Shelf Life Blog

11/29/2017 - 2:07am
Pick a Pine Tree by Patricia Toht

Smell that fresh, piney scent! Will you take your tree home from the Christmas tree farm on top of a car or on a sled? Depends on how close you are! Don't forget to trim the trunk so it can fit in your living room or, wherever you would like to place it. Give it some water, and let it stand tall!

11/28/2017 - 12:59pm
Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything

A quack is defined by Google.com as "a person who dishonestly claims to have special knowledge and skill in some field, typically in medicine." There are other words relating to a quack, such as humbug, charlatan, con artist, and swindler. Overall, anything recommended by a quack will not be useful. In fact, it may be quite dangerous. It may just take your life.

Most of the time, quacks lured in their victims by promising medical miracles. The cures themselves are so dubious that only the desperate would try them. However, the authors of Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything suggest that quackery is not just about pure deception but, in fact, includes situations when people believe that what they're selling may actually be working. Some examples of common practices include the citizens of the Ottoman Empire eating clay to keep the plague away and the Victorians using mercury steam rooms to cure syphilis.

11/27/2017 - 8:25am
If you like Holiday Mysteries

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 other book matches here.

Looking for some chills and thrills this holiday season? Check out these holiday mystery titles.

12 Days at Bleakly Manor: Book 1 in Once Upon A Dickens Christmas by Michelle Griep
England, 1851: When Clara Chapman receives an intriguing invitation to spend Christmas at an English manor home, she is hesitant yet feels compelled to attend—for if she remains the duration of the twelve-day celebration, she is promised a sum of five hundred pounds. But is she walking into danger? (catalog summary)

11/23/2017 - 2:02am
Loaves of Fun: A History of Bread with Activities and Recipes from Around the World

Making bread from flour, yeast, water/milk and whatever else goes into your recipe is one of the most satisfying things a person of any age can learn, and there are so many good lessons for homeschooling, too. There’s measuring, of course, but there are a lot of little things that baking reinforces. Patience: it takes time for a loaf of bread to rise. An eye for detail: how do you know when the bread is mixed enough? When it's done? Sharing: whether you’re sharing an Amish or sourdough starter or a complete loaf of bread, sharing can be the best part of baking.

Even with all those good lessons, author Elizabeth Harbison and illustrator John Harbison go it one better by including a cheerful history of bread making in their book, Loaves of Fun: A History of Bread with Activities and Recipes from Around the World. You’ll learn how people across the world and across time have made their bread. They might use different kinds of flour. They might not even use yeast. But it’s all bread, made to be enjoyed—and shared.

11/22/2017 - 2:02am
The Lumberjack's Beard by Duncan Beedie

Big Jim Hickory is a lumberjack.

Every day, he awakes next to a forest, in a little log cabin, and he completes his morning routine: Limbering-up exercises—it's very important to limber up if you're a lumberjack. Jim also has a hearty breakfast of pancakes and maple syrup before he sets out with his trusty ax and heads into the forest.

CHOP-CHOPPETY-CHOP! Jim's ax echoes at every tree he cuts.

11/21/2017 - 2:01am
Wicked Deeds by Heather Graham

The last time we saw historian Vickie Preston and Special Agent Griffin Pryce, they were solving a series of murders in the Boston area (Dying Breath & Dark Rites) with the FBI's paranormal team, the Krewe of Hunters. After the wrap-up of these cases, Vickie and Griffin are eager to begin their new life together in Virginia.

Now comes their next baffling case in Wicked Deeds, involving none other than the Master of Horror himself . . . Edgar Allan Poe.

11/16/2017 - 1:57am
Cover to Sharing the Bread: An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving Story

With its simple, glowing pictures by Jill McElmurry reminiscent of folk art, Pat Zietlow Miller’s Sharing the Bread is a rhyming, picture-book distillation of the many good things about a shared Thanksgiving. All the family—aunt, uncle, mother, father, sister, brothers, grandmother, grandfather—help make the feast, and all the family enjoys sharing it.

11/15/2017 - 1:56am
The Reminders by Val Emmich

The Reminders is a sweet, charming story filled with quirky characters, told in the alternating voices of Joan and Gavin in sections named after John Lennon’s songs and interspersed with Joan’s doodled drawings from her journal.

11/14/2017 - 1:56am
The Cornbread Gospels: Over 200 Recipes by Crescent Dragonwagon

People can be mighty particular about their cornbread. They have strong feelings about which kind of meal to use (yellow or white), what to cook it in, what to use for leavening, and what to add in for extra flavor—or not. From such regional and personal beliefs comes Crescent Dragonwagon’s The Cornbread Gospels, with delicious takes on this homespun favorite.

If you’re looking to expand your knowledge of the joys of cornbread, whether it’s a semi-soufflé of spoonbread for the Thanksgiving meal or something plainer to go with your New Year’s Day black-eyed peas, The Cornbread Gospels has your dish. Drawn from the recipe files of excellent cooks from across America and around the world, you’ll get a taste for different cultures as well as their preferred methods and flavors, with the talented wordsmith Crescent Dragonwagon as your guide.

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