Shelf Life Blog

03/20/2017 - 10:12am
Cover to Women Heroes of World War II, the Pacific Theater: 15 Stories of Resistance, Rescue, Sabotage, and Survival

For women caught in war zones, there are choices to be made. Try to get by as best you can, protecting your family if you have one, or throw in with the men defending your country, risking your own life. The 15 women whose stories are told in Women Heroes of World War II, the Pacific Theater all made difficult choices. Even so, as much as they were able, they resisted the invaders who overran their countries.

03/17/2017 - 1:53am
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

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.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
A curmudgeon hides a terrible personal loss beneath a cranky and short-tempered exterior while clashing with new neighbors, a boisterous family whose chattiness and habits lead to unexpected friendship. (catalog summary)
 

If you like A Man Called Ove, check out these other similar titles:
 

100 Days of Happiness
100 Days of Happiness by Fausto Brizzi

What would you do if you knew you only had 100 days left to live? So begins the last hundred days of Lucio's life, as he attempts to care for his family, win back his wife (the love of his life and afterlife), and spend the next three months enjoying every moment with a zest he hasn't felt in years. From helping his hopelessly romantic, widowed father-in-law find love, discovering comfort in enduring friendships, and finding new ones, Lucio becomes, at last, the man he's always meant to be. In 100 epigrammatic chapters, one for each of Lucio's remaining days on earth, it is as delicious as a hot doughnut and a morning cappuccino. (catalog summary)
 


An Available Man
An Available Man
by Hilma Wolitzer

When sixty-two-year-old science teacher Edward Schuyler is widowed, he finds himself ambushed by female attention. Edward receives phone calls from widows seeking love, or at least lunch, while well-meaning friends try to set him up at dinner parties. Even an attractive married neighbor offers herself to him. The problem is that Edward doesn't feel available. He's still mourning his beloved wife, Bee, and prefers solitude and the familiar routine of work, gardening, and bird-watching. But then his stepchildren surprise him by placing a personal ad in The New York Review of Books on his behalf. (catalog summary)
 


Britt-Marie Was Here

Britt-Marie Was Here
by Fredrik Backman

Britt-Marie is a socially awkward, fussy busybody who is used to being organized. When she walks out on her cheating husband and gets a job as caretaker of the dilapidated recreation center in Borg, she is woefully unprepared for the changes. But as she takes on the task of leading the supremely untalented children's soccer team to victory, she just might find a place she belongs. (catalog summary)

 

03/14/2017 - 1:50am
Cover to One-Dish Wonders

So, you want to make a substantial, memorable meal, but you don’t want to use every pot in the house or have to time multiple dishes to arrive at the table in good shape? Maybe what you need is a One-Dish Wonder. The very experienced editors at Southern Living (Oxmoor House) have gathered recipes that don’t require a lot of fuss, will work well at covered-dish suppers, and will satisfy a gathering of friends and/or family. Recipes range from breakfast to dinner to sides to desserts. Some are strictly from scratch, while others take advantage of time-saving, pre-packaged ingredients.

Savory pies really shine here, including Loaded Chicken-Bacon Pot Pie, Cheese-Crusted Pizza Pot Pies, and Vegetable Pot Pie with Parmesan-Black Pepper Biscuits.  And, of course, there are many dishes in traditional casserole form. Casseroles are great for the aforementioned covered-dish suppers, and they can also provide welcome sustenance for families and friends going through difficult times. Some that caught my eye: Chicken-Mushroom-Sage Casserole, Four-Cheese Macaroni, and Easy Lasagna.

03/13/2017 - 9:48am
Cover to Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley

Do you love the magic, romance, and wisdom of the traditional tale of Beauty and the Beast? Are you ready for something more than a Disney retelling? Award-winning fantasy author Robin McKinley’s Rose Daughter will grant your wish.

03/10/2017 - 9:24am
If you like The Shack by William Paul Young

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 Shack by William Paul Young
Mackenzie Allen Phillips' youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later in the midst of his Great Sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack's world forever. (catalog summary)

If you like The Shack, here are some other titles you may enjoy:
 


The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Combining magic, mysticism, wisdom and wonder, The Alchemist has become a modern classic, selling millions of copies around the world and transforming the lives of countless readers across generations. Paulo Coelho's masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined. Santiago's journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life's path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams. (catalog summary)
 

03/09/2017 - 12:48am
Pete the Cat: Five Little Ducks

Five little ducks went out to play, with one cool cat leading the way!

Pete the Cat has found some new friends. The five little ducks are quick to join Pete swimming, hopping, jumping, and swinging. But every time Pete goes to start the next fun activity, there's always one less duck! Will Pete be able to keep his duck friends around, or will they just keep disappearing?

Using the classic nursery rhyme, Five Little Ducks, James Dean brings yet another amazing Pete the Cat story to the table. Pete the Cat: Five Little Ducks helps your little one begin simple counting with a fun and catchy song, and, of course, one of their favorite characters. You can sing along with Pete and the ducks in this groovy and smooth version of the favorite song:

03/08/2017 - 12:47am
Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

Seventeen years ago, young Rose Franklin landed on a mysterious crater in South Dakota. Instead of falling to her death, Rose lands on a giant, glowing mechanical hand with ambiguous symbols and pictures carved in the metal.

03/07/2017 - 9:53am
11.22.63 (Hulu TV Show)

On a brilliant and beautiful autumn day, shortly after noon in downtown Dallas, Texas, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated by former U.S. Marine Lee Harvey Oswald. As the President's motorcade passed the Texas School Book Depository, gunshots reverberated across Dealey Plaza. JFK died less than an hour later from fatal gunshot wounds to the back of his head and neck. The following day, Oswald was arrested, then shot in the stomach and killed by Jack Ruby, a local nightclub owner and JFK fan. 

03/06/2017 - 8:25am
If you like Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

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.

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of A Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance
Vance, a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, provides an account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America's white working class. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm. J.D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck. Author of Hillbilly Elegy, J.A. Vance

The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.'s grandparents were "dirt poor and in love," and moved north from Kentucky's Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually their grandchild (the author) would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of their success in achieving generational upward mobility. But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that this is only the short, superficial version. Vance's grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother, struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, and were never able to fully escape the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. (catalog summary)



Are you either waiting or finished with Hillbilly Elegy? Check out these similar titles to Vance's epic biography.

 

​Allegheny Front: The Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction Selected by Lydia Millet, authored by Matthew Neill NullAllegheny Front: The Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction Selected by Lydia Millet, authored by Matthew Neill Null
The deceptively powerful stories in Null's first collection, after his debut novel Honey from the Lion, create a map not only of the geography of rural West Virginia but also of its people. These are characters inhabiting places largely ignored by the outside world. In "Mates," a man kills an endangered bald eagle on his land, believing himself to be above the law, and is then stalked and tormented by the eagle's mate. In "Gauley Season," a group of ex-miners turn to operating rafting companies after their mining jobs disappear, but the promising new industry quickly leads to tragedy. The rugged lives of a group of log drivers in the late 1800s are chronicled in "The Slow Lean of Time." In the astonishing "Telemetry," a young scientist's camp on Back Allegheny Mountain is visited by a local man and his daughter, their presence forcing the scientist to confront her relationship to her own origins, which becomes a recurring theme in the collection. Violence is inevitable in these stories-guns are almost always present, and they aren't just decoration-but there is plenty of beauty, too. Landscape is an essential element, as well as the constant presence of wild animals, but Null focuses on the ways that a setting can shape how we identify with the world. The scope of the collection contains voices from multiple generations, and the result is a kaleidoscopic portrait of a distinctive region of North America, as well as an exercise in finding the universal in the particular. (catalog summary)
 

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