Shelf Life

Our Shelf Life Blog features the latest recommendations chosen by library staff and volunteers.
Fri, 06/19/2015 - 5:09pm
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

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.

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden: "Presented as the memoirs of a celebrated Japanese geisha, Golden's first novel follows a poor youngster from her humble origins in a rural fishing village to her later years spent in luxurious surroundings in New York City's Waldorf-Astoria. In 1929, nine-year-old Sayuri is sold to an okiya in Kyoto by her desperate father, where she is slated to be trained as a geisha. The intensive courses require her to learn how to dance, play a musical instrument, gracefully wear the heavy, layered costumes, apply elaborate makeup, and, most especially, beguile powerful men. Initially stymied by the jealous, vindictive Hatsumomo, the okiya's top earner, Sayuri is eventually taken under the wing of one of Hatsumomo's chief rivals, Mameha. She proves to be such an astute businesswoman that her campaign to make Sayuri a success results in Sayuri's setting a new record when two wealthy men get into a bidding war over who will be the one to claim her virginity. "

If you like Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, you may likese these selections: 

Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn
Set in an imaginary, ancient Japanese society dominated by warring clans, Across the Nightingale Floor is a story of a boy who is suddenly plucked from his life in a remote and peaceful village to find himself a pawn in a political scheme, filled with treacherous warlords, rivalry-and the intensity of first love. This is the first in a trilogy.
 

The binding chair, or, A visit from the Foot Emancipation Society : a novel by Kathryn Harrison
In poised and elegant prose, Kathryn Harrison weaves a stunning story of women, travel, and flight; of love, revenge, and fear; of the search for home and the need to escape it. Set in alluring Shanghai at the turn of the century, The Binding Chair intertwines the destinies of a Chinese woman determined to forget her past and a Western girl focused on the promises of the future. (amazon.com)

 

Thu, 07/23/2015 - 12:37pm
Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads by Bob Shea and Lane Smith

Drywater Gulch is about to get gobsmacked by Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads. The Toad brothers are a lying, stealing, chili-insulting trio who have set their sights on the sleepy desert town. Thankfully, a hero is on his way...on the back of a tortoise.

Wed, 07/22/2015 - 12:19pm
The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani

Eduardo and Ciro watched their beautiful, bereft mother leave them behind, not looking back once. Surely, they were now orphans. Abandoned to be raised at a nunnery in the Italian Alps, they would grow into good if very different young men with only one hope—to see their mother again.

Tue, 06/16/2015 - 1:53am
The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian

Chip and Emily Linton decide to buy an old, mysterious Victorian house in the middle of White Mountain country, in upstate New Hampshire. The move isn’t exactly what they want—they would rather stay in the homey suburbs of Pennsylvania due to their two young, twin daughters, Garnett and Hailey.

However, Chip is the pilot who had no other choice but to try to land his 70-passenger 747 with double-engine failure on the crest of Lake Champlain. Unlike the famous “Miracle on the Hudson” event, Chip’s rescue plan does not go as he had planned. Thirty-nine passengers aboard died in the crash, including three children under the age of ten. Due to the massive trauma Chip has faced since that fateful August day, the Lintons decide to take their isolation elsewhere, starting afresh in the tiny mountain village.

Fri, 06/12/2015 - 3:11pm
If you like Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

 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 spellbinding epic set in twelfth-century England, The Pillars of the Earth tells the story of Philip, prior of Kingsbridge, a devout and resourceful monk driven to build the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has known... of Tom, the mason who becomes his architect-a man divided in his soul... of the beautiful, elusive Lady Aliena, haunted by a secret shame... and of a struggle between good and evil that will turn church against state, and brother against brother." (Book summary)
 
If you like Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, try these other historical-fiction tales of the medieval world.
 
Agincourt by Bernard Cornwell
"Vividly re-creating the pageantry and violence of the 1400s, Cornwell takes readers into the heart of the soldiering class in this intimate retelling of the Battle of Agincourt. With a brisk pace and a brilliant evocation of everyday life, he details the brutality of war and the lives of the men who fought." (Booklist Online)

 
"Irving Stone's classic biographical novel in which both the artist and the man are brought to life in full. A masterpiece in its own right, this novel offers a compelling portrait of Michelangelo's dangerous, impassioned loves, and the God-driven fury from which he wrested the greatest art the world has ever known." (From the publisher)
 
Wed, 07/22/2015 - 12:20pm
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Brooklyn is a tough place to grow up in the early part of the 20th century.  It’s made of immigrant families struggling to get by. Young Francie Nolan, half German and half Irish, adores her handsome father, the sometime singing waiter, and her more hard-minded mother who scrubs floors and does much to give her kids a better life. But, uneducated as her parents are, they have few choices and huge problems that a bright girl like Francie can certainly see.

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