Shelf Life

Our Shelf Life Blog features the latest recommendations chosen by library staff and volunteers.
Tue, 04/18/2017 - 2:15am
River of Darkness by Rennie Airth

It takes a serious case to bring Scotland Yard detectives to the countryside, but, without doubt, that is what the local Bobbies have on their hands. Detective John Madden, a hollow-eyed veteran of the Great War, has a knack for discovering the truth behind baffling crimes, even if his manner leaves some of the more politically savvy officers cold. In the case of the violent murder of a fine, upstanding family, the horrors presented are disconcertingly familiar to him, even if they do not match their otherwise bucolic village setting.

The mystery behind Rennie Airth’s River of Darkness unfolds in a time when class distinctions were still very real, but the 1920s was also a period of greater freedom, when some women, such as the village’s lovely Dr. Helen Blackwell, might discover other outlets for their interests and passions. All the while, men who had survived the war might not survive the battles that raged in their minds. Psychiatry was still in its infancy, and fingerprints, as well as casts of footprints and tire tracks, were the common limits of scientific investigation. The rest was up to logic, hard experience, curiosity, and intuition.

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 9:49am
Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

“It was June and long past time for buying the special shoes that were quiet as summer rain falling on the walks. June and the earth full of raw power and everything everywhere in motion.  The grass was still pouring in from the country, surrounding the sides, stranding the houses.  Any moment the town would capsize, go down and leave not a stir in the clover and weeds.  And here Douglas stood, trapped on dead cement and red-brick streets, hardly able to move.”

The opening piece in Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine finds Doug Spaulding at the start of his twelfth summer, yearning for a pair of running shoes that will let him be a part of the glorious season. Like the dandelion wine bottled and stored in his grandparents’ cellar, the memories of that long-ago summer are preserved to be savored by his readers.

Mon, 04/17/2017 - 9:38am
If you like the Lost City of Z by David Grann

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 Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann
In 1925, the legendary British explorer Percy Fawcett ventured into the Amazon jungle, in search of a fabled civilization. He never returned. Over the years countless people perished trying to find evidence of his party and the place he called "The Lost City of Z." In this masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, journalist David Grann interweaves the spellbinding stories of Fawcett's quest for "Z" and his own journey into the deadly jungle, as he unravels the greatest exploration mystery of the twentieth century. (catalog summary)

The Lost City of Z is a 2016 American action adventure biographical film written and directed by James Gray. It stars Charlie Hunnam as Fawcett, along with Robert Pattinson as his fellow explorer Henry Costin, and Sienna Miller as his wife Nina Fawcett. The film had its world premiere as closing night film on October 15, 2016, at the New York Film Festival. The film is scheduled to be released in the United States on April 14, 2017. See the offical trailer for The Lost City of Z, below the book recomendations. 
 

If you like The Lost City of Z, check out these other adventure titles.
 

The Creature in the Map: A Journey to El Dorado by Charles Nicholl
The Creature in the Map: A Journey to El Dorado by Charles Nicholl

The first quest was Sir Walter Raleigh's futile search for the legendary city of El Dorado in the Venezuelan highlands in 1595; the second is the author's research and on-site investigations into the often murky particulars of Raleigh's expeditions. In 1595 Raleigh's fortunes were on the wane. His efforts at colonizing Virginia had failed, he had lost favor at the English court, and his finances had declined. Thus his search for the city takes on the stench of frenzied, cockeyed desperation. Comparisons are made with the ill-fated, half-mad efforts of Spanish explorer Aguirre, and they seem apt. (catalog summary)

 

Thu, 04/13/2017 - 2:12am
Not Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima

Kelp is a narwhal. At least, he thinks he is.

He can't swim as strongly as the other narwhals. He doesn't like the yucky seafood they like to eat. And his tusk is way too short! But his friends don't mind. 

Tue, 04/11/2017 - 2:10am
The Night Ocean by Paul LaFarge

Howard Phillips Lovecraft ("H.P.") is known as one of America's greatest horror writers. Writing terrifying epics such as The Call of Cthulhu and At the Mountains of Madness, he was Influenced by another horror great, Edgar Allan Poe. Lovecraft himself has influenced bestselling authors such as Stephen King, provided inspiration for modern-day novels (John Dies at the End) and movies (Re-Animator, The Evil Dead) as well as television shows. Lovecraft was also a hermit and a xenophobic, choosing to spend most of his life in his native Rhode Island. However, there were a few rumors circulated that Lovecraft took the occasional trip to see devoted fans.

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