Due to building maintenance, Cooper Branch is closed until further notice. Cooper customers can pick up their holds at the Montross Branch

Shelf Life Blog

08/06/2018 - 8:11am
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

We are all very familiar with the atrocities engineered by Adolph Hitler, but less is heard about the atrocities that occurred at the direction of Joseph Stalin. Twenty million people were murdered under his leadership. In the book Between the Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys gives a very compelling account of the Soviet invasion of the country of Lithuania in 1941. 

08/01/2018 - 8:53am
Last Night at the Chateau Marmont by Lauren Weisberger

The Chateau Marmont is an opulent hotel in Hollywood where the rich and famous go to misbehave. In Last Night at the Chateau Marmont by Lauren Weisberger, Brooke is dressing for the Grammys with her newly famous husband, wearing her first Valentino gown, her own plain gold wedding band replaced by a diamond the size of a macaroon when she finds out her “Rock Star” husband was at the Chateau Marmont with another woman - there are pictures just published in the tabloids - and then her boss calls from the hospital where she works as a nutritionist and fires her for missing too much time for following her husband to his gigs. Her Cinderella moment turns into a nightmare.

07/30/2018 - 8:45am
Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

All of us have had that sense, at one time or another, of seeing something inexplicable out of the corner of our eyes. It may be a flash of light, a reflective glint, or just a shimmery difference in the air around us. And then it usually goes away. But for Aislinn in Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely, it’s a different story. She has always been able to see faeries around her, and they aren’t cute and precious like Tinkerbell. The fey are at times hideous or breathtakingly beautiful, cruel or mocking, and always a danger. They often pinch and mock the humans that they follow and then don glamours to blend in with humans (and often lead them astray) when it suits the faeries’ needs.

07/25/2018 - 9:16am
The Good Neighbor Cookbook by Sara Quessenberry and Suzanne Schlosberg

There are definitely times when friends and neighbors need a little comfort food. It might be a joyful event--new baby, new house--or it might be in sorrowful times such as a long illness, death, or divorce. Chef Sara Quessenberry and writer Suzanne Schlosberg’s The Good Neighbor Cookbook is an excellent source for the family cook who needs some fresh ideas for food to share.

07/23/2018 - 9:02am
Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper

Originally published in 2010 by Jacob Puckett, an 11-year-old guest reviewer

"Deep within me, words pile up in huge drifts. Mountains of phrases and sentences and connected ideas. Clever expressions. Jokes. Love songs . . . But only in my head. I have never spoken one single word. I am almost eleven years old." (Excerpt from Chapter 1)
 
Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper is a striking book about a girl named Melody Brooks who has cerebral palsy, a disease that disables you so you can’t walk, can’t control your body movements, and, most frustrating to Melody, can’t talk. Every "normal" kid at school thinks that all the "special" kids are either dumb as dirt, crazy, or both! But most kids don’t know that just because you can’t speak or walk doesn’t mean that you’re not smart. Melody is a genius, but nobody suspects it, except Ms. V, Melody’s sitter.
 
07/18/2018 - 12:33am
Lore: Wicked Mortals by Aaron Mahnke

Previously in his book Monstrous Creatures, author and podcast guru Aaron Mahnke discussed mythological beasts, such as the Jersey Devil, the Wendigo, and sneaky elves. In his new collection, Wicked Mortals, Mahnke relates evil of a different kind - a more human kind. Sometimes, the truth can be more terrifying in fiction.

07/16/2018 - 8:21am
Cover to Jasper Dash and the Flame-Pits of Delaware, by M.T. Anderson

Greetings, brave adventurers! So you are looking for uncharted territory to claim and conquer, eh? You've already climbed the highest peaks and had lunch in the craters of the moon. So, where do you go next to do your exploring? Look no further than this hidden gem. This is a land of mystery and danger, a land of wonder and fright, a land with tyrannosaurs, tentacled creatures, and scariest of all....toll booths. Behold, Delaware!

Jasper Dash and the Flame-Pits of Delaware is part of M.T. Anderson's Pals in Peril series, a highly absurdist take on children's detective and adventure series of decades past, the most obvious being Nancy Drew, Goosebumps, and Tom Swift. The title character of this particular book is the star of his own fictional series that has fallen into obscurity. Just looking at Jasper Dash, you can see that he's from another time. Aviator goggles perched atop a perfectly parted swath of blonde hair. And that's when he opens his mouth and 19th-century slang falls out: "Hello, chums...What-ho and tippy tippy dingle and all."

07/11/2018 - 9:43am
The Passage by Justin Cronin

I loved Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Dark Shadows on TV when I was a kid, Anne’s Rice’s rock’n’roll vampires, and I even discussed what team I would join in the ‘tween Twilight Saga. I also devour vampire novels with “punny” titles such as Undead and Unappreciated by Mary-Janice Davidson, but I put The Passage on request at the library because of an article I read in Time Magazine that stated that vampires are scary again, and I do love a character that bites.

07/09/2018 - 9:26am
Cover to Me...Jane by Patrick McDonnell

It sounds almost too perfect to be true. Famed primate expert Jane Goodall had a stuffed toy chimpanzee as a little girl. She went everywhere with it, and together they explored the mysteries of nature. 

Me...Jane is Patrick McDonnell’s peacefully expressive interpretation of Goodall’s childhood through his art, actual photographs of Jane, and the drawings of her youth. Jane starts out a very curious young girl, studying all sort of animals around her home. That curious nature leads to many answers.

07/04/2018 - 12:23am
Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan

I'd put off reading Altered Carbon for a few years, always reading something newer. Shame on me. This Philip K. Dick Award-winner is a brilliantly dark and gritty mixture of hardboiled detective fiction and cyberpunk that anyone looking for a story with a razor-sharp edge will love. 

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