Shelf Life Blog

10/31/2012 - 1:45pm
Where We Belong by Emily Giffin

Marian Caldwell has it all. She’s the producer of a critically-acclaimed TV show. She’s deeply in love with Peter (a powerful player in the entertainment world), who also happens to reciprocate her feelings. She’s gorgeous, lives in a penthouse with stunning views of NYC and never thinks twice about dropping big bucks for haute couture. But in Emily Giffin’s latest novel, Where We Belong, Marion is harboring a secret she’s kept for eighteen years.

10/29/2012 - 8:28am
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Despite being thought of primarily as an author of adult-oriented literature, Neil Gaiman has published several young adult titles over his career, including MirrorMask, M Is for Magic, and The Books of Magic.  One of his best loved YA titles was Coraline, published in 2002.  Coraline’s imaginative plot, memorable characters and evocative illustrations by Dave McKean made it a modern classic of YA literature, and an excellent film adaptation was released in 2009. Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book follows in the footsteps of Coraline and presents another vivid journey into a richly imaginative fantasy world. 

11/05/2012 - 12:58pm
Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice

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.

Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice: Here are the confessions of a vampire. Hypnotic, shocking, and chillingly erotic, this is a novel of mesmerizing beauty and astonishing force-a story of danger and flight, of love and loss, of suspense and resolution, and of the extraordinary power of the senses.

If you enjoyed Interview with the Vampire you might also like these books:

American Gods by Neil Gaiman
From the Publisher: "Shadow dreamed of nothing but leaving prison and starting a new life. But the day before his release, his wife and best friend are killed in an accident. On the plane home to the funeral, he meets Mr. Wednesday-a beguiling stranger who seems to know everything about him. A trickster and rogue, Mr. Wednesday offers Shadow a job as
his bodyguard. With nowhere left to go, Shadow accepts, and soon learns that his role in Mr. Wednesday's schemes will be far more dangerous and dark than he could have ever imagined. For beneath the placid surface of everyday life a war is being fought-and the prize is the very soul of America."

Indigo by Graham Joyce
Annotation from Amazon.com: "It is a color the human eye cannot truly see, a slice of the spectrum imbued with the promise of invisibility. But for Jack Chambers, the son of a scientist renowned as both a genius and a madman, it will lead to places of unknown treachery. As executor of his estranged-father's will, Jack is appointed two ominous tasks: publish Timothy Chambers' bizarre manuscript Invisibility: A Manual of Light, and track down an unknown woman who stands to inherit the substantial estate. Jack's mission leads him to reunite with his half-sister, Louise, now grown into a stunning woman. Bound by a tense attraction, Jack and Louise head to Rome, where a cultlike group pursues the intoxicating secrets of the elusive indigo -- and where Jack perceives its horrid danger only when it's too late."

10/24/2012 - 3:31am
Slan by A.E. Van Vogt

It can be difficult for some modern audiences to remember at what point in American history science fiction began to be taken seriously as a subgenre.  Many works are credited as early classics of “serious” science fiction, from Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End to Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series, but they are all predated by A.E. Van Vogt’s thriller Slan, originally published in 1940.

10/23/2012 - 3:30am
Locke and Key book covers

Here’s all you need to know: not since Neil Gaiman’s brilliant Sandman series have a I found a work of graphic fiction to be so engrossing and moving as I find Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez’s Locke and Key to be. Joe Hill’s story and Gabriel Rodriguez’s art come together in a way that I’m not certain any other collaborative comic project will be able to match.  If you like brilliant, emotional, and very dark, creepy storytelling at its finest, you must start reading Locke and Key right now.

10/22/2012 - 7:41am
Now Is the Time for Running

Deo and his brother Innocent live in a village in Zimbabwe.  One day when they are outside in their village playing soccer, trucks with soldiers aboard arrive armed with guns. In the book Now is the Time for Running by Michael Williams, an ordinary day that started with soccer games with friends ends with tragedy and carnage. Deo and Innocent are the only surviving members of their village. Everyone else has been murdered by the soldiers. The brothers must secretly leave the village and try to find safety elsewhere. The brothers manage to escape only after Innocent convinces Deo to go back and retrieve his "Bix box" that contains all his prized possessions. Deo has his soccer ball which is stuffed with money.

Deo and Innocent must make their way to South Africa where they can work, go back to school, and find their father. The only clue they have to his whereabouts is a crumpled picture of him standing in front of a truck with a phone number on it.

10/19/2012 - 8:29am
The Passage by Justin Cronin

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.

The Passage by Justin Cronin: A security breach at a secret U.S. government facility unleashes the monstrous product of a chilling military experiment that only six-year-old orphan Amy Harper Bellafonte can stop.

If you enjoyed this book's mixture of suspense and characterization within a horror novel, here are some other titles you may enjoy:

Cell by Stephen King Civilization doesn't end with a bang or a whimper. It ends with a call on your cell phone. What happens on the afternoon of October 1 came to be known as the Pulse, a signal sent though every operating cell phone that turns its user into something...well, something less than human. Savage, murderous, unthinking-and on a wanton rampage. Terrorist act? Cyber prank gone haywire? It really doesn't matter, not to the people who avoided the technological attack. What matters to them is surviving the aftermath. Before long a band of them-"normies" is how they think of themselves-have gathered on the grounds of Gaiten Academy, where the headmaster and one remaining student have something awesome and terrifying to show them on the school's moonlit soccer field. Clearly there can be no escape. The only option is to take them on. (worldcat.org)
 

Dead of Night by Jonathan Maberry Injected by a prison doctor with a formula designed to keep his consciousness awake after death, a condemned serial killer experiences unforeseen, contagious side effects and emerges from his grave to begin a murderous rampage that is combated by two small-town cops. (worldcat.org)




10/18/2012 - 3:31am
Ralph Masiello’s Halloween Drawing Book

During October, I start finding drawings of jack-o-lanterns, haunted houses, bat attacks and grotesque witches all over the house, which my kids draw in anticipation of Halloween. Some of these spooky scenes are quite elaborate, and we hang them up to do double-duty as Halloween decorations. Therefore, when I saw that we had recently added the new Ralph Masiello’s Halloween Drawing Book to our collection at the library, I put it on hold right away so our family could check it out.

10/17/2012 - 3:31am
One Perfect Day

In the United States, the word “wedding” tends to evoke certain associations. The mind automatically regurgitates images absorbed from films, commercials, and magazines: a glowing bride ensconced in layers of delicate white fabric gliding among tables festooned with elaborate decorations, decadent food, and thousands of dollars worth of fresh-cut flowers. In this fantasy, money is no object, happiness is guaranteed, and future contentment seems likely. But how did such an extravagant, illogical vision become normative? Why are weddings consuming people's lives and bank accounts to such an extreme degree? These are the questions Rebecca Mead explores in One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding.

As Mead describes her excursions to bridal shows, wedding planner conventions, Aruba (a popular locale for destination weddings), and a Chinese factory that mass produces bridal gowns, she both contextualizes and deconstructs the fantastical visions of beauty and perfection which generally dominate our sense of the American wedding. Even if you aren't planning a wedding, it's difficult to avoid the current glut of wedding-themed media. Wedding cake decorators feature prominently on TV shows that compete with Say Yes to the Dress and A Wedding Story. Each year it seems more and more books and magazines are dedicated to offering advice on how to fully enjoy an ice sculpture center piece or perfectly match the flower girl's shoes to the bride's sister's earrings.

10/16/2012 - 3:32am
Jar City by Arnaldur Indridason

Arnaldur Indridason's Jar City: A Reykjavik Thriller, the first of a series starring Inspector Erlendur, is a gripping crime novel set in the insular world of Reykjavik, Iceland, where the climate is unforgiving and murder is a relatively rare phenomenon. 

An elderly man, Holberg, is found murdered in his city flat, and, unlike most murders in Iceland that are crimes of passion, Erlendur and his colleagues Sigrinudur Oli and Elinborg quickly realize that this is not going to be a typical murder investigation, especially since the only clues are a cryptic note stating, “I am HIM” and the photograph of a young girl’s grave.

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