Shelf Life Blog

11/25/2016 - 2:33am
If you like the TV series Westworld

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.

Westworld, is a science fiction thriller that premiered on October 2nd, 2016. The series, created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, is inspired by the 1973 film of the same title written by Michael Crichton about a futuristic theme park populated by artificial beings. Nolan and Joy serve as executive producers along with J. J. Abrams, Jerry Weintraub and Bryan Burk. The first season consists of ten episodes.

The program takes place in fictional Westworld, a technologically advanced, Western-themed amusement park populated completely by synthetic androids dubbed "hosts". Westworld caters to high-paying visitors dubbed "newcomers" (or just "guests"), who can do whatever they wish within the park, without fear of retaliation from the hosts. (Wikipedia)

Once you've finished Westworld on December 2nd, here are a few fiction books involving technology, the Old West, robots, and dangerous adventures.

Anything Goes by Richard S. Wheeler
The cowboys, gold miners, outlaws, gunmen, prostitutes, and marshals who populate the Wild West never see much big-city entertainment. Most towns are too wild and rowdy for entertainers to enter, let alone perform in. All that is about to change. August Beausoleil and his colleague, Charles Pomerantz, have taken the Beausoleil Brothers Follies to the remote mining towns of Montana, far from the powerful impresarios who own the talent and control the theaters on the big vaudeville circuits. Their cast includes a collection of has-beens and second-tier performers: Mary Mabel Markey, the shopworn singer now a little out of breath; Wayne Windsor, "The Profile," who favors his audiences with just one side of his face while needling them with acerbic dialogue; Harry the Juggler, who went from tossing teacups to tossing scimitars; Mrs. McGivers and her capuchin monkey band; and the Wildroot Sisters, born to show business and managed by a stage mother who drives August mad. Though the towns are starved for entertainment, the Follies struggles to fill seats as the show grinds from town to town. Just when the company is desperate for fresh talent, a mysterious young woman astonishes everyone with her exquisite voice. The Wild West will never be the same. They've seen comics, gorgeous singers, and scimitar-tossing jugglers. Now if the troupers can only make it back East . . . alive! (catalog summary)
 

11/24/2016 - 2:32am
Cover to Molly’s Pilgrim by Barbara Cohen

It’s the early 20th century, and Molly and her family have moved to the small town of Winter Hill from New York City. In the city, there were many immigrants like themselves, but, in Winter Hill, Molly is constantly teased by her classmates for the way she looks, talks, and dresses.

Everything is new to her, and some days are very hard. When the teacher gives the class an assignment to make a pilgrim doll from a clothespin, Molly’s mother helps her make it, but it doesn’t look like the others. The doll looks like a member of Molly’s family because Molly’s mother knows they are pilgrims, too. As Jews, they faced danger when they were no longer allowed to live peacefully in Russia because of their faith—much like the pilgrims leaving England for the New World.

11/23/2016 - 2:31am
The Magic of Gingerbread

Catherine Beddall’s words and photographs make The Magic of Gingerbread a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. While a classic house trimmed with favorite old-fashioned candies is a fine project, there are also designs for a birdhouse, an ice cream parlor, a toy chest, a robot, a garden cottage and more.

11/21/2016 - 2:30am
Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

In Fates and Furies, first you meet the couple, Lotto and Mathilde, on their beach honeymoon. They seem a golden couple, but then the story unfolds from Lotto’s perspective in “Fates” and then Mathilde’s side in part two, “Furies.” Both characters are seriously flawed. This portrait of a marriage is like a Greek or Shakespearean tragedy. Lauren Groff even includes a Greek chorus by commenting about the characters within brackets.

The novel is full of strong and powerful women who take the threads of their lives and others’ into their own hands. How much does fate affect our destinies? How much do the female spirits of vengeance and justice, the angry ones, the Furies, change our paths?

11/18/2016 - 2:27am
If you like Short Stories (for Teens)

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 few selections on short stories for teens (multiple genres):

The Anatomy of Curiosity
In an unassuming corner of Brooklyn, a young woman learns to be ladylike, to love context, and to speak her mind from a very curious sort of tutor. In a faraway land convulsed by war, a young soldier hears the desert's curious hum as he disarms bombs with the person he doesn't know how to love. In a place so shriveled by drought that any drowning is a curiosity, a young writer tries again and again to tread water beneath the surface of a vast and unusual sea. Three new stories complete with commentary on the creative process from three acclaimed young adult authors working at the height of their powers. (catalog summary)


 

The Chronicles of Harris Burdick: Fourteen Amazing Authors Tell The Tales
A collection of stories based on illustrations in Chris Van Allsburg's The Mysteries of Harris Burdick. (catalog summary)

 


 




The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories

An anthology of darkly paranormal stories, with comments by the authors on their writing process. (catalog summary)

 


 

11/17/2016 - 2:27am
Cover to Before Morning

There are very few words in Joyce Sidman’s and Beth Krommes’ Before Morning, but more aren’t really needed. The story is simple, and the pictures work with the carefully chosen words to give all the emotional details about what is going on. A girl is sad one evening at bedtime because her mother, an airline pilot, is leaving very soon for work. While the rest of the family sleeps, a heavy snow blankets the town, making it so the planes are grounded. Mom comes home, and the family has a wonderful snow day together.

It is an uncomplicated plot, but there is much more to the story. The textured shapes of the scratchboard illustrations give a feeling of closeness and interconnectivity in each illustration. Before the snow, the people on the city sidewalks and on the streets in cars and on bikes are busy-busy. After the snowfall, everyone, including the squirrels in the trees, has slowed down and become playful as a holiday feeling settles over all.

11/16/2016 - 2:26am
Manitou Canyon: A Novel by William Kent Krueger

"April is the cruelest month, breeding. Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing." - T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land 

11/15/2016 - 2:25am
Soup Cleanse Cookbook: Embrace a Better Body and a Healthier You With the Weekly Soup Plan

A soup cleanse is a modern alternative for expelling antioxidants from your body. In Nicole Centeno’s Soup Cleanse Cookbook: Embrace a Better Body and a Healthier You With the Weekly Soup Plan, you can establish a meal plan yourself with delicious and nutritious soup recipes that are all plant-based.

11/14/2016 - 9:05am
The Dark Horse by Marcus Sedgwick

When Horn's war party found the girl, she was hidden in the corner of the cave, undressed, and past comforting by the wolves who raised her. They had been slaughtered by the Lawspeaker's band or else run off, howling their rage and loneliness. A foundling, surely, filthy, perhaps seven or eight summers old. Horn, the Lawspeaker, growled that she should not join the Storn tribe. A worthless child . . . another mouth to feed in starving times.

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