Shelf Life Blog

12/10/2014 - 1:29pm
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

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.

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith: "A story as light and sweet as a Victoria Sponge cake. Although they are castle dwellers, 17 year old Cassandra's family is quite impoverished, and the castle is decrepit, drafty and moldering. Her diary entries chronicle six months in the castle - a time of great changes, and a first taste of love. "

If you enjoyed this novel, you may enjoy some of the following titles:


Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson
A deeply moving family story of happiness and heartbreak, Behind the Scenes at the Museum is bestselling author Kate Atkinson's award-winning literary debut. National Bestseller Winner of the Whitbread Book of the Year Ruby Lennox begins narrating her life at the moment of conception, and from there takes us on a whirlwind tour of the twentieth century as seen through the eyes of an English girl determined to learn about her family and its secrets. 


A Brief History of Montmaray by Michelle Cooper
On her sixteenth birthday in 1936, Sophia begins a diary of life in her island country off the coast of Spain, where she is among the last descendants of an impoverished royal family trying to hold their nation together on the eve of the second World War.


07/23/2015 - 12:19pm
Monster Mash by David Catrow

Of course, the Monster Mash would make for a perfect picture book. The 1962 novelty song by Bobby Pickett has a great story with lots of kooky characters. It rhymes; it is catchy; and, with illustrator David Catrow at the helm, it is wonderfully grotesque.

07/22/2015 - 1:16pm
The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti

From the countryside orphanage to the seedy dives of a whaling town to a mining village literally underlain by ghosts, Hannah Tinti’s The Good Thief is a vivid and engaging tale of filching and family.

07/23/2015 - 12:19pm
The McSweeney's Joke Book of Book Jokes

High and low culture collide in The McSweeney's Joke Book of Book Jokes. The literary journal has collected its humor pieces, featuring all sorts of short essays, lists, and ephemera related to classic literature.

10/27/2014 - 6:45am

Because I got so caught up in the British Broadchurch mini-series, I binge-watched all eight episodes and stayed up until 2:30 in the morning.  The series begins with a walking tour of the pleasant seaside town of Broadchurch on the Dorset Coast of England, a tourist spot with a close-knit community. We follow Mark and Beth Latimer on a typical day… until the town is torn apart when 11-year-old Danny Latimer is found dead on its beach.

07/23/2015 - 12:18pm
Even Monsters Need Haircuts by Matthew McElligott

Even Monsters Need Haircuts shares the previously untold story of monstrous hairstyling techniques. Our narrator, a young boy, takes detailed notes as his barber father works on people's hair. When night falls, the boy sneaks from his bedroom. A vampire bat named Vlad leads him across town to a special barbershop, one that only serves mummies, ghouls, and all other sorts of beasties!

07/21/2015 - 10:13am
The Arsonist by Sue Miller

After years spent working in East Africa for a world health aid organization, Frankie Rowley returns to her parents’ (formerly summer, now permanent) home in the small New Hampshire town of Pomeroy. Although she had come stateside on numerous occasions, this visit is different. In Sue Miller’s The Arsonist, Frankie finds herself torn between the challenging but transient nature of her current job and the need to find something more permanent…permanent in terms of locale and permanent in terms of relationships. 

07/22/2015 - 1:16pm
The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom

The ten Boom family lived a quiet, respectable life in the Dutch town of Haarlem. Corrie and her father made and repaired clocks. Her sister was their housekeeper. They were loved by the community. But in neighboring countries, Nazi Germany was rising, and soon it would sweep into the Netherlands.

07/23/2015 - 12:25pm
Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

How does a dying bull in Tsarist Russia lead to six-foot-tall praying mantises terrorizing present-day Iowa? Austin Szerba is your personal historian to the end of the world in Grasshopper Jungle, by Andrew Smith.

08/13/2015 - 1:42pm
The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm

What if the gawky teenager your mom brought home was actually your 76-year-old grandfather? In The Fourteenth Goldfish, tween-favorite Jennifer L. Holm brings warmth and wit to one of humankind’s favorite scientific quests, the search for eternal youth.


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