Shelf Life Blog

Paris in the Spring with Picasso by Joan Yolleck

Paris in the Spring with Picasso

Imagine receiving an invitation to a soiree at the home of Gertrude Stein--number 27 Rue de Fleurus in Paris.  If you read Paris in the Spring with Picasso, by Joan Yolleck, you will feel as if you have.  This is an imaginary tale written by the author after a trip to the library where she passed the time reading about Stein.  She created a story about famous artists and authors as they prepare for an evening's festivities.  The young reader is introduced to such characters as Pablo Picasso and Alice B. Toklas.

Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay

Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay

Under Heaven, by Guy Gavriel Kay, is neither historical fiction nor fantasy, but a fascinating blend of both. Carefully researched details of life in China during the Tang Dynasty blend with ghosts and folkloric beings come to life to provide a rich, satisfying backdrop to a gripping story.

Shen Tai spends two years of official mourning for his father, burying the battle dead from both sides at a remote site in the mountains. Kay’s description brings the setting to life complete with the eerie sense of the spirits of the dead haunting the battlefield until their bones are laid to rest. Tai knows he has buried one of the restless ghosts when he no longer hears it calling out in the night. But Tai’s private mourning draws royal attention and a gift that will either make his fortune or destroy him.

The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger

The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger

The following is an email conversation between two CRRL library staff members, Craig and Mercy, about Audrey Niffenegger's graphic novel for adults, The Night Bookmobile. The Night Bookmobile "tells the story of a wistful woman who one night encounters a mysterious disappearing library on wheels that contains every book she has ever read. Seeing her history and most intimate self in this library, she embarks on a search for the bookmobile. But her search turns into an obsession, as she longs to be reunited with her own collection and memories." (Book summary)

-----Original Message-----
From: Mercedes Sais
Sent: Thursday, March 10, 2011 5:58 PM
To: Craig Graziano
Subject: Perusal

Hey Craig,
Would you peruse The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger and tell me what you think? I am not a connoisseur of graphic novels, but this one disturbed me in its view of the reading life.

I love her Time Traveler’s Wife and was intrigued by Her Fearful Symmetry but this one...

Mercy
 


-----Original Message-----
From: Craig Graziano
Sent: Thursday, March 10, 2011 6:01 PM
To: Mercedes Sais
Subject: RE: Perusal

Sure Mercy, I put it on hold and will tell you what I think of it.

Craig
 


 

-----Original Message-----
From: Mercedes Sais
Sent: Tuesday, March 15, 2011 1:56 PM
To: Craig Graziano
Subject: RE: Perusal

Craig, let's do a duet blog with our email responses to The Night Bookmobile. What do you think?

The book says "dark" from the beginning with the title. Even the colors chosen are not primary colors often chosen for children's books so you know it's an adult novel. Plus no regular bookmobile comes late at night. Alexandra is a creature of the night.

Mercy
 

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

In Clockwork Angel, Cassandra Clare returns to the world she created in her series, The Mortal Instruments. Clockwork Angel, the first installment in the new Infernal Devices series, is set in London, several hundred years before the events in City of Bones. Tessa, an American, is called to London by her brother, only to find him missing and herself a captive, embroiled in a dark world of demons, warlocks, vampires and Nephilim, those descendants of angels who strive to protect the world from the forces of evil.

The London Clave that shelters Tessa is also home to three orphaned Nephilim, each apparently with secrets of their own. The attraction between Tessa and fiery Will takes center stage. But the quiet, mysterious Jem also falls for her, as Will pushes her away. Which handsome young man will get the girl in the end? Can a Team-Jem versus Team-Will fan split be far off?

If You Like The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

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 Devil Wears Prada: "Here we meet Andrea Sachs, a recent Ivy League graduate hoping to break into the magazine business, with her ultimate goal being a job at the New Yorker. She accepts an entry-level position at Runway as personal assistant to the editor, Miranda Priestley (rumored to be based on Vogue's Anna Wintour). However, her new job has nothing to do with writing or editing, and everything to do with predicting and fulfilling every outrageous whim her prima donna boss might have. While the job makes incredible demands on Sachs' personal life, the perks are undeniable: rubbing elbows with celebrities, being outfitted in designer clothes, and jetting off to Paris for fashion shows."

If you enjoyed the The Devil Wears Prada you may like these titles:

Bad Heir Day by Wendly Holden.
Anna is a struggling novelist who is thrown for a loop when her bad-news (but oh-so handsome and wealthy) boyfriend kicks her to the curb. She ends up as a nanny for an eight year old who she is sure is Satan's pup.



 

Bergdorf Blondes by Plum Sykes
This novel somehow humanizes those ultra-thin, ultra-trendy, spendaholic New Yorkers that we all love to hate.

 


 

Cloudette by Tom Lichtenheld

Cloudette

In Cloudette, by Tom Lichtenheld, a smaller than average cloud is happy and well-adjusted to her life in the sky. Being small gives her all sorts of advantages such as cute nicknames, great hiding places and the best view of the fireworks. But when the big clouds sail off to create storms and to water the fields, Cloudette gets the urge to do something big and important, too. So off she goes to find a job.

She could work at the firehouse or the garden center or even at the car wash. But nothing works out until she comes across a dry, barren patch of ground that used to be a pond. Cloudette has an idea! She puffs herself up until she becomes a rain cloud and finally discovers a job just right for a little cloud.

The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook: Vegetarian Recipes Carnivores Will Devour by Kim O’Donnel

The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook

You don’t have to be a vegetarian to love this cookbook! Whether you want to eat more healthily by reducing the amount of meat you eat or just are looking for tasty ways to get your recommended five-a-day of fruit and vegetables, this cookbook really satisfies. The inspiration for The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook: Vegetarian Recipes Carnivores Will Devour began when Kim O’Donnel, a self-confessed carnivore, decided to try following the recommendation to eat meatless meals once a week. She discovered that vegetable-based meals do not have to be a sacrifice, but can be exciting and tasty, so much so that you won’t miss the meat.

The recipes are written for the beginner to advanced-beginner cook “with an adventurous spirit.” The book is arranged seasonally, with 52 menus plus a Wild Card section with basic recipes that can be mixed and matched or paired with one of the menus for a more substantial meal. Directions are clear, and the tone throughout is encouraging. O’Donnel makes liberal use of spices and seasonings to liven up flavors, but the recipes are easily adjusted to suit individual tastes. If you don’t like hot food, reduce the amount of curry powder you use.

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah A. Harkness

A Discovery of Witches

Witch Diana Bishop and vampire Matthew Clairmont in A Discovery of Witches are the Romeo and Juliet of the supernatural world. This is a book about the powers of magic, books, and love. The novel is clever, well-written, and romantic.

The two meet in Oxford’s Bodeleian Library when Diana, a Yale historian, is doing research and accidently calls up an ancient, powerful manuscript which explains the origins of witches, vampires and demons—and may show how to destroy them, too. She has spent her life denying the magical side of her nature in favor of reason, but when dangerous undead characters start to harass her to get the manuscript, she needs help.

Hero by Mike Lupica

Hero by Mike Lupica

Fourteen-year-old Zach Harriman lives in New York City with his mother and father.  He has been living the life of a typical teen until his father is killed under mysterious circumstances. In Mike Lupica's book Hero, Zach decides that following the devastating loss of his father, he wants to get to the bottom of the story.  He knows that his father was powerful and had the ear of the President of the United States.  He knows that his father was very skilled in his job of "getting things done."  Zach suspects that his father's death was no accident but a premeditated murder by an organization known as the "bads."

Zach's mother decides to throw herself into the presidential campaign for the candidate that Zach's father supported.  Though Zach supports his mother's political efforts, he decides to turn his energies towards the investigation of his father's death.  He starts asking questions.  He also begins to notice that he is being followed.  While walking though Central Park he is approached by a mysterious stranger who has information for him.  When Zach tells his beloved Uncle John about this man, he warns him to stay away from the stranger.  Who should Zach believe?

If You Like One for the Money by Janet Evanovich

Books by Janet Evanovich

 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.

One for the Money by Janet Evanovich: "Watch out, world. Here comes Stephanie Plum, a bounty hunter with attitude. In Stephanie's opinion, toxic waste, rabid drivers, armed schizophrenics, and August heat, humidity, and hydrocarbons are all part of the great adventure of living in Jersey.She's a product of the "burg," a blue-collar pocket of Trenton where houses are attached and narrow, cars are American, windows are clean, and (God forbid you should be late) dinner is served at six.Now Stephanie's all grown up and out on her own, living five miles from Mom and Dad's, doing her best to sever the world's longest umbilical cord. Her mother is a meddler, and her grandmother is a few cans short of a case.Out of work and out of money, with her Miata repossessed and her refrigerator empty, Stephanie blackmails her bail bondsman cousin, Vinnie, into giving her a try as an apprehension agent. Stephanie knows zilch about the job requirements, but she figures her new pal, fearless bounty hunter Ranger, can teach her what it takes to catch a crook.Her first assignment: nail Joe Morelli, a former vice cop on the run from a charge of murder one."

If you like Janet Evanovich's character Stephanie Plum and want some other book suggestions with plucky, smart mouthed gals, have we got some suggestions for you! All of these characters are the type you just KNOW you could be good friends to bond with over pizza and beer!

Most of these titles are parts of a series. To see the titles in series order, you might want to check out "What's Next," a database maintained by the Kent District Library in Michigan. This is a wonderful and easy to use way to find out the exact order for series. Go to http://www.kdl.org and click on the "What's Next" link.


A is For Alibi by Sue Grafton
Sue Grafton's "alphabet" mysteries featuring P.I. Kinsey Millhone are popular favorites. Kinsey is woman you'd like to know.

 

 


Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by M. C. Beaton
Agatha Raisin is a middle-aged businesswoman who decides to chuck it all and move to a cottage in the Cotswolds. She finds that a bucolic life in the English coutnryside is not her style, but luckily a murder stirs things up in the village.