Shelf Life Blog

03/02/2017 - 12:43am
Cover to Kid Chef: The Foodie Kids Cookbook

“Healthy Recipes & Culinary Skills for the New Cook in the Kitchen”

There is no reason older kids can’t cook many dishes on the same level as most adults. If you can handle cooking without supervision, you can really develop your palate and your skills to create dishes you and grown-ups will truly enjoy. There are no cute presentations in Melina Hammer’s Kid Chef. This is a book about taste and freshness. Of course, there are kid favorites, such as Crispy Fish Sticks, but these are from scratch, with panko, lemon zest, freshly ground pepper and other delightful flavors.

03/01/2017 - 12:43am
Cover to Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave Ona Judge

In traditional biographies of the Washingtons, the subject of slavery rarely comes up, or, if it does, it is given a paragraph or perhaps a chapter to explain the “peculiar institution” as it related to the first First Family. There is nothing like a personal story—a slave’s personal and true story—to get a deeper perspective. In Erica Armstrong Dunbar’s Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave Ona Judge, that is exactly what we have.

02/28/2017 - 12:42am
Touring the Shenandoah Valley Backroads by Andrea Sutcliffe

The Shenandoah Valley is convenient to our region and offers a lot in the way of recreation and history, but it’s rare that travelers can find material on lesser-known towns and roadways. Andrea Sutcliffe’s Touring Shenandoah Valley Backroads is a good companion for people who enjoy a ramble away from the homogenized offerings of the well-traveled Interstate.  

The book is split into 13 regional tours. They cover a lot of ground between them, from Front Royal to Fincastle. You’ll find “Walks in the Woods” at Massanutten Mountain briefly described, details on Grand Caverns (or Grottoes, as Thomas Jefferson knew it), and directions to the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley with its exhibits on regional history and art, and many other sites to investigate along the way.

02/27/2017 - 10:07am
If you like The Man in the High Castle

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 Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick

“They know a million tricks, those novelists.” ― Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle

The first season of Amazon Prime’s The Man in the High Castle is based on Philip K. Dick’s book of the same title and is now continuing into its second season. The series does an astonishingly good job of immersing viewers in an alternate history where the Axis powers won World War II, and America has been divided between Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan for years.

The players include spies and rebels, conflicted commanders, and ordinary people caught up in frequently lethal events. Even with all that is going on, things are not what they seem.

If you enjoy richly imagined worlds of might-have-been, battlefield conflicts that lead to difficult choices on the home front, or dangerous worlds where the truth lies beneath everyday appearances, try these books by other novelists who know a million tricks.


Babel-17Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delaney
In a war-riven world, why will saving humanity require . . . a poet? At twenty-six, Rydra Wong is the most popular poet in the five settled galaxies. Almost telepathically perceptive, she has written poems that capture the mood of mankind after two decades of savage war. Since the invasion, Earth has endured famine, plague, and cannibalism, but its greatest catastrophe will be Babel-17. Sabotage threatens to undermine the war effort, and the military calls in Rydra. Random attacks lay waste to warships, weapons factories, and munitions dumps, and all are tied together by strings of sound, broadcast over the radio before and after each accident. In that gibberish Rydra recognizes a coherent message, with all of the beauty, persuasive power, and order that only language possesses. To save humanity, she will master this strange tongue. But the more she learns, the more she is tempted to join the other side . . . (publisher’s description)
 


The Big Time
The Big Time
(Change Wars #1) by Fritz Leiber

Fritz Leiber (1910-1992) may be best known as a fantasy writer, but he published widely and successfully in the horror and science fiction fields. One of his major SF creations is the Change War, a series of stories and short novels about rival time-traveling forces locked in a bitter, ages-long struggle for control of the human universe where battles alter history and then change it again until there’s no certainty about what might once have happened. The most notable work of the series is the Hugo Award-winning novel The Big Time, in which doctors, entertainers, and wounded soldiers find themselves treacherously trapped with an activated atomic bomb inside the Place, a room existing outside of space-time. (publisher’s description)


02/23/2017 - 12:40am
Cover to Lola at the Library by Anna McQuinn

Lola loves to go to the library with her mommy every Tuesday. She is ready long before the library opens at 9 o'clock with her library card and backpack of books to return.

Lola at the Library, by Anna McQuinn, shows how much a library can mean to a young child, with storytimes, a special kids' section, and so many books to check out.

02/22/2017 - 12:39am
Cover to The Gift of Caring: Saving Our Parents from the Perils of Modern Medicine

In the days before modern hospitals, there were fewer options for the sick and elderly. Today, there are medical miracles, yes, but hospitals are often understaffed, and a family member is usually the best advocate an elderly patient can have. But what do you need to know to take on that role effectively?

02/21/2017 - 12:38am
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

"All around her was rich, vibrant color; she was the only colorless thing."

School trivia nights are usually filled with laughter and brainy fun. Most trivia nights involve fundraisers for the good of the community. But in Liane Moriarty's Big Little Lies, Pirriwee Public School's annual trivia event begins with death.

Flashback to six months before: in a quaint, seaside Australian town, three women—newcomer Jane, outspoken Madeline, and troubled Celeste—have become friends through their school-aged children. The women realize that they are struggling with a multitude of troubles on the home front: Jane is still trying to get used to single motherhood with her feisty kindergartner, Ziggy; Madeline is trying to balance her daughters—the elder, a defiant teenager—along with her difficult ex-husband and his New Age wife; and Celeste, although beautiful and wealthy, has a toxic and violent marriage.

02/17/2017 - 12:36am
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

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.

“They say it's good to let your grudges go, but I don't know, I'm quite fond of my grudge. I tend it like a little pet.” ​

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Follows three mothers, each at a crossroads, and their potential involvement in a riot at a school trivia night that leaves one parent dead in what appears to be a tragic accident, but which evidence shows might have been premeditated. (catalog summary)

Big Little Lies is an upcoming American drama miniseries series created by David E. Kelley, based on the book of the same name by Liane Moriarty. The series will air on HBO. The series will consist of seven episodes, all directed by Jean-Marc Vallée. The series stars Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, and Shailene Woodley. The series will premiere on February 19, 2017.¹ See a trailer below book suggestions.
 

If you like books like Big Little Lies, check out these other adult fiction titles:
 

Adult Onset by Ann-Marie MacDonaldAdult Onset by Ann-Marie MacDonald
Mary Rose MacKinnon is a successful author of young adult fiction doing a tour of duty as stay-at-home mom while her partner, Hilary, takes a turn focusing on her career. She tries valiantly to balance the (mostly) solo parenting of two young children with the relentless needs of her aging parents. But amid the hilarities of full-on domesticity arises a sense of dread. Do others notice the dents in the expensive refrigerator? How long will it take Mary Rose to realize that the car alarm that has been going off all morning is hers, and how on earth did her sharpest pair of scissors wind up in her toddler's hands? As frustrations mount, she experiences a flare-up of forgotten symptoms of a childhood illness that compel her to rethink her own upbringing and family history. Over the course of one outwardly ordinary week, Mary Rose's world threatens to unravel, and the specter of violence raises its head with dangerous implications for her and her children. With humor and unerring emotional accuracy, Adult Onset explores the pleasures and pressures of family bonds, powerful and yet so easily twisted and broken. Ann-Marie MacDonald has crafted a searing, terrifying, yet ultimately uplifting story. (catalog summary)
 


All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage


All Things Cease to Appear
by Elizabeth Brundage

Arriving home to find his wife murdered and their toddler left alone, art history professor George Clare is targeted with suspicion by a relentless police officer, as dark community secrets are revealed over a span of decades. (catalog summary)

 

02/16/2017 - 12:35am
Cover to Ada's Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay by Susan Hood

“For me, the violin means everything . . . life.” —Ada Rios

In Ada Ríos’ hometown of Cateura, Paraguay, trash is a way of life. The landfill is a source of income for the gancheros, or recyclers, who spend the days picking through trash to find cardboard or plastic to sell. As a young girl, Ada wondered if she, too, would grow up to work in the landfill. Most people in her town did. Little did she know that trash would be a large part of her life in a completely unexpected way.

02/15/2017 - 8:47am
Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves

Johnny Truant is an L.A. tattoo artist looking for a new apartment. His friend says an elderly blind man who lived in his apartment complex recently passed away. Traunt figures it wouldn't hurt to check out the apartment. Inside, Traunt discovers the man, Zampanò, has been meticulously studying a documentary film, The Navidson Record, about photojournalist Will Navidson. When Traunt goes to look up the documentary, there isn't a record of the film ever being made.

So begins Traunt's descent into the madness of Zampanò. 

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