Shelf Life Blog

08/03/2016 - 9:43am
Heroines of Mercy Street: The Real Nurses of the Civil War

Pamela J. Toler’s Heroines of Mercy Street is the true history behind the popular PBS series set in occupied Alexandria, Virginia, during the Civil War. Caveat here: I did read the book before watching a single episode. I found Toler’s narrative to be engaging and an excellent window to the time. With wildly varying levels of training (many, such as Louisa May Alcott, had only nursed family patients while another trained with celebrated British nurse Florence Nightingale), they all had a sense of duty and enthusiasm for the job that did not wane as the war ground on—though it did exhaust them and occasionally kill them.

08/01/2016 - 9:34am
If you like the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

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 other book matches here.

J. K. Rowling's much-loved epic tale of Harry Potter, an orphan who also happens to be a magician, starts with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: Rescued from the outrageous neglect of his aunt and uncle, a young boy with a great destiny proves his worth while attending Hogwarts School for Wizards and Witches.

This first book in Rowling's series is followed by Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and finally Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

 

 

 

 


 

Companion books to the Harry Potter series:

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the new play, the eighth story, nineteen years later:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

08/02/2016 - 10:33am
Southern Living's Farmers Market Cookbook

The farmer's market beckons us with spring's arugula, peas, and asparagus and continues its siren call until the fall's first frost. We return with bags overflowing with berries, new potatoes, sugar snap peas, and herbs to plant in the garden. Of course there are tried-and-true recipes that we fall back on each year to use up the produce, but new inspiration is always welcome. Southern Living's Farmer's Market Cookbook is a great resource for "celebrat[ing] the seasons with fresh-from-the-farm recipes."

07/29/2016 - 10:07am
If you like Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

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.

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India, and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert
In her early thirties, Elizabeth Gilbert had everything a modern American woman was supposed to want--husband, country home, successful career--but instead of feeling happy and fulfilled, she was consumed by panic and confusion. This wise and rapturous book is the story of how she left behind all these outward marks of success and set out to explore three different aspects of her nature, against the backdrop of three different cultures: pleasure in Italy, devotion in India, and on the Indonesian island of Bali, a balance between worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence. (catalog summary)

There have been some wonderful books with the theme of self-discovery through travel, as in Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Their journeys have been life-changing for them and perhaps also for the reader.

If you liked Eat, Pray, Love, then you may also like these titles:

Arctic Dreams: Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape by Barry Lopez
Set amidst the shimmering seas of Northern ice, Arctic Dreams leads readers on a journey of the mind and heart into a place that grips the imagination and invigorates the soul. Part adventure tale and part meditation on the art of exploration, this magical book dazzles with the wonder of the aurora borealis; the awesome power of polar bears and killer whales; the monumental grandeur of migrating icebergs; and the beauty and nobility of the Arctic's indigenous people. Evocative and everlasting, Arctic Dreams is a classic. (catalog summary)


 



Blue Latitudes by Tony Horwitz
In an exhilarating tale of historic adventure, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Confederates in the Attic retraces the voyages of Captain James Cook, the Yorkshire farm boy who drew the map of the modern world. Captain James Cook's three epic journeys in the 18th century were the last great voyages of discovery. His ships sailed 150,000 miles, from the Arctic to the Antarctic, from Tasmania to Oregon, from Easter Island to Siberia. When Cook set off for the Pacific in 1768, a third of the globe remained blank. By the time he died in Hawaii in 1779, the map of the world was substantially complete.Tony Horwitz vividly recounts Cook's voyages and the exotic scenes the captain encountered: tropical orgies, taboo rituals, cannibal feasts, human sacrifice. He also relives Cook's adventures by following in the captain's wake to places such as Tahiti, Savage Island, and the Great Barrier Reef to discover Cook's embattled legacy in the present day. Signing on as a working crewman aboard a replica of Cook's vessel, Horwitz experiences the thrill and terror of sailing a tall ship. (catalog summary)
 

07/28/2016 - 2:41pm
Mary on Horseback: Three Mountain Stories

This ad ran in the newspaper on April 7, 1925

ATTENTION! NURSE GRADUATES
with a sense of adventure! Your own horse, your own dog, and a thousand miles of Kentucky mountains to serve. Join my nurses’ brigade and help save children’s lives. Write to:

M. BRECKINRIDGE
Hyden, Kentucky, U.S.A.

It may have been the 20th century in the cities and towns, but in the Appalachian Mountains, it might as well have been the 18th century. Most medicine came from a granny-woman who did her best, but without knowing more or having modern medicines and equipment, a granny-woman’s best often wasn’t good enough to save lives.

Mary Breckinridge trained as a nurse in World War I and started the Frontier Nursing Service. To bring medical treatment to the people who needed it, her nurses would have to ride many miles and endure much hardship. But she and her nurses would also have to earn their trust, for mountain people are wary of outsiders.

07/26/2016 - 2:36pm
Death: A Life

“It can safely be said that no one has touched more lives, more deeply, than Death. Through this devastating memoir, it is hoped he will touch many, many more.” 

Have you ever wondered what Death’s real story was? Did he a childhood? A romance? How did he become Death?

In George Pendle’s hilarious new book, Death: A Life, Death reveals all. From his unusual childhood with his mother and father (respectfully, Sin and Satan) to his first experience taking a soul (a unicorn’s death, to be exact), Death relays his story.

07/26/2016 - 11:01am
If you like A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

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.

The Bad Beginning (Book One in A Series of Unfortunate Events): This series chronicles the unfortunate lives of the Baudelaire children: Violet, 14; Klaus, 12; and the infant, Sunny. In Bad Beginning, their parents and possessions perish in a fire, and the orphans must use their talents to survive as their lives move from one disastrous event to another. Surrounded by dim-witted though well-meaning adults, the Baudelaires find themselves in the care of their evil relative, Count Olaf, a disreputable actor whose main concern is getting his hands on the children's fortune. (Library Journal)

07/21/2016 - 1:52am
Cinnabar: The One O’clock Fox by Marguerite Henry

George Washington, like his English relatives before him, loved to ride horseback through the Northern Virginia fields, jumping over walls and fences, in pursuit of wily foxes. For foxes will grab a farmer’s chickens as a hearty meal, and George Washington was a farmer.

Cinnabar is a red fox who plays his part in the sport and hasn’t been caught yet, though, in this imaginative telling, he carefully keeps what he considers his appointments with the hunters at one o’clock. Told from the fox’s point of view, his happy return to his mate Vicky and his cubs is cause for sweet celebration.

07/28/2016 - 11:08am
If you like The Dark Tower series by Stephen King

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 other book matches here.

In 1978, Stephen King introduced the world to the last Gunslinger, Roland of Gilead. Nothing has been the same since. Over twenty years later, the quest for the Dark Tower continues to take readers on a wildly epic ride. Through parallel worlds and across time, Roland must brave desolate wastelands and endless deserts, drifting into the unimaginable and the familiar as the road to the Dark Tower extends beyond its own pages. A classic tale of colossal scope--crossing over terrain from The Stand, The Eyes of the Dragon, Insomnia, The Talisman, Black House, Hearts in Atlantis, 'Salem's Lot and other familiar King haunts--the adventure takes hold with the turn of each page. (catalog summary)

The Gunslinger by Stephen King (Book #1 of The Dark Tower series)
The story centers upon Roland Deschain, the last gunslinger, who has been chasing after his adversary, "the man in black," for many years. The novel follows Roland's trek through a vast desert and beyond in search of the man in black. Roland meets several people along his journey, including a boy named Jake Chambers who travels with him part of the way. (Wikipedia)

If you like The Gunslinger, read the rest of the books in the epic series:

08/11/2016 - 9:21am
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

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.

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (Book #1 in the Mortal Instruments series)
Suddenly able to see demons and the Darkhunters who are dedicated to returning them to their own dimension, fifteen-year-old Clary Fray is drawn into this bizzare world when her mother disappears and Clary herself is almost killed by a monster.

If you like City of Bones you'll want to read the rest of the Mortal Instruments series: City of Ashes, City of Glass, City of Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls and City of Heavenly Fire.

City of AshesCity of Glass City of AshesCity of Ashes

Here are some other books you might also enjoy:

Angelology
 

Angelology by Danielle Trussoni (Adult Fiction)
When twenty-three-year-old Sister Evangeline accidentally stumbles upon some mysterious letters exchanged between the late mother superior of her convent and the famous philanthropist Abigail Rockefeller, she is thrust into an ancient conflict between the Society of Angelologists and the monstrously beautiful descendants of angels and humans, the Nephilim.


 

Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause


Blood and Chocolate
by Annette Curtis Klause
A beautiful teenage werewolf falls for a human boy and must battle both her packmates and the fear of the townspeople to decide where she belongs and with whom.


 

Cirque du Freak by Darren Shan
 

Cirque Du Freak (Book #1 in the Cirque Du Freak series) by Darren Shan
Two boys who are best friends visit an illegal freak show, where an encounter with a vampire and a deadly spider forces them to make life-changing choices. There are many more in this series.

 

 

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