Shelf Life Blog

08/10/2016 - 2:07am
My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

"In Satanic occultism, that which is good is bad. And that which is bad is good." —The Law Enforcement Guide to Satanic Cults

This is the story about friendship and a demonic possession.

08/09/2016 - 2:06am
Cover to The Mangle Street Murders

M.R.C. Kasasian’s The Mangle Street Murders begins a murder-by-gaslight series which may appeal to fans of Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, or Carole Nelson Douglas’ Irene Adler.

“It’s a pity you’re not prettier,” or words to that effect seem to follow March Middleton everywhere she goes. She is alone in the world after her surgeon-father’s death, her mother having died at her birth. With no marriage prospects and frankly no desire for wedlock, apparently penniless March accepts an old family friend’s invitation to be his ward. After all, London must be more interesting than the placid English countryside.

08/08/2016 - 10:02am
Harry Potter & the Cursed Child (Parts 1 & 2) by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany

It was always difficult being Harry Potter.

From living with the dreaded Dursleys to deadly encounters with monstrous beings (including The Dark Lord Voldermort), Harry Potter, "the Boy Who Lived,” has faced unpredictable and thrilling moments over his school years at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry.

08/05/2016 - 2:04am
If you like The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

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 Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
Having quit his job, Toru Okada is enjoying a pleasant stint as a "house husband," listening to music and arranging the dry cleaning and doing the cooking—until his cat goes missing, his wife becomes distant and begins acting strangely, and he starts meeting enigmatic people with fantastic life stories. They involve him in a world of psychics, shared dreams, out-of-body experiences, and shaman-like powers and tell him stories from Japan's war in Manchuria, about espionage on the border with Mongolia, the Battle of Nomonhan, the killing of the animals in Hsin-ching's zoo, and the fate of Japanese prisoners-of-war in the Soviet camps in Siberia. (Catalog summary)

If you like The Wind-up Bird Chronicle, you may enjoy the following titles:


The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
A vast, intricate novel that weaves six narratives and spans from 1984 to the 2030s about a secret war between a cult of soul-decanters and a small group of vigilantes called the Night Shift who try to take them down. An up-all-night story that fluently mixes the supernatural, sci-fi, horror, social satire, and heartbreaking realism. (Catalog summary)



The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber
It begins with Peter, a devoted man of faith, as he is called to the mission of a lifetime, one that takes him galaxies away from his wife, Bea. Peter becomes immersed in the mysteries of an astonishing new environment, overseen by an enigmatic corporation known only as USIC. His work introduces him to a seemingly friendly native population struggling with a dangerous illness and hungry for Peter's teachings—his Bible is their "book of strange new things." But Peter is rattled when Bea's letters from home become increasingly desperate: typhoons and earthquakes are devastating whole countries, and governments are crumbling. Bea's faith, once the guiding light of their lives, begins to falter. Suddenly, a separation measured by an otherworldly distance, and defined both by one newly discovered world and another in a state of collapse, is threatened by an ever-widening gulf that is much less quantifiable. While Peter is reconciling the needs of his congregation with the desires of his strange employer, Bea is struggling for survival. Their trials lay bare a profound meditation on faith, love tested beyond endurance, and our responsibility to those closest to us. (Catalog summary)

08/10/2016 - 9:17am
Pete the Cat's Got Class by James Dean

Pete the Cat loves math. He loves how all the numbers work together! When Pete discovers his friend Tom is struggling to understand math, he decides that helping would be fun!

“I hate math,” says Tom.
“You don’t hate math,” Pete tells Tom. “You just don’t love it yet.”

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

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:

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.


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