Shelf Life Blog
It’s 1977, and New York City is in chaos.
After a freezing winter, the summer’s stifling heat has everyone on edge. Poverty is on the rise, and the city’s finances are in ruins. Arsonists set buildings on fire, seemingly at random, while a serial killer nicknamed Son of Sam shoots dark-haired young women and their companions on the street.
In Burn Baby Burn, Meg Medina brings these notorious events to life with the story of Nora Lopez, a 17-year-old high school senior living in Queens. Though she's living through a horrific period of New York history, Nora is just trying to make it through to graduation and escape her disastrous living situation.
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Are you looking for a bone-chilling mystery? Look no further—these titles will send chills up your spine.
The Dark Winter by David John Mark
Investigating a series of suspicious deaths and discovering that each victim was the sole survivor of a tragedy, Detective Sergeant Aector McAvoy of the northern England port of Hull struggles to balance the demands of the case with the needs of his beloved family. (catalog summary)
The Dead of Winter by Jane Addams
Against her better judgement, Rina Martin accepts an invitation to Aikensthorpe, a country house hotel with a sinister reputation. Gathered there are a collection of experts in the esoteric; their plan is to re-enact the incident in 1872 that left one man dead and another mad. Rina, unimpressed by the company and their techniques, is relieved when her friend DI MacGregor comes to rescue her. But then a blizzard traps them in the house, and Edwin Holmes, grand old man of psychical research, is found murdered in his bed. (catalog summary)
Deep Winter: A Novel by Samuel W. Gailey
In this compelling rural noir, a devastating murder in an isolated small town sets off an unstoppable chain of events made more complicated—and more dangerous—by the town's dark secrets. (catalog summary)
The season of winter brings long days and frigid nights. It's the time of year when you'll want something warm and delightful to drink while gathering with friends. In Winter Cocktails: Mulled Cider, Hot Toddies, Punches, Pitchers, and Cocktail Party Snacks, author Maria del Mar Sacasa shares more than 100 seasonal recipes for cold-weather cocktails and appetizers.
Heavy holiday meals got you down? Even if you were virtuous and limited your intake of feast foods, odds are for that all that sweet stuff left you more than ready for a change of pace.
For almost 70 years, the Rodale Institute has been teaching people how to bring the good stuff into their diets. Their motto from the beginning: Healthy Soil = Healthy Food = Healthy People. It’s still a good motto. They’ve led the organic gardening and farming movements for generations, and they know what they’re doing. They also know how to cook—and not just the fancy recipes that rely on ultra-special ingredients. The Rodale Whole Foods Cookbook is as solid as it sounds.
All they want is a Homecoming.
Dicey Tillerman is the 13-year-old big sister, and it’s up to her to look after the younger kids—a situation that becomes a lot more complicated when their mentally ill mother abandons them in the parking lot of a shopping mall.
Their mother said they were going on a trip to see their rich Aunt Cilla. Maybe their mother got confused, the way she does. Maybe she is already at Aunt Cilla’s waiting for them. Maybe not.
Shmelf is one of Santa's new elves, and his job is to check the "naughty or nice" list twice before Christmas Eve. He notices that there are quite a few children on the list who have been good but are not receiving gifts under the tree.
Lin-Manuel Miranda worked for six years to do the book, music, and lyrics for his hip-hop musical Hamilton. The musical explores the life and legacy of Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the Caribbean, who came to America and helped found our country’s financial system and, of course, was killed in a duel with Aaron Burr. The musical has won the Pulitzer Prize, a Grammy, and 10 Tony awards. I love all 23,000 words of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical Hamilton. The songs become earworms as they just make you replay them.
If you don’t have enough Hamilton $10 bills to get a pricey ticket to the Broadway production or time to wait in line for the cheaper Broadway lottery tickets for the play, check out the music CDs at the library from the original Broadway cast, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s backstage pass in Hamilton: The Revolution; and the book it is based on, Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton.
True confession: I loved the television shows Thirtysomething and Parenthood, and I’d classify The New Neighbor, by Leah Stewart, as a book similarly driven by well-developed characters. So, if your cup of tea is action-packed novels over touchy-feely, spill-your-guts literature, then I’d strongly advise you to move on to another blog post!
Jennifer Young has recently moved with her young son into the house next to Margaret Riley. Although the two abodes are separated by a pond, each woman can see the other from her own back porch. At the age of ninety, Margaret is not as spry as she once was, and, over the years, her prickly personality has alienated any number of potential friends. But she’s lonely and finds herself insatiably curious about her new neighbor.
"During the day it's a place of joy...but you're not here during the day." - Tagline from the video game trailer, Five Nights At Freddy's