Shelf Life

Our Shelf Life Blog features the latest recommendations chosen by library staff and volunteers.
Wed, 02/28/2018 - 12:38am
Cover to King's Fool: A Notorious King, His Six Wives, and the One Man Who Knew All Their Secrets

Will Somers was nobody’s fool—until he became the King’s Fool. Born in the medieval English countryside, he should have led the rest of his life unremarkably, as an undersized farmhand who happened to be able to read and write and add figures—and tell jokes, which there wasn’t much need for on his uncle’s small farm.

Tue, 02/27/2018 - 10:02am
The Fifth Petal by Brunonia Barry

It will have blood, they say: blood will have blood.
Stones have been known to move, and trees to speak . . .

William Shakespeare, Macbeth

Salem, Massachusetts, is already a town filled with rich and terrible history. But, little does anyone know, for 28 years a notorious cold case has haunted Salem's residents more than the infamous 1692 witch trials.

Fri, 02/23/2018 - 2:31pm
If you like The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

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 Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

“We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories.” ― Offred, The Handmaid's Tale

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, serving in the household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife. She may go out once a day to markets whose signs are now pictures because women are not allowed to read. She must pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, for in a time of declining birthrates her value lies in her fertility, and failure means exile to the dangerously polluted Colonies. Offred can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost even her own name. Now she navigates the intimate secrets of those who control her every move, risking her life in breaking the rules. 

The Handmaid's Tale is an American web television series created by Bruce Miller, based on the 1985 novel of the same name by Margaret Atwood. It was ordered by streaming service Hulu with a straight-to-series order of 10 episodes, with the production beginning in late 2016. The first three episodes of the series premiered on April 26, 2017, with the subsequent seven episodes added on a weekly basis every Wednesday. In May 2017, it was renewed for a second season to premiere on April 25, 2018. The Handmaid's Tale received widespread critical acclaim and won eight Primetime Emmy Awards from thirteen nominations, including Outstanding Drama Series, becoming the first series on a streaming platform to win an Emmy for Outstanding Series. It has also won Golden Globe Awards for Best Television Series – Drama and Best Actress for Elizabeth Moss, who plays Offred. Check out the season 2's trailer below.

Fri, 02/23/2018 - 12:34am
If you like Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

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.

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
"Area X" has claimed the lives of members of eleven expeditions. The twelfth expedition consisting of four women hopes to map the terrain and collect specimens; to record all their observations, scientific and otherwise, of their surroundings and of one another; and, above all, to avoid being contaminated by Area X itself. (catalog summary)

There are two other books, along with a single volume called "Area X" which brings together all three volumes of the Southern Reach Trilogy.

Authority by Jeff VanderMeerAcceptance by Jeff VanderMeerArea X (The Southern Reach Trilogy) by Jeff VanderMeer

Annihilation is an upcoming science fantasy action horror film written for the screen and directed by Alex Garland based on the novel of the same name by Jeff VanderMeer. It stars Natalie PortmanJennifer Jason LeighGina RodriguezTessa ThompsonTuva Novotny, and Oscar Isaac. The film is scheduled to be released by Paramount Pictures on February 23, 2018. See the trailer belowIf you enjoy this sci-fi epic adventure, check out these similar titles.

Wed, 02/21/2018 - 12:32am
A Map of the Dark by Karen Ellis

Elsa Myer has a lot on her hands. Her father (whom she holds plenty against) is dying of cancer. Her other family relations are strained, between her sister and trying to handle her 16-year-old niece, Mel. She also finds herself constantly struggling with the demons of her childhood, wondering when the nightmares and memories will stop. She's just turned 40, after all, and she still dreams of self-harm due to neglect from her long-dead mother.

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 3:51pm
All the Way to Havana by Margarita Engle

"We have a gift, and we have a cake, and today we're going to drive all the way to the big city to see my new baby cousin on his zero-year birthday!"

So begins Margarita Engle's joyful picture book, All the Way to Havana. The narrator, a young boy who lives in Cuba, and his family are preparing to go see his new cousin in Havana. They take "Cara Cara," their 1954 blue Chevy that is supposed to purr like a kitten. But Cara Cara is so tired, she just chatters away like a baby chicken: "Pío, pío, pío, pío, pffft." The narrator's father fixes Cara Cara with each clunk clunk, something he does often to the old vintage vehicle.