Shelf Life Blog

On a Beam of Light by Jennifer Berne and Illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky

On a Beam of Light by Jennifer Berne and Illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky

On a Beam of Light starts with a little boy who barely talked as a child, who got in trouble at school, and who was told he would never amount to anything. That boy was named Albert Einstein.

How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous by Georgia Bragg and Kevin O'Malley

How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous by Georgia Bragg

How They Croaked begins with a clear warning: "If you don't have the guts for gore, DO NOT READ THIS BOOK." They are not kidding.

American icon Billy Joel once sang, "Only the good die young," but before modern medicine, almost everyone died young. The only difference was whether it was quick or slow and gruesome. Infections, malaria, gout, and tuberculosis were pretty common ways to go. King Tut, Christopher Columbus, Pocahontas, and Edgar Allan Poe were victims of such illnesses.

If you like A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

If you like A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
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 Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving: "Owen Meany, the only child of a New Hampshire granite quarrier, believes he is God's instrument. He is. This is John Irving's most comic novel; yet Owen Meany is Mr. Irving's most heartbreaking character." (Book description)
 
If you enjoyed this novel, here are some other titles you may enjoy:
 
The Brothers K by David James Duncan
Story of the Chance family living in the Pacific Northwest in the early '60s embattled over the ideals represented by baseball and religion. (worldcat.org)
 
 
 
 
Fifth Business by Robertson Davies
Ramsay is a man twice born, a man who has returned from the hell of the battle-grave at Passchendaele in World War I decorated with the Victoria Cross, and destined to be caught in a no-man's-land where memory, history, and myth collide. As Ramsay tells his story, it begins to seem that from boyhood he has exerted a perhaps mystical, perhaps pernicious influence on those around him. 
 

Dream Animals: A Bedtime Journey by Emily Winfield Martin

Dream Animals: A Bedtime Journey by Emily Winfield Martin

Sometimes a quiet, imaginative book is what’s best before bedtime, and Emily Winfield Martin’s Dream Animals answers that need. Gentle pictures show small children making their way to their dream destinations on the backs of robins, a tiger, a fox, and even a narwhale. Where do the dreamers go? One to an elfin hollow, some high in the sky, another beneath the Seven Seas and one as far away as the moon and the stars themselves.

Calling Dr. Laura by Nicole J. Georges

Calling Dr. Laura by Nicole J. Georges

When a palm reader told Nicole J. Georges that her long-deceased father was very much alive, Nicole's first thought was, "Who does she think she is?" But the psychic was definitely onto something, and Calling Dr. Laura started to take shape.

The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World’s Greatest Piece of Cheese by Michael Paterniti

The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World’s Greatest Pi

In Michael Paterniti’s The Telling Room, he first encounters Páramo de Guzman while working in a deli after graduate school in the early 1990s. At $22 a pound he wasn’t going to taste it, but he wanted to know its story.

Tales of the Madman Underground by John Barnes

Tales of the Madman Underground by John Barnes

Tales of the Madman Underground is not the feel-good read of this or any other year, and yet I am completely enchanted with its accuracy of teenage desperation. It fills me with hope to see how author John Barnes has so succinctly summed up the powerlessness and determination of youth.

This Belongs to Me: Cool Ways to Personalize Your Stuff by Anna Wray

This Belongs to Me: Cool Ways to Personalize Your Stuff by Anna Wray

This Belongs to Me is a DIY designer's dream, offering ideas and suggestions to transform your ordinary belongings into unique, personal reflections of you.

Using paints, pens, clay, and more, Anna Wray offers 14 different projects for you. From a barcode t-shirt to customized earbud headphones, Wray gives you the chance to use your imagination and make a statement with your clothes, accessories, and furniture.

You Don't Know Me But You Don't Like Me by Nathan Rabin

You Don't Know Me But You Don't Like Me by Nathan Rabin

You Don't Know Me But You Don't Like Me documents Nathan Rabin's journey into two vastly different but equally mocked musical fan bases. Phish and Insane Clown Posse are about as far away as you can get from each other in terms of sound, lyrics, and subject matter. The one thing that they do have in common is that their fans have very few qualms about conscious-altering substances.

That's how Rabin finds his ticket in. He's been going through some issues lately—actually he's been going through issues his whole life. Lower-class with a foster-home upbringing, Rabin managed to carve a niche for himself in Chicago writing for the A.V. Club, a cultural review publication that belongs to The Onion. Despite that success, it certainly cannot help to be diagnosed bipolar, which is exactly what happened to Rabin on his journey.

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

What I’m about to say will be blasphemy to many of you. I DIDN’T like…no, actually, I hated Elizabeth’s Gilbert best-selling book Eat, Pray, Love. BUT, before you vow to never again read one of my blog posts, let me quickly assure you that I wholeheartedly embrace her latest epic offering, The Signature of All Things.

Englishman Henry Whittaker was born into a dirt-poor family. By combining an innate entrepreneurial spirit with an equally impressive knowledge of botany, Whittaker succeeds in amassing an early fortune. He and his Dutch-born wife move to Philadelphia where they build an opulent estate, and Henry assumes a position as one of America’s richest men.