Shelf Life Blog
High and low culture collide in The McSweeney's Joke Book of Book Jokes. The literary journal has collected its humor pieces, featuring all sorts of short essays, lists, and ephemera related to classic literature.
Because I got so caught up in the British Broadchurch mini-series, I binge-watched all eight episodes and stayed up until 2:30 in the morning. The series begins with a walking tour of the pleasant seaside town of Broadchurch on the Dorset Coast of England, a tourist spot with a close-knit community. We follow Mark and Beth Latimer on a typical day… until the town is torn apart when 11-year-old Danny Latimer is found dead on its beach.
Even Monsters Need Haircuts shares the previously untold story of monstrous hairstyling techniques. Our narrator, a young boy, takes detailed notes as his barber father works on people's hair. When night falls, the boy sneaks from his bedroom. A vampire bat named Vlad leads him across town to a special barbershop, one that only serves mummies, ghouls, and all other sorts of beasties!
After years spent working in East Africa for a world health aid organization, Frankie Rowley returns to her parents’ (formerly summer, now permanent) home in the small New Hampshire town of Pomeroy. Although she had come stateside on numerous occasions, this visit is different. In Sue Miller’s The Arsonist, Frankie finds herself torn between the challenging but transient nature of her current job and the need to find something more permanent…permanent in terms of locale and permanent in terms of relationships.
The ten Boom family lived a quiet, respectable life in the Dutch town of Haarlem. Corrie and her father made and repaired clocks. Her sister was their housekeeper. They were loved by the community. But in neighboring countries, Nazi Germany was rising, and soon it would sweep into the Netherlands.
How does a dying bull in Tsarist Russia lead to six-foot-tall praying mantises terrorizing present-day Iowa? Austin Szerba is your personal historian to the end of the world in Grasshopper Jungle, by Andrew Smith.
What if the gawky teenager your mom brought home was actually your 76-year-old grandfather? In The Fourteenth Goldfish, tween-favorite Jennifer L. Holm brings warmth and wit to one of humankind’s favorite scientific quests, the search for eternal youth.
Hip Hop Family Tree Volume 2 picks up right where Ed Piskor's first phenomenal graphic novel left off. By 1981, the record industry has started to capitalize on the raw talent of urban youth. The sounds are slicker and the rhymes are tighter, but Piskor manages to find and highlight the raw edges of the musical movement.
Samantha Sotto’s Before Ever After is a magical, mysterious, and romantic treat. Shelley was a very locked-down person before she met up with Max, who took her and a bevy of eccentric souls on a European tour unlike any other. Stuffed into a VW microbus and crossing the English Channel, Max leads them on a truly fascinating tour off the usual path. Along the way, Shelley and Max fall deeply in love. It’s a pity it can’t last.
Lexi is fed up. It is bad enough knowing that her sister gets all the attention and praise, but when the sister in question is a seven-year-old beauty queen, it's so much worse. Mackenzie is a tornado in a tiara. Demanding, unappreciative, and mean. Lexi has had just enough of Mackenzie's reign of beauty and terror. It is time for the Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality.