Shelf Life Blog
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.
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry: "A portrait of India featuring four characters. Two are tailors who are forcibly sterilized, one is a student who emigrates, and the fourth is a widowed seamstress who decides to hang on." (Book description).
Animal’s People by Indra Sinha
Ever since That Night, the residents of Khaufpur have lived a perilous existence. Their world is poisoned. Nobody has received compensation or help for the chemical leak, least of all Animal, as he is known, whose spine twisted at a young age, leaving him to walk on all fours. (catalog description)
A Breath of Fresh Air by Amulya Malladi
In December of 1984 in Bhopal, India, Anjali survives a catastrophic gas leak but her marriage to her army officer husband does not. Years later, she is remarried with an ill son when her first husband suddenly reappears in her life. She is forced to reconcile her roles of wife, ex-wife, working woman, and mother. (catalog description)
Birds of a feather may flock together in Telephone, by Mac Barnett, but that does not mean they understand each other. Taking place on an actual telephone wire, the story begins with Peter the pigeon's mother asking a friend to tell him to fly home for dinner. Anyone who has played a game of telephone before will know what happens next.
Set in small fishing village in Haiti, Claire of the Sea Light weaves its net of interlocked stories from loss, love, and hope.
Like most small towns, Ville Rose has wealthy people who believe themselves to be important and others who just scrape by, barely making a living. Nozias the fisherman loves his little daughter Claire Limyè Lanmè – Claire of the Sea Light. But they are so very poor and his job is so dangerous that he worries what will happen to her if one day he does not return.
The Final Silence starts with a locked door.
Middle-aged Rea Carlisle, daughter of a prominent Northern Ireland politician, has inherited her Uncle Raymond’s unusual house after his suicide. It takes little time to deal with her uncle’s few possessions, and every room (besides one) has been sorted and cleaned. The remaining locked door leads to what seems to have been Uncle Raymond’s upstairs office, and Rea can’t figure out why it’s sealed off. Once she pries open the door, she immediately realizes the answer to that daunting question.
Like martial arts, magic, and high school heartbreak? Amanda Sun’s Ink has got you covered.
It’s not easy moving to Japan, and Katie Greene was having an especially rotten day. She forgot to change from her school slippers—again! and ended up barging into a huge break-up scene between moody, gorgeous kendo captain Yuu Tomohiro and his leggy, book-smart girlfriend of the glittery nails.
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.
Looking for a book to share on a frosty day? Virginia Brimhall Snow’s Winter Walk is a lovely and informative stroll through nature’s quiet season. Grammy leads the children to all sorts of interesting discoveries. “Why is this tree green, Grammy, when others are brown?”
From the perspective of learning, this book is just right for young ones, and its design allows different ages to enjoy it. The figures of the people are only sketched, almost fading into the white backdrop as they make snow angels, fill a bird feeder, and have a snowball fight. But the images of what they notice and talk about are incredibly vivid: a cardinal, a snowshoe hare, a chickadee, a fox… and a gleaming icicle.
Jamie Ford’s Songs of Willow Frost is a story of love and perseverance set in Depression-era Seattle.
British author F.R. Tallis has always been fascinated with electronic voice phenomena, also known as EVPs. Through these recordings, it is believed that one can pick up otherwise unheard spirit voices, a method long popular yet controversial with paranormal researchers. Sometimes EVPs seem to pick up vital information on the subjects’ past, revealing disturbing events that could have led to their demises. At other times, the recordings have proven to be completely useless and false. The fascination continues, however, as Tallis says on his website, “A ghost that has been objectified by technology is altogether more convincing and subsequently a great deal more frightening.”
In Tallis’ recent novel, The Voices, Christopher Norton, his wife Laura, and their young daughter Faye move into a beautiful Victorian house in London during the stifling summer of 1976. Norton discovers that the size and location of the home is perfect for his career as a film score writer. He finally has the opportunity to build his own sound recording studio. But as the hot summer nights wear on, Laura begins to hear slight knocking sounds on Faye’s baby monitor. Then come the mysterious, unearthly voices that crackle through the speakers.
Cat Winters’ In the Shadow of Blackbirds is a supernatural romance set in the real and not-too-distant past when people were dying by the millions from the flu epidemic. Everybody hopes to connect with their dead loved ones, and con artist “psychics” are lined up, ready to serve.
Sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black didn’t believe in such nonsense. When a “spirit photographer” uses her image with that of ghost who seems to be kneeling at her feet, she is outraged—until the ghost of her dead sweetheart comes to visit her.