Shelf Life Blog

09/17/2015 - 2:56am
The Skunk by Mac Barnett and Illustrated by Patrick McDonnell

The Skunk shows up on a man's doorstep just as he is leaving for a night at the opera. Careful not to disturb the creature, the man quietly sneaks around his doorstep and begins walking. The skunk follows.

09/15/2015 - 2:55am
The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson

In Adam Johnson’s The Orphan Master’s Son, Jun Do works for the government of “the most glorious nation on earth” as a professional kidnapper. This isn’t a science fiction dystopia, but rather it is a raw, searing novel concerning one man’s life under a regime that crushes its citizens, body and soul.

Jun Do doesn’t know his real name. Like his fellow orphans, his was chosen from a list of North Korean war heroes. There is decency to Jun Do, even as he surmounts a horrific childhood only to realize that he (and everyone else) exists primarily for their usefulness to the state. But Jun Do has ambitions.

09/10/2015 - 9:16am
Sebastian and the Balloon by Philip C. Stead

Sebastian and the Balloon is a must-read for young adventurers. Our title character finds little of interest on his street full of identical houses. Gathering everything he could possibly ever need, Sebastian takes to the skies in a patchwork hot air balloon made from his grandmother's afghans and quilts.

09/11/2015 - 1:28pm
Rad American Women A-Z by Kate Schatz

Rad American Women A-Z: Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries Who Shaped Our History… and Our Future! illustrates the alphabet with 26 rad—as in radical—American women who changed the world.

Instead of “A is for Apple” and “B is for Ball,” author Kate Schatz and illustrator Miriam Klein Stahl give us the activist Angela Davis and tennis pro Billie Jean King. From Dolores Huerta, who co-founded the United Farm Workers Association, to the transgender writer and youth advocate Kate Bornstein, each short biography celebrates a woman who made a difference. The book highlights diverse individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds and shares the stories how they became fighters and dreamers, the leaders and innovators of American history.

09/22/2015 - 11:50am
The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott

A dream to get out of the drudgery of domestic service led Tess to take a leap of faith and board the H.M.S. Titanic. She knew she had more to offer the world than cleaning her mistress’ dirty linen, so when the beautiful dress designer Lady Duff Gordon agrees to take her on as a personal assistant,Tess is eager to become part of another, more glamorous life. In Kate Alcott’s The Dressmaker, Tess’ voyage veers from Cinderella story to disaster. Its aftermath will test her loyalties and love for two very different men.

09/04/2015 - 12:36pm
If You Like The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

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. See all book matches here

 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams: A bulldozer is about to knock down Arthur Dent's home, but Earth is about to be destroyed anyways. Arthur may as well join his alien friend Ford Prefect on the intergalactic ride of his life. 

If you liked this title, you may also like the following books:

Another Roadside Attraction by Tom Robbins
A clairvoyant girl enthralled by the mysterious beauty of butterflies marries the son of Congo missionaries, and the newlyweds set up a roadside zoo.  (catalog description)


Bill, the Galatic Hero by Harry Harrison
It was the highest honor to defend the Empire against the dreaded Chingers, an enemy race of seven-foot-tall lizards. But Bill, a Technical Fertilizer Operator from a planet of farmers, wasn't interested in honor-he was only interested in two things: his chosen career, and the shapely curves of Inga-Maria Calyphigia. Then a recruiting robot shanghaied him with knockout drops, and he came to in deep space, aboard the Empire warship Christine Keeler. And from there, things got even worse... From the sweltering fuse room aboard the Keeler, where he loses an arm while blasting a Chinger spaceship, to the Department of Sanitation far below the world-city of Helior, where he finds peace, job security, and unlimited is Bill, a pure-hearted fool fighting a deluxe cast of robots, androids, and aliens in a never-ending losing battle to preserve his humanity while upholding the glory of the Empire. (catalog summary) (Also, try his Stainless Steel Rat series)

09/02/2015 - 2:46am
Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
One auspicious day, long-time widow Addie Moore presents her neighbor, Louis Waters, with an unexpected proposition. She asks him outright if he’d consider spending his nights at her house…in her bed. She assures him she’s not expecting an intimate relationship but was hoping they might share their lives, and, more importantly, keep each other company through what had become an endless string of lonely nights.

09/01/2015 - 10:46am
Longbourn by Jo Baker

What would Jane Austen’s delicate world look like from the point of view of the young woman who launders the family’s linen? Life at Longbourn can be as raw as Sarah the housemaid’s hands as she lugs buckets of water across an icy courtyard. It’s not that the Bennet family isn’t well-liked by their servants. It’s simply that there’s a world of difference between what goes on above and below stairs, as Jo Baker deftly shows in her award-winning novel.

08/28/2015 - 3:09pm
We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

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.

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver: "The mother of an incarcerated teenager who murdered seven of his fellow high school students tells of his upbringing and her own shortcomings in a series of letters to her estranged husband."

If you liked We Need to Talk About Kevin, you may  enjoy the following titles:

Eye Contact by Cammie McGovern
A young girl has been murdered and the only witness is a child who cannot tell what he saw In the woods of a small town, Adam, a nine-year-old autistic boy, is discovered hiding near to the body of his classmate. They both wandered off from the school playground several hours earlier, and now the police are relying on Adam as the only witness to an appalling crime. But he can’t tell the police what he saw —or what he heard. Barely verbal on the best of days, Adam has retreated into a silent world that Cara, his mother, knows only too well.With her community in shock and her son unable to help with the police investigation, Cara tries to decode the puzzling events. (catalog description)

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
With effortless grace, celebrated author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie illuminates a seminal moment in modern African history: Biafra's impassioned struggle to establish an independent republic in southeastern Nigeria during the late 1960s. We experience this tumultuous decade alongside five unforgettable characters: Ugwu, a thirteen-year-old houseboy who works for Odenigbo, a university professor full of revolutionary zeal; Olanna, the professor's beautiful young mistress who has abandoned her life in Lagos for a dusty town and her lover's charm; and Richard, a shy young Englishman infatuated with Olanna's willful twin sister Kainene.(catalog description)

08/27/2015 - 2:42am
Not Every Princess by Jeffrey Bone and Lisa Bone, illustrated by Valeria Decampo

From pirates flying kites to superheroes rescuing kittens, Not Every Princess transforms the usual suspects of children’s literature into something delightful and new.


Subscribe to Shelf Life Blog