Shelf Life

Our Shelf Life Blog features the latest recommendations chosen by library staff and volunteers.
06/08/2011 - 2:23pm
An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro

In An Artist of the Floating World, Kazuo Ishiguro gracefully explores the experiences and memories of a disgraced artist living in post-war Japan. The novel is seductive and haunting, but I was also impressed by its substance and depth.

Mansuji Ono, the novel’s protagonist, was once a great artist whose paintings commanded respect throughout Japan. Following the end of World War II, however, Ono experiences a surreal displacement. From Ono’s perspective, the former order he was a part of has not only been abandoned, it has been rejected and renounced as the epitome of disaster. Instead of enjoying the power and prestige that accompanied his former reputation, Ono finds himself adrift, an aging man who wanders through a crumbling house, where all traces of his past life have been “tidied away.”

06/07/2011 - 3:31am
Swing, by Rupert Holmes

Rupert Holmes’ Swing has more than a touch of noir—and its own soundtrack. Set in San Francisco in 1940, vagabond jazz musician Ray Sherwood has been made a very interesting proposition. A beautiful, young Berkley music student wants him in a most peculiar way. She’s won an international contest for composers, and her piece needs to premiere at the Golden Gate Exposition in just a few weeks. What she needs from Ray are his talents to orchestrate her music for many instruments. Ray is enchanted by Gail’s breezy joie de vivre and her snappy patter even as his own troubled past makes him hesitate. But the tenor veers from sweet romance to dangerous liaison when a lovely woman plunges to her death mere feet from the happy couple, changing this composition’s theme from serenade to police siren.

07/06/2011 - 10:23am
Trash by Andy Mulligan

Raphael is fourteen years old and living in an unnamed, third-world country in Andy Mulligan's book, Trash.  He and his friend Gardo spend most of their days picking through the huge trash pile looking for everyday items and food.   Raphael and Gardo know that when the trash is dumped from the wealthy part of town they will have a heyday.  Most of the children in Raphael's village drop out of school to spend their day sifting through the trash to help support their families.  Families see school as a waste of time when their children could be helping out in a more productive manner with the trash picking.

06/03/2011 - 3:31am
Lies That Chelsea Handler Told Me

This readalike is in response to a patron'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.

Lies That Chelsea Handler Told Me: "The friends, family, and co-workers of the late-night talk show host on the E! network describe how they have all been tricked by her into believing tales of utter nonsense and behaving like total fools."

If you liked that book, you may also like these titles and authors.

The Bedwetter by Sarah Silverman.
Comedian Silverman's memoir that mixes showbiz moments with the more serious subject of her teenage bout with depression as well as stories of her childhood and adolescence. (Catalog summary)

 


 

Bossypants by Tina Fey.
From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon, comedian Tina Fey reveals all, and proves that you're no one until someone calls you bossy.
(Catalog summary)

 

06/02/2011 - 3:31am
Oh No! (Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World)

A bright young girl runs through the chaos of demolished streets. Plumes of black smoke rise from the rubbled buildings. No one else is in sight. Oh No! (Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World) is a life lesson that everyone should receive: always take responsibility for your actions, particularly when they involve a ginormous hulking robot with the power to crush cars and shoot lasers every which way.
 
Usually when my school science projects went wrong, it was more of a mild disappointment than anything else. My baking-soda-and-vinegar volcano did not erupt. I received a C- instead of an B+. These are minor hiccups when compared to our main character’s situation. Oh No! allows us to think about our own mistakes and say, “Well, it could have been worse…much, much worse.”
06/01/2011 - 9:13am
Pop, by Gordon Korman

Marcus, the new kid in town, wants to tryout for the undefeated high school football team in Pop, by Gordon Korman. While training by himself at a local park, he meets Charlie, a massive 50-something-year-old man with powerful football skills that he shares with Marcus. Estranged from the teammates who don’t want to accept an outsider, Marcus’s growing friendship with Charlie gives him a sense of belonging. But Marcus also begins to see that something about Charlie isn’t quite right. For an old guy, he’s a charismatic prankster who acts like a big kid, can’t remember Marcus’s name and runs away at the first sign of trouble. Then Marcus discovers that Charlie is actually a former NFL linebacker known as “The King of Pop.”