Shelf Life Blog

06/05/2013 - 3:31am
Have You Seen Marie? cover

Have You Seen Marie? is a picture book, but it is aimed at adults. The author and illustrator created it as an attempt to help them deal with their grief, for each of them has lost a parent. 

The story is about Sandra Cisneros who suffered from depression after her mother’s death. Her doctor encouraged the author to take antidepressants, but she resisted taking medication. Her friend came to visit her and while there lost her cat, Marie. The act of trying to find her friend’s cat forced Cisneros out of the house and into the world again in order to help her friend. This picture book introduces all of her colorful neighbors as she tries to find Marie.

07/22/2015 - 4:41pm
Bloody Chester by J.T. Petty; Illustrated by Hilary Florido

Chester Kate's been hired to burn the town of Whale to the ground. Every last building must be razed so the railroad can push on through. Bloody Chester is about to make his mark in the only way he knows how. Maybe then everyone will stop using his other nickname: Lady Kate.

He doesn't have to worry about Whale's citizens. Most of them are already dead from the plague. They call the sickness Coyote Waits. "Waits" because it eats you from the inside. "Coyote" because...well because there's a lot of coyotes out there in the West. 

07/22/2015 - 4:40pm
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Right away Greg Gaines, the "Me" of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, fires a warning shot for readers unaware of what they are about to step into.

I learned absolutely nothing from Rachel's leukemia. In fact, I probably became stupider about life because of the whole thing.

05/31/2013 - 10:55am
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

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.

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter: "A novel that spans fifty years. The Italian housekeeper and his long-lost American starlet; the producer who once brought them together, and his assistant. A glittering world filled with unforgettable characters." (Book description)  

If you enjoyed this novel, here are some other titles you may enjoy:

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller
Surviving a pandemic disease that has killed everyone he knows, a pilot establishes a shelter in an abandoned airport hangar before hearing a random radio transmission that compels him to risk his life to seek out other survivors. (catalog description)



The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Traces the unlikely friendship of a wealthy Afghan youth and a servant's son in a tale that spans the final days of Afghanistan's monarchy through the atrocities of the present day. (catalog description)



07/22/2015 - 4:40pm
Shake, Rattle & Turn That Noise Down! by Mark Alan Stamaty

I have never liked getting haircuts. There is just too much room for miscommunication. Too much of a chance for a top-of-the-head surprise that won’t go away. Recently, I have figured out a way around any chance of miscommunication.

“Just make it look like Elvis.”

Shake, Rattle & Turn that Noise Down! is a beautifully illustrated coming-of-age story by Mark Alan Stamaty. He is best known as a political cartoonist, and here his caricatured drawings serve his personal story of discovering Elvis Presley, to the chagrin of his poor mother.

07/22/2015 - 4:40pm
The Late Shift by Bill Carter

When New York Times reporter Bill Carter recently broke the story that NBC was planning on gently escorting Tonight Show host Jay Leno out the door for a younger, fresher face, it felt a little like déjà vu. That's because the same decision happened about ten years ago.

Carter's definitely the most qualified person to reveal such information. The news made me seek out his book, The Late Shift. The title is a breakthrough account of the shake-up at NBC after Johnny Carson surprisingly announced his plan to retire within a year. The network famously snubbed their Late Night host, David Letterman by hiring Leno, who had been a successful guest host for the legendary Carson.

07/22/2015 - 4:39pm
Manhattan Projects Volume 1: Science Bad by Jonathan Hickman

I thought that Manhattan Projects was weird, and then the main characters stuck a cybernetic spike into Franklin Roosevelt's head, creating the world's first artificial intelligence.

Woe to anyone hoping that Jonathan Hickman's comic book series would be an accurate retelling of the construction of the atomic bomb. Sure, it gets mentioned from time to time.

The real driving force of Hickman's story, which ended up on many top comics lists last year, is the idea that the atomic bomb is just one of the hideous creations that super-geniuses Robert Oppenheimer, Albert Einstein, and Richard Feynman were working on. The other stuff... it ain't pretty.

05/27/2013 - 3:31am
Freakling by Lana Krumwiede

In Taemon's world, the community of Deliverance, all activity and actions take place through the use of telekenesis.For example, no hands are needed when eating. One simply lifts the food into one's mouth through the power of thought. In fact, it is considered unseemly to use one's hands at all in the book Freakling, by Lana Krumweide. Additionally, Taemon is able to harness his psi in a rather unconventional way. He is able to let his mind wander.  This enables him to see into the inner workings of things.  But allowing one's mind to wander is forbidden.Taemon is an out-of-the-box thinker in a world that wants to box everyone in.

05/24/2013 - 8:51am
The Dark by Lemony Snicket and illustrated by Jon Klassen

Fear of the dark is fear of the unknown. If you are unable to see what is out there, your imagination is quite adept at filling in the frightening gaps for you. 

The Dark, by Lemony Snicket and illustrated by Jon Klassen, focuses on Laszlo, a young boy who tries to preempt the dark from visiting his room at night by meeting it where it lives during the day, down in the basement. Poor Laszlo finds that his journey does little good after his nightlight burns out one evening. What's more, the dark wants to show Laszlo something.

05/22/2013 - 3:31am
Farmers Market Cookbook by Southern Living

Southern Living’s Farmers Market Cookbook has interesting, beautiful recipes that are not difficult for an ordinary cook to produce. This is to be expected as it is typical of anything from Southern Living’s magazines and cookbook lines. But what is different here is the book’s focus on vegetables, fruits, cheeses, and other foods that are available seasonally at local farmers markets. 


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