Shelf Life Blog
Once Upon an Alphabet is as ambitious as picture books come. Author and illustrator Oliver Jeffers presents 26 short tales, each based on a different letter of the alphabet. An astronaut who is afraid of heights, a daredevil girl who laughs in the face of death, and a lightning-struck lumberjack are just a few of characters we meet.
One of the food trends with the strongest staying power has to be vegetarianism, or at least dishes that are unabashed in their embrace of vegetables, grains, and fruits. Before “Farm to Table” was a thing, we still had farmers’ markets, and cooks would take advantage of them and their own backyard gardens to serve meals with fresh, seasonal ingredients.
Inexpensive, protein-rich, and easily cooked: the egg. The egg has been one of the most valuable foodstuffs since the Prehistoric Age. Bird eggs have been used and consumed wherever birds (mostly chickens) are domesticated. “Scrambled eggs” originated in 17th-century France. They pair well with acidic fruit juices, and “dried eggs” first developed during the 19th century and were used predominantly for soldiers in World War II. Why are they so popular? Eggs work in both sweet and savory meals, including many baked goods such as cakes and pies.
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Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer: "A bank of clouds was assembling on the not-so-distant horizon, but journalist-mountaineer Jon Krakauer, standing on the summit of Mt. Everest, saw nothing that 'suggested that a murderous storm was bearing down.' He was wrong. The storm, which claimed five lives and left countless more--including Krakauer's--in guilt-ridden disarray, would also provide the impetus for Into Thin Air, Krakauer's epic account of the May 1996 disaster." (Book Summary)
If you like nonfiction accounts of survival like Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster, then you may also like these titles:
Adrift: Seventy-six days lost at sea by Steven Callahan
The author recalls his seventy-six day ordeal adrift in the Atlantic Ocean in a five foot inflatable raft, after the sinking of his sailboat, recounting his problems surviving the weather, shark attacks, raft leaks, and food and water shortages.
Alive: The story of the Andes survivors by Piers Paul Read
On October 12, 1972, a plane carrying a team of young rugby players crashed into the remote, snow-peaked Andes. Out of the forty-five original passengers and crew, only sixteen made it off the mountain alive. For ten excruciating weeks they suffered deprivations beyond imagining, confronting nature head-on at its most furious and inhospitable. And to survive, they were forced to do what would have once been unthinkable ... This is their story -- one of the most astonishing true adventures of the twentieth century. (amazon.com)
Saint Patrick’s Day is just behind us, with its shamrocks, leprechauns, and green everything. It’s a cheerful time to be Irish or just pretend to be. Nory Ryan’s Song is a novel for young people (and everyone, really) about a much darker time in Irish history. During the Great Famine in the 1800s, the already poor people found themselves starving when the one fail-safe crop—potatoes—failed them.
It’s something people don’t want to think about—until they must. When friends or family members have debilitating conditions, so much so that they must have help on a daily or even hourly basis—it is time to sit down and figure out what can be done. The Comfort of Home: A Complete Guide for Caregivers is a plainly written manual for those who wish to keep their loved ones at home.
“He is never alone. Not even in the Afterlife.”
Fraternal twins: alike in some ways, but different in others. Compared to identical twins, fraternal twins may not look alike, sound alike, or even have the same interests. They could even have completely different personalities, the twins appearing as just common siblings. In the case of Danny Orchard, the protagonist of Andrew Pyper’s new novel The Damned, he is very different from his lovely and vicious twin sister, Ashleigh.
"Hello, My Name Is Ruby," a small bird exclaims to anyone who will listen. She may be tiny, but Ruby makes up for her size in terms of sheer friendliness. Despite differences in size, color, and species, Ruby asks each of them if they would like to be her friends.
Reality television: today, it seems to be a staple in our society. As viewers, we see a plethora of genres on reality TV, ranging from programs containing essential survival tips to contestants choosing the right man or woman for the rest of their lives. The possibilities are endless--especially when it comes to paranormal reality television, whose popularity has skyrocketed. From Ghost Hunters to Ghost Adventures, each program contains a thrilling history of the chosen haunted house or place, followed by an in-depth debunking investigation, analyzing the supposed hauntings and exposing possible natural causes for unexplained events.
Growing into womanhood is a very hard experience for Shabanu and her beautiful sister Phulan. They belong to a nomadic culture in Pakistan where it is absolutely normal for 12- and 13-year-old girls to be married off to older men.