Shelf Life Blog

07/21/2015 - 10:13am
Alena by Rachel Pastan

She had no idea when she accepted the curator position at the Nauk—an innovative Cape Cod gallery dedicated to emerging artists—that a dead woman would thwart her at every turn. 

05/19/2014 - 3:00am
Prisoners in the Palace

They very nearly had to pry Liza out of the expensive London hotel. Surrounded by mementoes of her loving but tragically deceased family, the pretty, young girl had gone from a promising future to ruin. There was no money to even pay the hotel bill, and she had to sweet-talk the harrumphing manager into giving her cash for a hansom cab to follow up her only hope for sustaining herself—a job as a lady’s maid to Princess Victoria. But she could not know that very soon she and the princess would become Prisoners in the Palace.

07/24/2015 - 4:49pm
Hip Hop Family Tree by Ed Piskor

"Stepping in a rhythm to a Kurtis Blow. 
Who needs to think when your feet just go?"

                                                Tom Tom Club - The Genius of Love

Ed Piskor cannot rap or dance. He is no good with turntables or sampling. What Piskor can do is draw, which is why Hip Hop Family Tree is such an important testament to honoring the innovators and pioneers of the culture.

07/22/2015 - 1:36pm
The Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards

It happened again. The walls shook very hard and the singing bowls sounded on their own—as a warning or a meditation? Small earthquakes were normal in this part of Japan, but Lucy Jarrett never could get used to them. She had come to live in the village with her love Yoshi a few years ago. They had fallen for each other during a monsoon in another country, two very different people determined to make a private country of their own.

But things are changing now. Lucy can not find a job in her field of hydrology, and Yoshi is preoccupied with his corporate work. He looks at her closely one day and says she seems to be a very lonely person… and she realizes that she is.

07/22/2015 - 5:13pm
When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds

When I Was the Greatest is Jason Reynolds' first novel, but his voice is already fully-formed. He guides us through the life of Ali, a teenager living in Brooklyn, the non-Cosby part. Ali's mom complains about white gentrification raising the price of rent, but Ali does not fully follow.

I don't really get that. I mean, if I'm in a restaurant, and I order some food, and a white person walks in, all of a sudden I have to pay more for my meal? Makes no sense, but that's what she says.

07/22/2015 - 5:12pm
Oh No, George! by Chris Haughton

George has a problem. He wants to be good. He knows how good dogs are supposed to act. They are not supposed to devour entire cakes that have been left on the table. They should probably leave any cats alone...dirt, too. George knows what he should do. He just doesn't do it. Oh No, George! by Chris Haughton, brings his eternal struggle to life.

05/13/2014 - 2:52pm
The Lost Sisterhood by Anne Fortier

In The Lost Sisterhood, Anne Fortier reinvents the Amazons’ story in a well-plotted novel, following the parallel paths of the original Amazon Queen Myrina and her tribe in the past and that of Oxford lecturer and philologist Diana Morgan in the present.

07/22/2015 - 1:36pm
I Remember You—A Ghost Story by Yrsa Sigurdardóttir

They were only going to be there a week on the deserted Icelandic island. It sounded like it could be a great adventure, even without electricity. The three of them, husband and wife Garðar and Katrin along with beautiful, spoiled Lif, had decided to renovate an old cottage. The place in summer was amazing, teeming with tourists so the house is a potential rental gold mine. Yet in the winter, not a living soul is to be found. I Remember You, by Yrsa Sigurdardóttir, begins with only a hint of the chilling disasters to follow.

05/05/2014 - 3:01am
Raptor Red by Robert T. Bakker

Many novels with animal protagonists go to great lengths to anthropomorphize them, giving them names, extensive language, and culture that strongly resemble those of humans. Paleontologist Robert Bakker goes the opposite route with his novel Raptor Red. He creates a primeval world viewed through the eyes of dinosaurs and other creatures of the Early Cretaceous epoch.

07/22/2015 - 5:12pm
Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown

"Everyone was perfectly fine with the way things were. Everyone but Mr. Tiger."

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild takes on proper behavior and tears it to shreds. At the beginning of Peter Brown's picture book, four-legged animals walk stiffly upright, wear suits, dresses, top hats, and bonnets. Elephants, bears, and deer all have perfect posture. Every house on the block looks exactly the same, and our striped protagonist is sick of it.

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