Shelf Life Blog
May 1893: The opening of the Chicago’s World Fair. The overall purpose of the celebration was to recognize the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ journey to the New World in 1492. Designed by a group of talented architects, the fair attracted over 27 million people from 46 different countries, constructed over 200 new (but temporary) buildings featuring neoclassical architecture, along with large water pools and lagoons. The exposition became an emerging symbol of American Exceptionalism.
It also became a hunting ground for one of the first documented American serial killers, Doctor Henry Howard Holmes, better known as H.H. Holmes.
Hannah is very happy to be moving to London. It’s 1665, and for a young yet just-grown-up girl, it is surely the center of all that is fascinating and bold. She’s to join her sister, Sarah, At the Sign of the Sugar Plum, where she will help craft delicious confections for gentry and commoners alike. Hannah knows she will be working hard to establish the business, and that suits the red-haired young woman perfectly. Indeed, everything suits her down to the ground, including the handsome apothecary’s apprentice.
But there are rumors that the plague is has struck London again this summer. It’s just a few people at first, and the King’s court is still in town, so nobody minds it too much. Then the disease spreads wildly, until thousands each week die in agony. Hannah and Sarah are both frightened, but leaving London and their business would mean giving up their dreams.
Popular children’s author James Dean brings back his loveable and rocking cat Pete to celebrate a delightful Halloween in his new book, Pete the Cat: Five Little Pumpkins! Using the popular children’s song “Five Little Pumpkins,” Dean takes Pete and his adoring fans on one purrrfect adaptation of the classic rhyme. Will Pete and the galloping gourds make it in time for Trick-or-Treating? Read to find out!
No. 7 Ocean Drive is just like any other handsome, well-to-do Hamptons McMansion. With its grand arches, towering peaks, and high windows, No. 7 is every tourist’s dream.
At least, that’s what it looks like from the outside.
Jumpy Jack & Googily are a real odd couple. One is a giant snail who happens to be dreadfully frightened of monsters. The other is, well, Jack's best friend! Despite Googily's sharp teeth, pointy ears, and appalling style of dress, these two are inseparable.
Sometimes, there is more in the garden or orchard than you can use up at the dinner table. The same might hold true if you tend to go a little wild at farmers’ markets or on your co-op order. What to do with the oceans of apples, bunches of mint, or the bushels of berries? Sure, there are pies, preserves, and other delightful things that might be made from the bounty, but another possibility is to take at least some of your harvest and bottle it.
Some people today fear going under the surgeon’s knife. It’s mostly a dread of the unknown. What might happen while they are knocked out, unaware of what is going on around them. They may not realize how fortunate they are. In Dr. Mütter’s Marvels, readers are swept back in time to a period before anesthesia was generally used. A good surgeon was a swift, careful cutter who could make the operation as mercifully short as possible for his wide-awake patient. He might even do some good for the patient in the process.
“Scuze my language.” — Billy, Ask the Dark
Billy Zeet has quite a reputation. And he got it the hard way—he earned it. Despite having a heart of gold, Billy’s rap sheet includes more petty crimes than even he can remember. He can silently break into a locked second-story window with one hand tied behind his back. And nobody can slip unseen through the dark like Billy. He’s practically a shadow. Nobody can skip school quite like Billy, either. Being the invisible man at school has put him in the seventh grade for the second time. But he has an expansive vocabulary—of cuss words.
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.
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon: "The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon -- when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach -- an "outlander" -- in a Scotland torn by war and raiding Highland clans in the year of Our Lord ... 1743. Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into intrigues and dangers that may threaten her life ... and shatter her heart. For here she meets James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, and becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire ... and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives." (Book summary)
If you enjoyed Outlander, you may enjoy these other historical romances with strong characters or time-traveling novels:
Beyond the Highland Mist by Karen Marie Moning
He would sell his warrior soul to possess her. . . . An alluring laird... He was known throughout the kingdom as Hawk, legendary predator of the battlefield and the boudoir. No woman could refuse his touch, but no woman ever stirred his heart-until a vengeful fairy tumbled Adrienne de Simone out of modern-day Seattle and into medieval Scotland. Captive in a century not her own, entirely too bold, too outspoken, she was an irresistible challenge to the sixteenth-century rogue. Coerced into a marriage with Hawk, Adrienne vowed to keep him at arm's length-but his sweet seduction played havoc with her resolve. A prisoner in time... She had a perfect "no" on her perfect lips for the notorious laird, but Hawk swore she would whisper his name with desire, begging for the passion he longed to ignite within her. Not even the barriers of time and space would keep him from winning her love. Despite her uncertainty about following the promptings of her own passionate heart, Adrienne's reservations were no match for Hawk's determination to keep her by his side. . . . (Catalog summary)
Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel
Twenty years ago The Clan of the Cave Bear became a blockbuster, launching a bestselling saga. This is the story of Ayla and her odyssey at the beginning of time. (catalog description)
You want to make Halloween sweet and spooky fun for your family. But you’re too clever (and too strapped for time and cash) to make a plan that will haunt your wallet and your sanity. You need Better Homes and Gardens’ Halloween: 101 Frightfully Fun Ideas.