Shelf Life Blog
Count the Monkeys teases you with a seemingly easy challenge but quickly devolves into a slightly stranger counting book. We turn the first page to find that a dastardly king cobra has scared all our monkeys away. They keep one step ahead of the reader throughout the book, leading us on a wild chase!
Glorious fruit and vegetables are a hallmark of harvests, but what do you do when you want to preserve the tastes for other times? Traditionally, the answer was to “put up” or preserve these wonderful things for later, sometimes combining them creatively and adding spices. A day of canning meant piles of produce, dozens of jars, and steam filling the kitchen for hours—usually on a hot summer day. Marisa McClellan’s Preserving by the Pint presents a different way to do this wonderful, traditional cooking without such a huge commitment of time and storage space.
In The Crossover, by Kwame Alexander, Josh and his brother JB are the stars of their school basketball team. The sons of professional baller Charlie "Da Man" Bell are a force to be reckoned with. That is fine when Josh and JB work together, but trash talk, a family crisis, and a new girl is about to come between these two, making teamwork nearly impossible.
The Return of Zita the Spacegirl is Ben Hatke's bittersweet conclusion to his fantastic trilogy of outer space adventure. We find Zita imprisoned on the Dungeon World, sentenced there by a cruel villain with an ulterior motive. Zita has saved thousands of aliens and planets galore, but now Zita will need her friends help in saving her.
What would you do if you knew that a large asteroid would be hitting the Earth on a specific date just a few months in the future, with no way out, no place to hide? Would you keep working? Would your children go to school? What about food and fuel? What kind of existence would it be while everyone waited for the inevitable end? This is the terrifying dilemma facing the entire world in Ben Winters' novel Countdown City.
In a country that is trying to piece itself back together after a terrible civil war, baking cakes might not seem to be such an important thing to do. But these are not just any cakes, and Angel Tungaraza is not just any baker. Her cakes are meant for joy and celebration. Angel’s kitchen is a place where secrets are shared and hearts often reconciled in Gaile Parkin’s novel, Baking Cakes in Kigali.
March: Book One is the beautifully constructed graphic novel biography of Civil Rights activist and Congressman John Lewis. Relying only on black and white imagery, it is quiet in its form and presentation. Lewis' struggle of growing up in the Deep South, fighting to go to college, and helping to organize lunch counter sit-ins speaks volumes and needs no distraction.
We've all seen movie adaptations of our favorite books, but pop music album adaptations are far rarer. The Tragic Treasury is based on Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, and I would go as far to say that it far surpasses the movie in terms of both quality and matching Snicket's indelible tone.
First will ye Lie
Curst shall ye Crye
Worst must ye Die
They should have heeded the warning on the guard stone. But, no, through the years many people couldn’t resist the lure of riches though many died in trying to recover them. For in 1695, English pirate Edward Ockham had commanded his men bury his silver, gold, and jewels on an island off the coast of Maine. He didn’t just bury it deep in a simple hole in the ground. The pirate had his many thousand pounds of loot safely placed in a devious trap called the Water Shaft as is recounted in Riptide, by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.
Flight attendant Summer Benson heads to Black Dog Bay, Delaware, to recover from two disastrous events in her life: a terrifying airplane accident and a man who doesn’t love her enough to marry her. Full of humor, snappy dialogue, and lively characters, Cure for the Common Breakup is a perfect summer read to slip into your beach tote.