Shelf Life Blog
Brooklyn is a tough place to grow up in the early part of the 20th century. It’s made of immigrant families struggling to get by. Young Francie Nolan, half German and half Irish, adores her handsome father, the sometime singing waiter, and her more hard-minded mother who scrubs floors and does much to give her kids a better life. But, uneducated as her parents are, they have few choices and huge problems that a bright girl like Francie can certainly see.
The whistle tweets, and the Roller Derby begins. The skaters weave, crash and roll, wowing twelve-year-old Astrid with their speed and power. In that moment, Astrid realizes that she must become a Roller Girl.
This readalike is in response to a customer'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.
Dune by Frank Herbert: "Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, who would become the mysterious man known as Maud'dib. He would avenge the traitorous plot against his noble family-and would bring to fruition humankind's most ancient and unattainable dream."
If you enjoyed Dune, you may enjoy these titles because of the detailed world-building, complex politics, and fascinating characters.
A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller
After nuclear war, a group of monks attempt to hold on to the last vestiges of civilization.
Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold
When engineer Leo Graf discovers that the genetically modified slaves he is training for an interstellar megacorporation are scheduled to be sterilized or killed, he is compelled to save them against his better judgement. He soon finds that no good deed goes unpunished!
In Snip Snap! What's That?, an alligator crawls out of the city sewers and into an apartment building. The three children inside Room Thirteen hear it creep up the stairs. The book takes a moment to ask the reader, "Were the children scared?"
Actor Arthur Leander has experienced a number of peaks and valleys in his lengthy Hollywood career. As he prepares to take the stage as King Lear in what will be his final performance, he’s hardly at the top of his game. Hard living and a separation from his only son have taken their toll, and Arthur succumbs to a heart attack as the audience watches. Kirsten, a young child also in the production, is traumatized by Arthur’s death and will remember this day far into the future.
A life-threatening health condition led Dee Williams, author of The Big Tiny: A Built-It-Myself Memoir, to make some unorthodox life decisions. In seeking the traditional American dream of being a homeowner, she buys a house—one with great potential, but in need of extensive TLC. Dee, a farm girl, is not intimidated by hard work, and gradually she transforms her fixer-upper into charming digs, complete with a lavish garden. Between maintaining her abode and traveling for her job as a state hazardous waste inspector, she has no time to simply luxuriate in little day-to-day pleasures. It’s not until she is diagnosed with heart failure in her early forties that she realizes how vital it is to change her priorities. She is no longer content to be a slave to house and yard work.
Karleen Koen’s Before Versailles is a splendidly rich story of romantic intrigue set in the early days of the Sun King’s rule. Louis XIV is a very young and handsome king. Newly-married to a virtuous if plain Spanish princess, he is determined to be true to his vows, but the ladies at court have other ideas—particularly his brother’s wife.
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.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence, and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina and quiet heroism of one man's struggle for justice, in this Pulitzer Prize-winning classic that has been translated into more than 40 languages.
If you like To Kill a Mockingbird, you may also like the following titles:
Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
Cry, the Beloved Country is the deeply moving story of the Zulu pastor Stephen Kumalo and his son, Absalom, set against the background of a land and a people riven by racial injustice. Remarkable for its lyricism, unforgettable for character and incident, Cry, the Beloved Country is a classic work of love and hope, courage and endurance, born of the dignity of man.
Freshwater Road by Denise Nicholas
When University of Michigan sophomore Celeste Tyree travels to Mississippi to volunteer her efforts in Freedom Summer, she's assigned to help register voters in the small town of Pineyville, a place best known for a notorious lynching that occurred only a few years earlier. As the long, hot summer unfolds, Celeste befriends several members of the community, but there are also those who are threatened by her and the change that her presence in the South represents.
Boy + Bot are two very different friends who share the same love of discovery. Boy encounters the robot in the woods while collecting pinecones and asks to play. "Affirmative!" the robot answers.
Welcome to Keyhouse: an unlikely New England mansion in Lovecraft, Massachusetts that opens doors to transformations that no one would ever expect—especially the new owners, the mourning Locke family. After their father Rendell is murdered in California, the grieving Mrs. Locke moves herself and her three school-aged children—Tyler, Kinsey, and young Bode—across the country to live with distant family.