Shelf Life Blog

Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett; Illustrated by Jon Klassen

Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett; Illustrated by Jon Klassen

The gray of winter is dismal enough to turn even the cheeriest of smiles upside down. Extra Yarn, by Mac Barnett, is a much needed pick-me-up during these dreariest of times.

Annabelle finds a box of multicolored yarn in the snow. When she takes it home to knit a sweater, she finds that she still has more. So Annabelle makes a sweater for her dog, too. No matter how much she knits, the box always has extra yarn in it.

1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die edited by Steven Jay Schneider

1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die edited by Steven Jay Schneider

The first time I ever saw 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die sitting on a shelf in a now defunct bookstore, I immediately seized it, plopped down on the the floor and began...counting. Yes, yes, I'm a tad obsessed. Still, to find out that there are so many worthy movies out there waiting to be viewed is so exciting. I saw the mighty tome as a map leading to vast amounts of buried treasure.

Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea by Guy DeLisle

Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea by Guy DeLisle

How far in the world would you go for more money or to complete a project that your company needs?  Would you go into a country that is the antithesis of every definition of human freedom just to create your product more cheaply?  Guy DeLisle’s Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea is an autobiographical graphic novel about DeLisle’s experiences supervising the production of cell animation cartoons in North Korea, where they can be made cheaply.

Lost Boy, Lost Girl: Escaping the Civil War in Sudan by John Bul Dau and Martha Arual Akech

Lost Boy, Lost Girl: Escaping the Civil War in Sudan by John Bul Dau and Martha

When you’re thirteen, it seems as though everything will be the same always, especially if you live in a traditional culture. For John Bul Dau, life with his large family and many friends as cattle keepers in the Dinka tribe was wonderful. The elders were wise and taught them what they needed to know to become strong men and women. There was time for work and time for play. All of that changed the night the Northern soldiers destroyed their village, as told in John Bul Dau and Martha Arual Akech’s Lost Boy, Lost Girl: Escaping the Civil War in Sudan.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by C. Alan Bradley

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by C. Alan Bradley

Flavia de Luce, an eleven-year-old genius with a flair for chemistry, lives a lonely but intriguing life in the crumbling family mansion. Her lovely older sisters delight in tormenting her, and she returns the favor with diabolical brattiness. What one can do with certain itchy plant extracts and a tube of one’s sister’s favorite lipstick! The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, by C. Alan Bradley, is set in post-World War II England. It’s a simpler time in many respects though things get rather more complicated when Father’s annoying visitor turns up dead in the garden by moonlight.

Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health by Jo Robinson

Eating on the Wild Side
Recently I heard Jo Robinson on NPR discussing her latest work, Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health, and was riveted. So, move over Barbara Kingsolver. Sadly you’ve been replaced as my nutrition guru. I SOOOO loved Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life.

If you like The Sea by John Banville

If you like The Sea by John Banville

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 Sea by John Banville: "'I have carried the memory of that moment through a whole half century, as if it were the emblem of something final, precious and irretrievable,' says the narrator of Banville's Booker Prize-winning novel of a relatively trivial moment. But when he recalls the mother and daughter whom he first loved as a barely pubescent child-whose presence pulled him out of the shadow of his paltry self-he observes, 'The two figures in the scene, I mean Chloe and her mother, are all my own work.' Memory, then, is the subject of this brief but magisterial work, a condensed teardrop of a novel that captures perfectly the essence of irretrievable longing. After the death of his wife, Max has retreated to the seashore where he spent his childhood summers, staying at an inn that was once the home of a magnificent, careless family called the Graces. It's as if reawakening the pain of his first, terrible loss-that high-strung and volatile Chloe-will ease his more recent loss." (Library Journal)

"I have carried the memory of that moment through a whole half century, as if it were the emblem of something final, precious and irretrievable," says the narrator of Banville's Booker Prize-winning novel of a relatively trivial moment. But when he recalls the mother and daughter whom he first loved as a barely pubescent child-whose presence pulled him out of the shadow of his paltry self-he observes, "The two figures in the scene, I mean Chloe and her mother, are all my own work." Memory, then, is the subject of this brief but magisterial work, a condensed teardrop of a novel that captures perfectly the essence of irretrievable longing. After the death of his wife, Max has retreated to the seashore where he spent his childhood summers, staying at an inn that was once the home of a magnificent, careless family called the Graces. It's as if reawakening the pain of his first, terrible loss-that high-strung and volatile Chloe-will ease his more recent loss. - See more at: http://librarypoint.bibliocommons.com/item/show/499827072_the_sea#sthash.Cczj1kO3.dpuf

If you enjoyed this title, here are some other titles you may enjoy:

Atonement by Ian McEwan
On a summer day in 1935, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses a moment's flirtation between her older sister, Cecilia, and Robbie Turner, the son of a servant. But Briony's incomplete grasp of adult motives and her precocious imagination bring about a crime that will change all their lives.

 

 

The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Prince Myshkin, a good yet simple man, is out of place in the corrupt world created by Russia's ruling class.

 

 

A Christmas Visitor by Anne Perry

A Christmas Visitor by Anne Perry

Sherlock Holmes once remarked to Watson that “the lowest and vilest alleys in London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside.”

Indeed, readers who enjoy suspense, strong characters, and immersing themselves in the deceptively quiet and sometimes lethal English countryside of Victoria’s reign should enjoy Anne Perry’s A Christmas Visitor. Though it does feature a character from her well-established William Monk series, it is not necessary at all to have read those books to appreciate this one.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Cath is a Fangirl. Like many teens her age, she loves the hugely popular Simon Snow fantasy books. But Cath is not simply resigned to wait for each new volume's release. She writes new stories about magical prodigy Simon and his school roommate, vampire, and possible nemesis, Baz.

If you like John Dies at the End by David Wong

John Dies at the End by David Wong

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.

John Dies at the End by David Wong: "This may be the story of John and David, a drug called soy sauce, and other-worldly beings invading the planet. Or, it may be the story of two beer-drinking friends who live in an unnamed Midwestern town and only think something horrific is going on. But the important thing is, according to the narrator, "None of this is my fault." (Book description)

If you like this novel for the mix of science fiction and satire, you may also enjoy:

Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi
The space-faring Yherajk have come to Earth to meet us and to begin humanity's first interstellar friendship. There's just one problem: They're hideously ugly and they smell like rotting fish. So getting humanity's trust is a challenge. The Yherajk need someone who can help them close the deal. Enter Thomas Stein, who knows something about closing deals. He's one of Hollywood's hottest young agents. But although Stein may have just concluded the biggest deal of his career, it's quite another thing to negotiate for an entire alien race. To earn his percentage this time, he's going to need all the smarts, skills, and wits he can muster.

Bloodsucking Fiends (A Love Story #1) by Christopher Moore
A budding young writer falls in love with a vampire. He is Tommy of Indiana who moved to San Francisco in search of inspiration and is working in a supermarket. Shopping there is Jody, a secretary still trying to adjust to her new vampire status, after being bitten by one on her way home.