Shelf Life Blog

08/26/2016 - 9:20am
If you like the Steampunk genre

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.

According to, "Steampunk is a subgenre of speculative fiction, usually set in an anachronistic Victorian or quasi-Victorian alternate history setting. It includes fiction with science fiction, fantasy or horror themes."

If you like the Steampunk genre, then you might be interested in the following titles:

The Affinity Bridge: A Newbury and Hobbes Investigation by George Mann
Sir Maurice Newbury and Miss Veronica Hobbes, agents of Queen Victoria, battle both physical and supernatural enemies of the crown. They are called in to investigate the wreckage of a crashed airship and its missing automaton pilot while dealing with a zombie plague in the slums of the capital and attempting to solve a string of strangulations credited to a mysterious glowing policeman. (catalog summary)


Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
Inventor Leviticus Blue creates a machine that accidentally decimates Seattle's banking district and uncovers a vein of Blight Gas that turns everyone who breathes it into the living dead. Sixteen years later Briar, Blue's widow, lives in the poor neighborhood outside the wall that's been built around the uninhabitable city. Life is tough with a ruined reputation, but she and her teenage son Ezekiel are surviving--until Zeke impetuously decides that he must reclaim his father's name from the clutches of history. (catalog summary)



Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Book #1 of the Luner Chronicles)
As plague ravages the overcrowded Earth, observed by a ruthless lunar people, Cinder, a gifted mechanic and cyborg, becomes involved with handsome Prince Kai and must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect the world in this futuristic take on the Cinderella story. (catalog summary)


08/25/2016 - 12:05am
The Nest by Kenneth Oppel

"We've come because of the baby," she said. "We've come to help."

The Nest appeared soon after Steve's baby brother came home from the hospital, hanging from the eaves of the roof. Steve did not know exactly what was wrong with his new sibling, but he overheard his parents use words like "poor prognosis" and "degenerative." It was not long until Steve saw the wasps in his yard . . . and in his dreams.

08/24/2016 - 12:04am
The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb

Forty-seven-year-old Caelum Quirk and his wife, Maureen, move to Littleton, Colorado. Both get excellent jobs in their respective fields: Caelum as a high school English teacher and Maureen as a nurse. Their great opportunities are at a high school named Columbine.

08/23/2016 - 12:03am
Cover to Land of Herrings and Persimmons: People and Places of Upper Stafford County, Virginia

Every year brings a lot of newcomers to the northern Stafford area. At first glance, they may see its many stores, wide roads, and convenient subdivisions. That’s modern Stafford, bedroom community to D.C. and Quantico Marine Corps Base. But Stafford County has a significant place in history, too.

Well-known local historian Jerrilynn Eby’s Land of Herrings and Persimmons is a tremendous volume that chronicles the county’s farming and industrial past, place by place, including Stafford County communities that were enveloped and lost when Quantico was established.

08/23/2016 - 3:32pm
Cover to Cart and Cwidder by Diana Wynne Jones

In the Kingdom of Dalemark, three kings have died without an heir. The kingdom has been in chaos for generations as earl after earl vies for the throne. Bloody battles have only produced a stalemate, and now the free North and the repressive South tensely await their next war.

Enter the family of Clennen the Singer. As licensed entertainers, they travel undisturbed from the North to the South, passing news and singing songs of old battles. Clennen's children—fiery Brida, bookish Dagner, and day-dreaming Moril—travel with their parents in a cheerfully painted pink and gold cart. They may argue, as families will, but they all agree how much they detest the snobby boy Kialan who has paid to accompany them.

08/19/2016 - 9:21am
If you like The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

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.


The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
Meeting through mutual friends in Chicago, Hadley is intrigued by brash "beautiful boy" Ernest Hemingway, and after a brief courtship and small wedding, they take off for Paris, where Hadley makes a convincing transformation from an overprotected child to a game and brave young woman who puts up with impoverished living conditions and shattering loneliness to prop up her husband's career. (catalog summary)


If you like the biographical fiction of The Paris Wife, you should check out these titles as well:



Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks
In 1665, a young man from Martha's Vineyard became the first Native American to graduate from Harvard College. Upon this slender factual scaffold she has created a luminous tale of love and faith, magic and adventure. (catalog summary)




Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
Twin brothers born from a secret love affair between an Indian nun and a British surgeon in Addis Ababa, Marion and Shiva Stone come of age in Ethiopia, where their love for the same woman drives them apart. (catalog summary)



08/23/2016 - 3:35pm
Cover to Simple Gifts: A Shaker Hymn

Rich, beautiful drawings from Christopher Raschka invite young children into a vividly natural world in Simple Gifts: A Shaker Hymn.

08/17/2016 - 2:59am
Cover to Mr. Churchill's Secretary

The old house Maggie inherited from her English grandmother was a testament to bygone days of glory. Maggie only meant to come to London to sell it, but with the housing market down and war raging in Europe—and most definitely threatening England—Maggie decided to keep it and fill it with her twentysomething friends.

Sarah is a dancer. “Chuck” is that tough yet tender rarity for the 1940s—a woman doctor. Paige is an old classmate from Wellesley, a Southern belle. Then there are the boy-crazy twins who live for the theatre.

08/16/2016 - 2:58am
This Calls for a Drink: The Best Wines & Beers to Pair with Every Situation by Diane McMartin

What wine goes with your life? What beer should you choose to enjoy the Sunday game with? Or what will you drink when your beloved family invades your house for the holidays? What if you were on a blind date? What about an outdoor concert? Or binge-watching Netflix? 

08/15/2016 - 2:11am
Cover to An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

The Scholars were once known for their prestigious universities and vast libraries—until the Martials conquered them five hundred years ago. The oppressed scholar people live in constant fear of starvation, raids, imprisonment, slavery and death, but that hasn’t stopped some from resisting and rising up.


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