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Shelf Life Blog

06/27/2017 - 12:11am
Cover to The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

Li Lan, a lovely but unassuming girl from a scholarly family fallen on hard times, is rather taken aback when her father casually asks her one night if she would like to become a ghost bride.

Her nursemaid is furious. Even suggesting such a thing is unlucky, although Li Lan would be living with a rich family, and it’s probable that all of her family’s debts would be taken care of.

Ghost brides were an old tradition brought to Malaya (colonial Malaysia) from China, where a young man who had died might still be given the precious gift of a wife to honor his memory.

But who is Li Lan's ghost groom? The only son of a wealthy family who was odious in his manner and appearance, whining and fat. He saw Li Lan just once when he was alive, but so entranced was he by her beauty that he is still pressuring his family to make a match. Yes, still. He thinks he has everything she might want in the land of the dead, and he isn’t giving up, although Li Lan is equally determined to resist him—especially after she meets a young man who she believes suits her far better and is very much alive.

06/26/2017 - 12:10am
Cover to The Children’s Garden: Growing Food in the City

In Carole Lexa Schaefer’s The Children’s Garden, there are so many things to see—and do! It’s the children who are watering, weeding, and scattering seeds. They are also the ones who enjoy the many vegetables and herbs. Brightly colored illustrations, by Pierr Morgan, are cheerful and relatable.

Young readers and listeners may be inspired to start their own gardens, whether on a windowsill, in the backyard, or by taking part in a community garden. Gardening teaches children how nature works and to value their own work in the world. Gardening also allows them to enjoy the literal fruit of their labors and is a great way to spend more time outdoors.

06/23/2017 - 12:08am
If you like The Mist by Stephen King

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 Mist by Stephen King
The morning after a violent thunderstorm, a thick unnatural mist quickly spreads across the small town of Bridgton, Maine, reducing visibility to near-zero and concealing numerous species of bizarre creatures which viciously attack anyone and anything that ventures out into the open. (catalog summary)

The Mist is being adapted by the American cable network, Spike TV, who has ordered 10 hour-long episodes of the series which will premiere on June 22nd. The cast includes Morgan Spector, Frances Conroy, Alyssa Sutherland, Gus Birney, Dan Butler, and Luke Cosgrove. Magic Rock Productions, founded by Michael Mahoney in 1998, has a successful history of productions including the limited series The Lizzie Borden Chronicles on the Lifetime network, and Bag of Bones, another King adaptation starring Pierce Brosnan.¹

If you're looking for more bizarre titles similar to the novella, The Mist, check these suggestions out.

06/22/2017 - 12:07am
A Big Surprise for Little Card

Every card has a special job—at least, in this house of cards.

Wide Card is a postcard, traveling to faraway places. Round Card is a price tag. Tiny Card is a raffle ticket. Giant Card is a folder for important office work.

But what can Little Card and Long Card be? They know they must be something important. When their letters finally arrive in the mail and reveal their special places in the world . . . Little Card is a birthday card! How exciting! He loves birthdays. And he loves birthday school!

06/26/2017 - 10:19am
The Nix by Nathan Hill

I love big books. I cannot lie. I love tomes big enough to use like doorstops which contain a truly satisfying, finished story. You can sink into a comfy chair or couch and know you will have hours of reading enjoyment. The Nix is one of those tales.

Nathan Hill has Dickensian characters, stylistic antics, and a sprawling plot that manages to tie up every loose end. This novel is a genealogical dig into Professor Samuel Andreson-Anderson’s past, a coming-of-age story, a story of unrequited love, and a satire of America. With the humor and a journey through American pop culture, Nathan Hill sends Samuel and the reader on a quest.

06/20/2017 - 12:06am
Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

Beware a calm surface—you never know what lies beneath.

The rural British town of Beckford is surrounded by water. No one can turn anywhere in town and not face the twisting river that snakes through its center. The river is dotted with high cliffs that lead down to what's called a drowning pool. Many unfortunate women have lost their lives there, either falling from the enormous, rocky cliffs, jumping on their own, or worse. The pool is even reported to have housed multiple witch drownings in the 17th century.

06/19/2017 - 2:57pm
Cover to And Then Comes Summer by Tom Brenner, illustrated by Jaime Kim

It’s time to “throw on flip-flops and breathe the sweet air.” Time for lemonade stands and “hide-and-seek until the darkness wins.” A Fourth of July parade, an ice cream truck, a trip to a silver lake—there’s so much to enjoy in Tom Brenner’s new book, And Then Comes Summer.

06/20/2017 - 8:47am
Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

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.

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
Memphis, 1939

Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family's Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge—until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children's Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents—but they quickly realize the dark truth. At the mercy of the facility's cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together in a world of danger and uncertainty. Georgia Tann, the Baby Snatcher of Tennessee
Aiken, South Carolina, present day
Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiance, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions and compels her to take a journey through her family's long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead eitherto devastation or to redemption. Based on one of America's most notorious real-life scandals—in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country—Lisa Wingate's riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong. (catalog summary)
 

06/15/2017 - 8:35am
See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng

Alex Petroski is 11 years old—but at least 13 years old in responsibility years. He has a hero: astronomer Carl Sagan, a dog: golden retriever Carl Sagan, and a plan: launch a rocket carrying a Golden iPod full of his own commentary into outer space for aliens to listen to and enjoy. Jack Cheng's debut novel, See You In the Cosmos, is the transcript of these live recordings, as Alex packs up his rocket and Carl Sagan the Dog and heads to the Southwest High-Altitude Rocket Festival.

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