Shelf Life Blog

12/08/2014 - 11:43am
Blackbird: A Childhood Lost and Found by Jennifer Lauck

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.

Blackbird: A Childhood Lost and Found by Jennifer Lauck: "Lauck's heartbreaking and inspiring memoir...tells how an ordinary child growing up under the blue skies of Carson City, Nevada, in the early 1970s lost her childhood after her world became unhinged by family tragedy." (Book Summary)

If you enjoyed this book for the author's engaging writing, you may enjoy these titles:
 

Change Me Into Zeus's Daughter by Barbara Robinette Moss

"With an unflinching voice, Barbara Robinette Moss chronicles her family's chaotic, impoverished survival in the red-clay hills of Alabama. A wild-eyed, alcoholic father and a humble, heroic mother along with a shanty full of rambunctious brothers and sisters fill her life to the brim with stories that are gripping, tender, and funny." (Amazon.com)

 

Driving with Dead People: A Memoir by Monica Holloway

"Holloway's candid story starts out innocently enough as she describes her eccentric family, especially her father, who loved "talking gore" and kept a movie camera in his pick-up for filming gruesome wrecks. Monica, too, has an obsession with death, and revels in her friendship with a mortician's daughter and their access to postmortems. When Monica reaches her teen years, her parents divorce. Her mother then decides it's "her turn," and she goes back to college, often leaving Monica and her next oldest sister alone. Holloway perceptively writes about hurtful moments embedded in her memory, such as her parents repeatedly telling her that her birth was a "mistake," and her mother's selfish refusal to pay for treatment for a kidney infection. The final piece of this dysfunctional family's puzzle falls into place when the oldest sister begins to remember being molested by their father; so, too, does Monica. Amidst a burgeoning number of abuse memoirs, Holloway's shines because of her deft handling of the small details while painstakingly assembling the larger picture." (Booklist)

12/08/2014 - 3:48pm
To Dare Mighty Things: The Life of Theodore Roosevelt by Doreen Rappaport

To Dare Mighty Things, by Doreen Rappaport, brings Theodore Roosevelt to rough-riding, "Bully!"-shouting life, showing what made America's 26th president such a captivating figure.

12/08/2014 - 4:23pm
The Beats: A Graphic History by Harvey Pekar and Ed Piskor

“...the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.” - Jack Kerouac's On the Road 

The Beats: A Graphic History tackles the generation of post-World War II writers who revealed an untold side of America while pushing censors' boundaries with their writing style.

12/02/2014 - 11:31am
Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man by Fannie Flagg

With a mother who tries to be prim and proper and a daddy who dreams big but has sorrowful, often hilarious runs of bad luck trying to make his way in the world, young Daisy Fay—with a chipped front tooth, brave heart, and clever mind—finds the 1950s a spectacularly exciting time to come of age. As in her other best-selling novel, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café, Fannie Flagg’s Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man overlays its sometimes somber situations with such absurdities as to have readers laughing out loud.

12/10/2014 - 2:10pm
King Dork Approximately by Frank Portman

Tom Henderson is back for a new semester at a new school in King Dork Approximately. In the previous book, his father's encoded copy of Catcher in the Rye inadvertently led to a takedown of Hillmont High's creepy principal and earned Tom a severe head injury in the process. 

12/09/2014 - 1:57pm
The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak

The Book With No Pictures might sound boring to children. I mean, no pictures means no fun, right? Balderdash! B.J. Novak's first children's book may lack illustrations, but it makes up for it by being one of the silliest read-alouds ever.

11/26/2014 - 8:12am
The Girl Next Door by Ruth Rendell

Looking for a mystery with great characters and a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat? Read The Girl Next Door, by Ruth Rendell.

Six decades after World War II, construction workers uncover a tin box containing two skeletal hands. The ensuing police investigation leads to the reunion of six friends who decades before had lived and played in the neighborhood where the hands were found. Old friends will reunite, a marriage will break up, and a past crime will be solved.

11/25/2014 - 8:54am
This House of Sky: Landscapes of a Western Mind by Ivan Doig

Ivan Doig’s This House of Sky is a memoir set in the rugged, sheep-raising terrain of Montana. It was a time when the last of the small-town ranchers were on their way out, pushed along by the Great Depression and rich men buying up failed farms to add to their own.

The author’s people were not of the rich kind. They were scrappy, immigrant stock. Ivan’s grandfather came with family from Scotland. They ran sheep til their luck ran out. Then they worked for the big ranchers.  Ivan’s father was a little guy, but he broke broncos—sometimes breaking his own bones doing it -- rode herd on sheep, bossed the other hands, and fell in love with a 16-year-old girl.

12/10/2014 - 3:33pm
Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant by Tony Cliff

Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant chronicles the adventures of a swashbuckling heroine and her new recruit. Our leading lady has traveled the world, mastered multiple fighting styles, and is deadlier than a dozen trained swordsmen combined. How she ended up chained in a Sultan's dungeon is anyone's guess, but you can be sure that she does not stay there very long.

12/10/2014 - 1:23pm
The Garden of Evening Mists by Twan Eng Tan

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 Garden of Evening Mists by Twan Eng Tan: "After having endured the miseries of a Japanese internment camp during WWII, 28-year-old Yun Ling Teoh makes her way in 1951 to the only Japanese garden in her native Malaya in a bid to convince its caretaker, Nakamura Aritomo, the former gardener for the Emperor of Japan, to establish a commemorative plot for her sister who died in the camp." (Library Journal Review)

If you liked The Garden of Evening Mists, you may also like these books:

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
A young boy in New York City, Theo Decker, miraculously survives an accident that takes the life of his mother. Alone and abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by a friend's family and struggles to make sense of his new life. In the years that follow, he becomes entranced by one of the few things that reminds him of his mother: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the art underworld. (catalog description)

 

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
Wang Lang, a simple peasant farmer, takes as a wife a battered slave girl who becomes an indomitable, loyal woman. Working the land together, they prosper and increase their holdings, yet Wang eventually betrays his family and neglects the earth he had worshipped. (catalog description)

 

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