Shelf Life

Our Shelf Life Blog features the latest recommendations chosen by library staff and volunteers.
Wed, 04/05/2017 - 2:06am
This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

In this fractured fairy tale, a mother with four boys uses all the old wives’ tales to try to conceive a girl. Nine months later, Claude, the fifth son is born, but Claude wants to grow up to be a princess. How Claude or any child achieves a happily-ever-after is what every parent worries about and what this book is about: love, marriage, family, acceptance, and raising children.

Tue, 04/04/2017 - 2:06am
Identity Unknown: Rediscovering Seven American Women Artists

As an art student, Donna Seaman naturally studied artists of the past, thumbing through photographs and reading sketches of their lives and works. It didn’t take her long to figure out there was something wrong with these pictures. In too many, the male artists’ names were proclaimed, but the women, when they did appear, were simply listed as, “Identity Unknown.”

On a mission to make these women and their works known, Seaman did the research on seven whose art and lives were every bit as intriguing as their male counterparts. We meet the provocative sculptor Louise Nevelson, “The Empress of In-Between.” Her medium was wood, and she derived much inspiration from ancient cultures. The essay “Girl Searching” introduces Gertrude Abercrombie, whose specialty was edgy, emotional and autobiographical paintings. She cruised Chicago in her vintage Rolls-Royce and held jam session in her three-story Victorian brownstone, earning her title, “Queen of the Bohemian Artists.”

Mon, 04/03/2017 - 8:43am
Cover to poemcrazy

Are you inspired by life, whether light or dark, to mark moments or passages with words that dance, shout, or whisper your personal truth? You might be poemcrazy. Author (and poet) Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge certainly is. In her book, she shares how she sees the world as a poet as she’s progressed from shy teen to mother to writing workshop presenter.

Fri, 03/31/2017 - 9:03am
If you like The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman

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 Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story by Diane Ackerman
The true story of how the keepers of the Warsaw Zoo saved hundreds of people from Nazi hands. When Germany invaded Poland, Stuka bombers devastated Warsaw—and the city's zoo along with it. With most of their animals dead, zookeepers Jan and Antonina Żabiński began smuggling Jews into empty cages. Another dozen "guests" hid inside the Żabińskis' villa, emerging after dark for dinner, socializing, and, during rare moments of calm, piano concerts. Jan, active in the Polish resistance, kept ammunition buried in the elephant enclosure and stashed explosives in the animal hospital. Meanwhile, Antonina kept her unusual household afloat, caring for both its human and its animal inhabitants—otters, a badger, hyena pups, lynxe—and keeping alive an atmosphere of play and innocence even as Europe crumbled around her. (catalog summary)

The Zookeeper's Wife is a 2017 British-American war drama film directed by Niki Caro and written by Angela Workman. The film stars Jessica Chastain, Johan Heldenbergh, Michael McElhatton and Daniel Brühl. The film is scheduled to be released on March 31, 2017, by Focus Features. View the offical HD Trailer below the book recommendations.

Looking for a war-time drama like The Zookeeper's Wife? Check out these other titles.
 

A Blessing on the Moon by Joseph Skibell

A Blessing on the Moon by Joseph Skibell

At the center of A Blessing on the Moon is Chaim Skibelski. Death is merely the beginning of Chaim s troubles. In the opening pages, he is shot along with the other Jews of his small Polish village. But instead of resting peacefully in the World to Come, Chaim, for reasons unclear to him, is left to wander the earth, accompanied by his rabbi, who has taken the form of a talking crow. Chaim's afterlife journey is filled with extraordinary encounters whose consequences are far greater than he realizes. (catalog summary)

 


Fri, 03/31/2017 - 1:19pm
Cover to Prairie Day

Are you looking for warm and classic stories to entrance little ones? Introduce them to Laura Ingalls and her family with My First Little House Books. The original Little House series has been beloved for generations, so why, fans of the chapter book series might ask, do we want to look at a series rewritten and freshly illustrated for small children? Why not just read the original?

My First Little House Books have a different intended audience and therefore a different method of telling the story of the pioneering Ingalls family, who move from territory to territory, looking for a better life and being willing to work hard for it—but also having fun.

Perfect for a lap-sit storytime, these 14 books joyfully recreate the atmosphere of the original Little House books, while Renée Graf’s glowing illustrations faithfully follow and enlarge upon original illustrator Garth Williams’ gentle style.

Wed, 03/29/2017 - 2:01am
Cover to Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life

The best science teachers bring their subjects to life. They intrigue and entrance their students, often by explaining how everyday events they have observed, such as swirling a dollop of milk in a cup of tea or coffee, are really quite similar to what happens elsewhere in the Universe on both a much larger and much smaller scale. By hooking their students’ interest in a relatable way, a great teacher can inspire them to see their world differently, to open their minds, and to understand the underpinnings of our daily lives.

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