Shelf Life Blog

If you like Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

This readalike is in response to a patron'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.

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter: "A novel that spans fifty years. The Italian housekeeper and his long-lost American starlet; the producer who once brought them together, and his assistant. A glittering world filled with unforgettable characters." (Book description)  

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

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller
Surviving a pandemic disease that has killed everyone he knows, a pilot establishes a shelter in an abandoned airport hangar before hearing a random radio transmission that compels him to risk his life to seek out other survivors. (catalog description)

 

 

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Traces the unlikely friendship of a wealthy Afghan youth and a servant's son in a tale that spans the final days of Afghanistan's monarchy through the atrocities of the present day. (catalog description)

 

 

Shake, Rattle & Turn That Noise Down! by Mark Alan Stamaty

Shake, Rattle & Turn That Noise Down! by Mark Alan Stamaty

I have never liked getting haircuts. There is just too much room for miscommunication. Too much of a chance for a top-of-the-head surprise that won’t go away. Recently, I have figured out a way around any chance of miscommunication.

“Just make it look like Elvis.”

Shake, Rattle & Turn that Noise Down! is a beautifully illustrated coming-of-age story by Mark Alan Stamaty. He is best known as a political cartoonist, and here his caricatured drawings serve his personal story of discovering Elvis Presley, to the chagrin of his poor mother.

The Late Shift by Bill Carter

The Late Shift by Bill Carter

When New York Times reporter Bill Carter recently broke the story that NBC was planning on gently escorting Tonight Show host Jay Leno out the door for a younger, fresher face, it felt a little like déjà vu. That's because the same decision happened about ten years ago.

Carter's definitely the most qualified person to reveal such information. The news made me seek out his book, The Late Shift. The title is a breakthrough account of the shake-up at NBC after Johnny Carson surprisingly announced his plan to retire within a year. The network famously snubbed their Late Night host, David Letterman by hiring Leno, who had been a successful guest host for the legendary Carson.

Manhattan Projects Volume 1: Science Bad by Jonathan Hickman

Manhattan Projects Volume 1: Science Bad by Jonathan Hickman

I thought that Manhattan Projects was weird, and then the main characters stuck a cybernetic spike into Franklin Roosevelt's head, creating the world's first artificial intelligence.

Woe to anyone hoping that Jonathan Hickman's comic book series would be an accurate retelling of the construction of the atomic bomb. Sure, it gets mentioned from time to time.

The real driving force of Hickman's story, which ended up on many top comics lists last year, is the idea that the atomic bomb is just one of the hideous creations that super-geniuses Robert Oppenheimer, Albert Einstein, and Richard Feynman were working on. The other stuff... it ain't pretty.

Freakling by Lana Krumwiede

Freakling by Lana Krumwiede

In Taemon's world, the community of Deliverance, all activity and actions take place through the use of telekenesis.For example, no hands are needed when eating. One simply lifts the food into one's mouth through the power of thought. In fact, it is considered unseemly to use one's hands at all in the book Freakling, by Lana Krumweide. Additionally, Taemon is able to harness his psi in a rather unconventional way. He is able to let his mind wander.  This enables him to see into the inner workings of things.  But allowing one's mind to wander is forbidden.Taemon is an out-of-the-box thinker in a world that wants to box everyone in.

The Dark by Lemony Snicket and illustrated by Jon Klassen

The Dark by Lemony Snicket and illustrated by Jon Klassen

Fear of the dark is fear of the unknown. If you are unable to see what is out there, your imagination is quite adept at filling in the frightening gaps for you. 

The Dark, by Lemony Snicket and illustrated by Jon Klassen, focuses on Laszlo, a young boy who tries to preempt the dark from visiting his room at night by meeting it where it lives during the day, down in the basement. Poor Laszlo finds that his journey does little good after his nightlight burns out one evening. What's more, the dark wants to show Laszlo something.

Farmers Market Cookbook by Southern Living

Farmers Market Cookbook by Southern Living

Southern Living’s Farmers Market Cookbook has interesting, beautiful recipes that are not difficult for an ordinary cook to produce. This is to be expected as it is typical of anything from Southern Living’s magazines and cookbook lines. But what is different here is the book’s focus on vegetables, fruits, cheeses, and other foods that are available seasonally at local farmers markets. 

The Dancing Floor by Barbara Michaels

The Dancing Floor by Barbara Michaels

In Barbara Michael’s The Dancing Floor, twenty-something Heather Tradescant is taking the trip she’s dreamed of since she was a little girl—paying visits to great historical gardens in Britain. However, it’s a sorrowful journey as her hen-pecked but beloved father was supposed to be her traveling companion. They had planned it together, after all, and then he died unexpectedly. But Heather is determined to see it through, even if that means breaking into Troyton House to check out the garden. She is prepared with a camera and a notebook, but she is not prepared to be frightened out of her wits by something lurking in what might have been—and possibly still is—a sacrificial glade.

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

Josie Moraine was named after one of the most famous madams in New Orleans. Her mother, Louise, earns her living working as a prostitute for another notorious Big Easy madam—Willie Woodley. Josie supplements her own income from her beloved book store employment by cleaning Willie’s brothel. But, in Out of the Easy, by Ruta Sepetys, Josie Moraine would gladly leave her past behind in a heartbeat. She harbors dreams of attending Smith College. Although she’s applied, she has no idea how she would ever pay the exorbitant tuition…or, more importantly, fit into such a different scenario.

If you like A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

This readalike is in response to a patron'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.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini: "Raised in poverty by her unwed epileptic mother and married off early by the rich, elegant father who has always kept her at arm's length, Mariam would seem to have little in common with well-educated and comfortably raised young Laila. Yet their lives intertwine dramatically in this affecting new novel from the author of The Kite Runner, who proves that one can write a successful follow-up after debuting with a phenomenal best seller. As Mariam settles in Kabul with her abusive cobbler husband, smart student Laila falls in love with friend Tariq. But she loses her brothers in the resistance to Soviet dominion and her parents in a bombing just as the family prepares to flee the awful violence. Simply to survive, she becomes the second wife of Mariam's husband and is bitterly resented by the older woman until they are able to form the bond that serves as the heart of this novel. Then the Taliban arrive." (Library Journal Review)

If you like A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, you may also like these selections:

The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff
Two parallel stories of fundamentalist Mormon polygamy unfold from the perspectives of Ann Eliza Young, the 19th rebel wife of Mormon founder Brigham Young, and present-day Jordan Scott, whose mother has been accused of murdering his polygamist father. Jordan enlists the help of supporters to uncover the mystery of who murdered his father, despite the fact he was excommunicated from the church when he was fourteen. In a similar vein, Ann Eliza Scott pressured the Mormon Church to ban polygamy, which was accomplished in 1890. The 19th Wife is a suspenseful, detailed look at polygamy in the past and present.

The Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy Tan
An intricate story of a Chinese mother and her American-born daughter.
Writer Ruth is struggling to care for her mother, Lu Ling, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Concerned over her mother's health and erratic behavior, Ruth reluctantly consents to have her mother's journals translated into English at Lu Ling's request. The translation uncovers an entire life unknown to Ruth, as Lu Ling's journey from innocent young woman to brave survivor unfolds. Lu Ling emerges from a background of family secrets and lies, heartbreak, and suffering in wartime China to establish a life in America.