02/07/2017 - 8:20am
Wax by Gina Damico

Poppy Palladino is a 17-year-old aspiring actress. As the head of her high school's theatrical, Poppy is ambitious and serious about her future. So ambitious she takes on challenge of a talent show to show off her skills. But tragedy strikes Poppy's perfect life when she falls on stage and splits her head open. It wouldn't have been too embarrassing if it wasn't on national television.

Mon, 02/06/2017 - 12:28am
The Body in the Woods by April Henry

If you stumbled across a body in the woods, would you be horrified like Alexis, electrified like Ruby, or panicked like Nick?

In April Henry’s The Body in the Woods, high school students Alexis, Ruby, and Nick’s first official Search and Rescue (SAR) for the Portland County Sheriff’s Office did not go as planned, to say the least. They were assigned to find an autistic man in Forest Park, but found a young woman’s body instead. Realizing that she was very recently murdered, the three students reached the conclusion that one of the many park visitors they conversed with on the trail could be the killer.

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 4:01pm
If you like The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

This readalike is in response to a customer's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids. You can browse the book matches here.

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

“We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories.” ― Offred, The Handmaid's Tale

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, serving in the household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife. She may go out once a day to markets whose signs are now pictures because women are not allowed to read. She must pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, for in a time of declining birthrates her value lies in her fertility, and failure means exile to the dangerously polluted Colonies. Offred can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost even her own name. Now she navigates the intimate secrets of those who control her every move, risking her life in breaking the rules. (catalog summary)

The Handmaid's Tale is an upcoming American television series based on the book. It has been ordered by streaming service Hulu with a straight-to-series order, with the production beginning in late 2016. Atwood will serve as consulting producer.¹ Elisabeth Moss will star in the series, along with Joseph Fiennes, Alexis Bledel, and Madeline Brewer. It will premiere on April 26, 2017. There has been two movies based on Atwood's book: 1990's The Handmaid's Tale, and 2016's The Handmaiden. See the first trailer below book suggestions.
 


If you enjoyed the dystopian themes of this novel and would be interested in similar works, here are some other titles you may enjoy:
 

1984
1984
by George Orwell
Written in 1948, 1984 was George Orwell's chilling prophecy about the future. And while 1984 has come and gone, Orwell's narrative is more timely that ever. 1984 presents a "negative utopia," that is at once a startling and haunting vision of the world—so powerful that it is completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the power of this novel, its hold on the imaginations of entire generations of readers, or the resiliency of its admonitions--a legacy that seems to grow, not lessen, with the passage of time. (catalog summary)

 

 


Thu, 02/02/2017 - 12:25am
Cover to I Lay My Stitches Down: Poems of American Slavery

Poems by Cynthia Grady with illustrations by Michele Wood

Cynthia Grady and illustrator Michele Wood have crafted a book to share with children where each poem, together with its picture, is a thoughtful illumination of some aspect of slaves’ experiences.

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