Shelf Life

Our Shelf Life Blog features the latest recommendations chosen by library staff and volunteers.
Wed, 09/28/2016 - 12:28am
Cover to The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs by Tristan Gooley

Use Outdoor Clues to Find Your Way • Predict the Weather • Locate Water • Track Animals—and Other Forgotten Skills

Tristan Gooley, the only living person to have both flown and sailed solo across the Atlantic, has set down a fascinating, discursive discussion of the many ways a person might learn to find his way in the wild.

Tue, 09/27/2016 - 12:27am
Cover to Journeys Home

Actor and travel writer Andrew McCarthy eventually discovered his family roots in Ireland and added on more family besides when he wed a Dublin girl.

His several-page story of a reunion across generations is part of Journeys Home, a collection of more than two dozen tales of seekers who found out more about themselves by finding where they came from: Cuba, Africa (and then to Virginia), Peru, Prague, India, Taiwan, and England, among others. Journeys Home is replete with glorious photographs, old and new, that are typical of the quality a reader would expect from its publisher, National Geographic.

Mon, 09/26/2016 - 12:26am
Tales of the Peculiar by Ransom Riggs

When sixteen year-old Jacob Portman stumbles upon the deserted island and crumbling mansion in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, he never expected that he would become so involved with the island’s strange and interesting young inhabitants.

Mon, 09/26/2016 - 7:46am
If you like Looking for Alaska by John Green

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 other book matches here.

Looking for Alaska by John Green
Sixteen-year-old Miles' first year at Culver Creek Preparatory School in Alabama includes good friends and great pranks, but is defined by the search for answers about life and death after a fatal car crash. (catalog summary)

If you like John Green's style of writing, check out these other titles similar to his works.

The Absolutely True Diary of A Part-time Indian
by Sherman Alexie
Budding cartoonist Junior leaves his troubled school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white farm town school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. (catalog summary)




All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Told in alternating voices, when Theodore Finch and Violet Markey meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school--both teetering on the edge--it's the beginning of an unlikely relationship, a journey to discover the "natural wonders" of the state of Indiana, and two teens' desperate desire to heal and save one another. (catalog summary)



Thu, 09/22/2016 - 12:24am
Cover to Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn

Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn, by Kenard Pak, is a gentle read-aloud that follows a girl walking through the forests and fields and town of a changing world.

“Hello, thunder.”

“Hello! You can hear my low rumble from far away.

My clouds loom over the open fields and quiet hills.”

Wed, 09/21/2016 - 12:23am
Cover to Mountains of the Heart: A Natural History of the Appalachians

Nature programs on TV can only go into so much detail about the fascinating history that underlies our beautiful world. After all, there are commercial breaks to consider and trying to produce a show for the most casual channel surfer. So viewers come away with an idea of what a place looks like—and maybe a few facts about it—but for the truly curious, there is a dearth of content.

Mountains of the Heart: A Natural History of the Appalachians, by Scott Weidensaul, has been a go-to classic for around 20 years. Written in a casual and fascinating yet scientifically accurate way, the narrative draws in readers who do not want to crack academic tomes on the subject but who do wish to learn more about the region’s alpine tundra and the still-living remnants of mighty chestnut trees.