Shelf Life

Our Shelf Life Blog features the latest recommendations chosen by library staff and volunteers.
Thu, 11/24/2016 - 2:32am
Cover to Molly’s Pilgrim by Barbara Cohen

It’s the early 20th century, and Molly and her family have moved to the small town of Winter Hill from New York City. In the city, there were many immigrants like themselves, but, in Winter Hill, Molly is constantly teased by her classmates for the way she looks, talks, and dresses.

Everything is new to her, and some days are very hard. When the teacher gives the class an assignment to make a pilgrim doll from a clothespin, Molly’s mother helps her make it, but it doesn’t look like the others. The doll looks like a member of Molly’s family because Molly’s mother knows they are pilgrims, too. As Jews, they faced danger when they were no longer allowed to live peacefully in Russia because of their faith—much like the pilgrims leaving England for the New World.

Wed, 11/23/2016 - 2:31am
The Magic of Gingerbread

Catherine Beddall’s words and photographs make The Magic of Gingerbread a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. While a classic house trimmed with favorite old-fashioned candies is a fine project, there are also designs for a birdhouse, an ice cream parlor, a toy chest, a robot, a garden cottage and more.

Mon, 11/21/2016 - 2:30am
Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

In Fates and Furies, first you meet the couple, Lotto and Mathilde, on their beach honeymoon. They seem a golden couple, but then the story unfolds from Lotto’s perspective in “Fates” and then Mathilde’s side in part two, “Furies.” Both characters are seriously flawed. This portrait of a marriage is like a Greek or Shakespearean tragedy. Lauren Groff even includes a Greek chorus by commenting about the characters within brackets.

The novel is full of strong and powerful women who take the threads of their lives and others’ into their own hands. How much does fate affect our destinies? How much do the female spirits of vengeance and justice, the angry ones, the Furies, change our paths?

Fri, 11/18/2016 - 2:27am
If you like Short Stories (for Teens)

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.

A few selections on short stories for teens (multiple genres):

The Anatomy of Curiosity
In an unassuming corner of Brooklyn, a young woman learns to be ladylike, to love context, and to speak her mind from a very curious sort of tutor. In a faraway land convulsed by war, a young soldier hears the desert's curious hum as he disarms bombs with the person he doesn't know how to love. In a place so shriveled by drought that any drowning is a curiosity, a young writer tries again and again to tread water beneath the surface of a vast and unusual sea. Three new stories complete with commentary on the creative process from three acclaimed young adult authors working at the height of their powers. (catalog summary)


 

The Chronicles of Harris Burdick: Fourteen Amazing Authors Tell The Tales
A collection of stories based on illustrations in Chris Van Allsburg's The Mysteries of Harris Burdick. (catalog summary)

 


 




The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories

An anthology of darkly paranormal stories, with comments by the authors on their writing process. (catalog summary)

 


 

Thu, 11/17/2016 - 2:27am
Cover to Before Morning

There are very few words in Joyce Sidman’s and Beth Krommes’ Before Morning, but more aren’t really needed. The story is simple, and the pictures work with the carefully chosen words to give all the emotional details about what is going on. A girl is sad one evening at bedtime because her mother, an airline pilot, is leaving very soon for work. While the rest of the family sleeps, a heavy snow blankets the town, making it so the planes are grounded. Mom comes home, and the family has a wonderful snow day together.

It is an uncomplicated plot, but there is much more to the story. The textured shapes of the scratchboard illustrations give a feeling of closeness and interconnectivity in each illustration. Before the snow, the people on the city sidewalks and on the streets in cars and on bikes are busy-busy. After the snowfall, everyone, including the squirrels in the trees, has slowed down and become playful as a holiday feeling settles over all.

Pages