Shelf Life

Our Shelf Life Blog features the latest recommendations chosen by library staff and volunteers.
Thu, 10/06/2011 - 03:30
When Clay Sings by Byrd Baylor, illustrated by Tom Bahti

They say
That every piece
Of clay
Is a piece of
Someone’s
Life.

In faraway times, the artisans of the Southwest peoples smoothed the clay they collected. They painted it with their symbols and heated it to make it strong. When these tribes left their homes, pieces of their past remained behind. When the shards are gathered together, the pictures they make seem to summon the spirits of the people who created them so long ago. When Clay Sings, by Byrd Baylor and illustrated by Tom Bahti, is a melding of archaeology and word craft that brings a unique and subtle sense of the past to today’s students.

Wed, 10/05/2011 - 03:31
Doc by Mary Doria Russell

Nothing came easy to John Henry “Doc” Holliday, not even his birth. Born with a cleft lip and palate, his odds for survival in 1851 were slim, and would have been slimmer still without the intervention of his amazing mother, Alice Holliday. Alice devoted herself to John Henry's care around the clock, feeding him with an eyedropper for eight weeks. His uncle, a noted surgeon, then repaired the cleft palate in an astounding surgery that the family kept secret to protect “family honor.” John Henry overcame his speech impediments with this mother’s therapy techniques and became proficient in the piano and several classical languages.

Tragically, Alice died a slow, agonizing death from tuberculosis when John Henry was 15 years old. John Henry also contracted tuberculosis as a young man and therefore knew exactly what kind of death was eventually promised him. Newly graduated as a Doctor of Dental Surgery, John Henry left Georgia and headed west in search of a dry climate where he could more successfully battle the disease slowly eating away at his lungs.  He ended up in Dodge City, Kansas, a wild frontier town, teetering eternally between chaos and burgeoning civility, and the main setting for Mary Doria Russell's new novel, Doc.

Tue, 10/04/2011 - 09:19
Long Gone by Alafair Burke

Alice Humphrey--daughter of a world famous film director and his movie star wife--has been unemployed for months yet refuses to ask her wealthy parents for help. When the ideal job as manager of a new NYC art gallery falls into her lap, Alice leaps at the opportunity…without considering the legitimacy of the offer. In Long Gone, by Alafair Burke, Alice has no clue her hasty decision will lead to a murder…or that she will be the main suspect!

At the opening of a new art exhibit, Alice meets Drew Campbell. Over the course of their conversation, Drew mentions he has an anonymous investor ready to open a gallery. He asks if Alice might be interested in managing the project. The only caveat is that the premiere show must feature the work of the investor’s boyfriend. The art in question turns out to be a series of hackneyed photographs which, from Alice’s perspective, display zero artistic merit. But she remains undaunted and looks forward to molding future shows.

Wed, 10/05/2011 - 16:06
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

In Cassandra Clare’s novel City of Bones, Clary Fray is just an average girl living in New York city until she witnesses a boy getting murdered by three teenagers covered with intricate tattoos and carrying bizarre weapons. Clary wants to go to someone about the murder, but the body mysteriously disappears out of thin air and she is the only person who can see the strange teenagers. What Clary soon finds out is that these teenagers are Shadow Hunters, warriors whose job is to hunt down and kill demons, and to keep a watchful eye on the other creatures that go bump in the night. Soon events take a turn for the worst when Clary herself is attacked by a demon and her mother is kidnapped and placed into a magically induced coma.

Clary can’t understand why any of this is happening -- she is just a normal girl with an average life, and nothing strange had ever happened until she met the Shadow Hunters. But, what she soon finds out is that there are secrets about her past and events that have been wiped from her memory. Now, she needs the Shadow Hunters to remember her past and rescue her mother just as much as they strangely need her to defeat the malicious Valentine, a powerful Shadow Hunter who has turned against his own kind.

Fri, 09/30/2011 - 03:31
Shotgun Bride by Linda Lael Miller

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.

Shotgun Bride by Linda Lael Miller: "One ranch. Three sons. Only one will inherit...and on one condition. Tired of waiting for his sons to settle down, Arizona-territory rancher Angus McKettrick announces a competition: the first son to marry and produce a grandchild will inherit Triple M ranch. Now, three distinctly different, equally determined cowboys are searching high and low for brides. Kade McKettrick’s got five mail-order brides-to-be camped out at the local hotel, all more than eager to provide him with the heir that will win him the Triple M ranch. But Kade, the newly appointed marshal, has his hands full with a troublesome outlaw gang. Why, then, is he so easily distracted by pretty “Sister Mandy”--who most assuredly is not the nun she claims to be?" (Book description)

If you like Shotgun Bride by Linda Lael Miller, you may also like these titles and authors:

Larkspur by Dorothy Garlock.
Kristin Anderson, a 23-year-old "spinster", heads for Montana to take possession of Larkspur, the ranch she has inherited. But she discovers that in order to keep the ranch, she must face many obstacles -- including gunslingers and landgrabbers. But these trials pale in comparison to the havoc the ranch foreman wreaks on Kristin's heart when together they fight for the land they both love.  (Catalog summary)

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry.
A love story and an epic of the frontier, Lonesome Dove is the grandest novel ever written about the last, defiant wilderness of America. Richly authentic, beautifully written, Lonesome Dove is a book to make readers laugh, weep, dream and remember.  (From the catalog summary)

 

 

Thu, 09/29/2011 - 03:31
Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright

“How glorious!”

Beginning-to-be-eleven-year-old Portia and her little brother Foster are excited to be visiting their relatives in the countryside for the summer in Elizabeth Enright’s Gone-Away Lake. Besides seeing their favorite aunt and uncle, there is Katy the boxer dog who has just had a litter of puppies “with flat faces like pansies, and ears that felt like pieces of silk, and claws like the tips of knitting needles”—but best of all for Portia is having time to hang out with her cousin Julian, he of the hundred-thousand freckles. Closer than a friend and nicer than a brother is how she thinks of him. Julian is interesting and interested in everything that goes on around him.

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