Shelf Life Blog

Crashers by Dana Haynes

Crashers cover

A patron called me this week to say that he loved Crashers, by Dana Haynes, so much that he didn’t even want to stop the audio book to go to sleep at night!  That is an excellent endorsement!  He wanted more books by this author, and we found out that this was the debut novel of Dana Haynes.

It is about an airliner that crashes outside of Portland, Oregon, and a team of experts assembled to investigate the cause of the crash. Some of the members of the team are: Kiki Duvall, a “sonar witch”--a recorder specialist who can hear things that other people cannot; John Roby, a former cop and bomb expert; Walter Mulroney who can build any plane given the right number of bolts; engineer Peter Kim, pilot  and former F.B.I. agent Isaiah Grey; pathologist Tommy Tomzak; and the leader,  Susan Tanaka who is an intergovernmental liason.  They soon discover that this plane crash was no accident--it was a trial run. 

Suck Your Stomach In & Put Some Color On! What Southern Mamas Tell Their Daughters That the Rest of Y'all Should Know, too! by Shellie Rushing Tomlinson

Suck Your Stomach In & Put Some Color On!

I loved my Southern Mama and my Southern Grandma, so when I found Suck in Your Stomach In and Put Some Color On! I knew that I would love it, too.  It is chock full of wisdom from mothers across the South--plus a running commentary by the author which is hysterical!

There are such wonderful pearls of wisdom as:

"My mom’s advice on raising children:  ‘If it washes off or grows out, it doesn’t hurt anyone.  Don’t worry about it!’”

“Mama said, ‘Just because it fits doesn’t mean you oughta wear it.’”

“My mama told me ladies never answered the door barefoot!”

“My grandmother advised me to marry a man my age or a little younger, ‘because they don’t improve with age.’  I now know what she meant.’”

Young Fredle by Cynthia Voigt; illustrated by Louise Yates

Young Fredle by Cynthia Voigt; illustrated by Louise Yates

Young Fredle grows up repeatedly hearing the rules about how mice behave. Sometimes it seems like life between the walls of the kitchen is nothing but rules. One of the most important rules is that mice don’t change. But that doesn’t dampen Fredle’s curiosity and sense of adventure. Finally, his mother’s predictions come true, and his curious nature and sweet tooth get Fredle in deep trouble. And so Fredle finds himself Outside.

Brain Jack by Brian Falkner

Brain Jack by Brian Falkner

Let me get this out of the way: if you're not a "computer person," someone with more than a vague knowledge of computer networking technology, Brain Jack, by Brian Falkner, is probably not the book for you. If, however, you ARE such a person, Brain Jack will start off as the kind of thriller that you think you will love, but its ending, like so many other cyber-thrillers, feels rushed and absurd. Don’t get me wrong--you'll enjoy reading it, but don't expect anything too deep from this book.  

Sam is the generic hero of our story. He's 17; he's a computer prodigy; and he's going to save the country from itself. The world of Brain Jack is set only a few years into our future. Falkner does a good job of building a world that, initially, is entirely conceivable based on our present. Computer technology is even more prevalent, and its consequences all the more potent. Las Vegas has been the victim of a nuclear attack that has left it in ruins, and the rest of the country is decaying under strict martial conditions.

If you like Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

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.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte: A novel about the problems of a young governess, whose love affair with her master is terminated when the terrifying mystery surrounding the upper rooms of their home is exposed.

If you enjoyed this book's combination of romance and mystery themes and are interested in similar works from the time period, here are some other titles you may enjoy:

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
The Moonstone is an ancient Indian diamond which brings disaster to everyone who owns it. Rachel Verinder's uncle gives her the diamond as a birthday present, but that same night it is stolen. (worldcat.org)

 



The Mysteries of Udolpho
by Ann Radcliffe
Orphan Emily St. Aubert finds herself separated from the man she loves and confined within the medieval castle of her aunt's new husband, Montoni. Inside the castle, she must cope with an unwanted suitor, Montoni's threats, and the wild imaginings and terrors that threaten to overwhelm her. (worldcat.org)


 

Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle by Claire A. Nivola

Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle by Claire A. Nivola

From the time she was quite young, Sylvia Earle loved the outdoors. She spent her early childhood on a farm in New Jersey exploring the animals and plants around her. Her family moved to Florida when Sylvia was twelve, to a home with a backyard on the Gulf of Mexico. Once Sylvia began exploring the waters of the Gulf, she found her life’s calling. Throughout her career as an oceanographer, Sylvia has been driven to push the boundaries of the possible in order to find out more about the underwater world she loves so much.

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt

This book has a brilliant title: The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt. The oxymoron continues in the characters, the plot and the language—its poetic style contrasts with the violence of the Old West.  It’s a Western but with twists on the genre; the novel has brutality mixed with moments of sweetness and humor. 

The main characters are killers with bruised pasts: Charlie Sisters is the epitome of Old West: brutal, money-hungry and cold; Eli Sisters, the narrator of the tale, loves to give away his money, has a soft heart for barmaids, and is questioning his profession and his future.  Eli loves his poor excuse for a horse, Tub, and embraces dental hygiene!

Shambling Towards Hiroshima by James Morrow

Shambling Towards Hiroshima by James Morrow

Shambling Towards Hiroshima is a brisk and inventive novel that incorporates elements of science fiction, humor, historical fiction, and moody introspection. James Morrow utilizes these disparate narrative modes in order to portray the life story of a B-movie actor named Syms Thorley. Thorley has spent most of his screen time bringing monsters to life. His devoted fans fondly remember him as “Kha-Ton-Ra the living mummy, Corpuscula the alchemical creature, and Gorgantis, King of the Lizards.” However, no one suspects that Gorgantis, a grotesque fire- breathing lizard, originated as a top secret military project designed to swiftly end World War II.

The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi

The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi

Mahlia and Mouse are War Maggots, children orphaned by endless bloodshed across future America. The seas have risen and many of our large East-Coast cities have struggled to keep functioning. That struggle leads to violence, the kind of which leaves only the young to deal with the consequences. These child soldiers have inherited and will fight to control The Drowned Cities.

Author Paulo Bacigalupi slammed onto the young adult scene two years back with Ship Breaker. Resources are depleted. Oil is gone. New Orleans has been destroyed by hurricanes and rebuilt multiple times. Nailer, a boy hired to scavenge scrap metal in massive retired oil tankers, manages to find a path to a better life. Nailer desperately tried to take that path, despite opposition from ruthless vultures, specifically his drunken, abusive father.

Chomp by Carl Hiaasen

Chomp by Carl Hiaasen

Wahoo Cray’s yard is a zoo, literally. That’s where his dad, Mickey, keeps all of their animals, including pythons, monkeys, and an alligator named Alice. Mickey is the best animal wrangler in Florida...or he was until he got hit on the head by a frozen iguana. Since then he hasn’t been able to work. Money is so tight that Mickey accepts a job offer from the Expedition Survival TV series with Wahoo as his assistant. Things get off to a bad start when the show’s bumbling but egotistical star, Derek Badger, gets bitten by a snapping turtle and then an alligator. And that’s before he even leaves the safety of the Cray’s yard in Chomp by Carl Hiaasen.