Shelf Life Blog

07/23/2015 - 12:37pm
Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads by Bob Shea and Lane Smith

Drywater Gulch is about to get gobsmacked by Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads. The Toad brothers are a lying, stealing, chili-insulting trio who have set their sights on the sleepy desert town. Thankfully, a hero is on his way...on the back of a tortoise.

07/22/2015 - 12:19pm
The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani

Eduardo and Ciro watched their beautiful, bereft mother leave them behind, not looking back once. Surely, they were now orphans. Abandoned to be raised at a nunnery in the Italian Alps, they would grow into good if very different young men with only one hope—to see their mother again.

06/16/2015 - 1:53am
The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian

Chip and Emily Linton decide to buy an old, mysterious Victorian house in the middle of White Mountain country, in upstate New Hampshire. The move isn’t exactly what they want—they would rather stay in the homey suburbs of Pennsylvania due to their two young, twin daughters, Garnett and Hailey.

However, Chip is the pilot who had no other choice but to try to land his 70-passenger 747 with double-engine failure on the crest of Lake Champlain. Unlike the famous “Miracle on the Hudson” event, Chip’s rescue plan does not go as he had planned. Thirty-nine passengers aboard died in the crash, including three children under the age of ten. Due to the massive trauma Chip has faced since that fateful August day, the Lintons decide to take their isolation elsewhere, starting afresh in the tiny mountain village.

06/12/2015 - 3:11pm
If you like Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

 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 spellbinding epic set in twelfth-century England, The Pillars of the Earth tells the story of Philip, prior of Kingsbridge, a devout and resourceful monk driven to build the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has known... of Tom, the mason who becomes his architect-a man divided in his soul... of the beautiful, elusive Lady Aliena, haunted by a secret shame... and of a struggle between good and evil that will turn church against state, and brother against brother." (Book summary)
 
If you like Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, try these other historical-fiction tales of the medieval world.
 
Agincourt by Bernard Cornwell
"Vividly re-creating the pageantry and violence of the 1400s, Cornwell takes readers into the heart of the soldiering class in this intimate retelling of the Battle of Agincourt. With a brisk pace and a brilliant evocation of everyday life, he details the brutality of war and the lives of the men who fought." (Booklist Online)

 
"Irving Stone's classic biographical novel in which both the artist and the man are brought to life in full. A masterpiece in its own right, this novel offers a compelling portrait of Michelangelo's dangerous, impassioned loves, and the God-driven fury from which he wrested the greatest art the world has ever known." (From the publisher)
 
07/22/2015 - 12:20pm
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Brooklyn is a tough place to grow up in the early part of the 20th century.  It’s made of immigrant families struggling to get by. Young Francie Nolan, half German and half Irish, adores her handsome father, the sometime singing waiter, and her more hard-minded mother who scrubs floors and does much to give her kids a better life. But, uneducated as her parents are, they have few choices and huge problems that a bright girl like Francie can certainly see.

07/23/2015 - 12:36pm
Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

The whistle tweets, and the Roller Derby begins. The skaters weave, crash and roll, wowing twelve-year-old Astrid with their speed and power. In that moment, Astrid realizes that she must become a Roller Girl

06/05/2015 - 7:45am
If You Like Dune by Frank Herbert

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.

Dune by Frank Herbert: "Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, who would become the mysterious man known as Maud'dib. He would avenge the traitorous plot against his noble family-and would bring to fruition humankind's most ancient and unattainable dream."

If you enjoyed Dune, you may enjoy these titles because of the detailed world-building, complex politics, and fascinating characters.

A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller
After nuclear war, a group of monks attempt to hold on to the last vestiges of civilization.


 

Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold
When engineer Leo Graf discovers that the genetically modified slaves he is training for an interstellar megacorporation are scheduled to be sterilized or killed, he is compelled to save them against his better judgement. He soon finds that no good deed goes unpunished!
 

07/23/2015 - 12:35pm
Snip Snap! What's That? by Mara Bergman and Illustrated by Nick Maland

In Snip Snap! What's That?, an alligator crawls out of the city sewers and into an apartment building. The three children inside Room Thirteen hear it creep up the stairs. The book takes a moment to ask the reader, "Were the children scared?"

07/21/2015 - 10:05am
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Actor Arthur Leander has experienced a number of peaks and valleys in his lengthy Hollywood career. As he prepares to take the stage as King Lear in what will be his final performance, he’s hardly at the top of his game. Hard living and a separation from his only son have taken their toll, and Arthur succumbs to a heart attack as the audience watches. Kirsten, a young child also in the production, is traumatized by Arthur’s death and will remember this day far into the future.

07/21/2015 - 10:05am
The Big Tiny: A Built-It-Myself Memoir by Dee Williams

A life-threatening health condition led Dee Williams, author of The Big Tiny: A Built-It-Myself Memoir, to make some unorthodox life decisions. In seeking the traditional American dream of being a homeowner, she buys a house—one with great potential, but in need of extensive TLC. Dee, a farm girl, is not intimidated by hard work, and gradually she transforms her fixer-upper into charming digs, complete with a lavish garden. Between maintaining her abode and traveling for her job as a state hazardous waste inspector, she has no time to simply luxuriate in little day-to-day pleasures. It’s not until she is diagnosed with heart failure in her early forties that she realizes how vital it is to change her priorities. She is no longer content to be a slave to house and yard work.

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