Shelf Life Blog
When I Was the Greatest is Jason Reynolds' first novel, but his voice is already fully-formed. He guides us through the life of Ali, a teenager living in Brooklyn, the non-Cosby part. Ali's mom complains about white gentrification raising the price of rent, but Ali does not fully follow.
I don't really get that. I mean, if I'm in a restaurant, and I order some food, and a white person walks in, all of a sudden I have to pay more for my meal? Makes no sense, but that's what she says.
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Perfume by Patrick Suskind: Set in 18th-century France, Perfume relates the fascinating and horrifying tale of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, a person as gifted as he was abominable. Born without a smell of his own but endowed with an extraordinary sense of smell, Grenouille becomes obsessed with procuring the perfect scent that will make him fully human. With brilliant narrative skill Susskind exposes the dark underside of the society through which Grenouille moves and explores the disquieting inner universe of this singularly possessed man.
If you enjoyed this title, here are some other novels you may enjoy:
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis Patrick Bateman moves among the young and trendy in 1980s Manhattan. Young, handsome, and well educated, Bateman earns his fortune on Wall Street by day while spending his nights in ways we cannot begin to fathom. Expressing his true self through torture and murder, Bateman prefigures an apocalyptic horror that no society could bear to confront.
George has a problem. He wants to be good. He knows how good dogs are supposed to act. They are not supposed to devour entire cakes that have been left on the table. They should probably leave any cats alone...dirt, too. George knows what he should do. He just doesn't do it. Oh No, George! by Chris Haughton, brings his eternal struggle to life.
In The Lost Sisterhood, Anne Fortier reinvents the Amazons’ story in a well-plotted novel, following the parallel paths of the original Amazon Queen Myrina and her tribe in the past and that of Oxford lecturer and philologist Diana Morgan in the present.
They were only going to be there a week on the deserted Icelandic island. It sounded like it could be a great adventure, even without electricity. The three of them, husband and wife Garðar and Katrin along with beautiful, spoiled Lif, had decided to renovate an old cottage. The place in summer was amazing, teeming with tourists so the house is a potential rental gold mine. Yet in the winter, not a living soul is to be found. I Remember You, by Yrsa Sigurdardóttir, begins with only a hint of the chilling disasters to follow.
Many novels with animal protagonists go to great lengths to anthropomorphize them, giving them names, extensive language, and culture that strongly resemble those of humans. Paleontologist Robert Bakker goes the opposite route with his novel Raptor Red. He creates a primeval world viewed through the eyes of dinosaurs and other creatures of the Early Cretaceous epoch.
"Everyone was perfectly fine with the way things were. Everyone but Mr. Tiger."
Mr. Tiger Goes Wild takes on proper behavior and tears it to shreds. At the beginning of Peter Brown's picture book, four-legged animals walk stiffly upright, wear suits, dresses, top hats, and bonnets. Elephants, bears, and deer all have perfect posture. Every house on the block looks exactly the same, and our striped protagonist is sick of it.
Modern Vampires of the City is perhaps the catchiest, most joyous-sounding album to explore death that I have ever heard. The third release from collegiate prep rockers Vampire Weekend shows emotional and musical growth as lead singer Ezra Koening struggles with his own mortality.
It was Melander’s silver tongue that got the others to try to run, or rather paddle, 1200 miles to a new life. All four Swedes wanted the same—to be away from the boredom and poverty of their years-long indentures. Melander had been a sailor before being put to cut wood at New Archangel in Russian North America, and the icy waters beckoned to him.
The two others he wanted were a stolid woodsman and hunter named Karlsson and an uncommonly sweet-faced thief named Braaf. The fourth, well, he tumbled to the plan and what could the rest do? Obnoxious wind-bag though he was.
Level Up's title is a video game reference, but it is also a metaphor for accepting responsibility and gaining maturity as one ages, which are qualities that Dennis Ouyang needs serious help with.
From the first time Dennis ever saw a Pac Man console as a child, he was mesmerized by the power that video games had. The idea of endless entertainment, based on skill and incredibly interactive, transfixes him.