comic about a library2016-06-24T16:41:15-07:00Gene Ambaumgene@overduemedia.comBill Overdue Media LLC Reviews and welcome John2016-06-24T00:00:00+00:002016-06-24T00:00:00+00:00
by Gene ( link to this post | email me | my twitter )


This week's Unshelved Book Club features books about a young woman whose plastic surgeon dad proposes to her new friend, Spiritualism in the early 20th Century, photos of food that include a cute dog, a swashbuckling adventure, and a picture book full of poems and dreamlike paintings.

Today's book club is also the first Friday Unshelved Book Club drawn by John Carvajal. I really like John's style, and I'm happy to say he'll be drawing Friday comics on an ongoing basis. Here's what John has to say about himself:

John Carvajal grew up in the endless summer weather of Central Florida prior to moving to the New England region. He is a cartoonist with an MFA in Cartooning from The Center for Cartoon Studies. John has collaborated with various writers including Aaron Humphries in Composition Studies issue 43.1, the Cambridge Historical Society, the Massachusetts Historical Society, and Simon Mesnard on a new ongoing Sci-Fi series, Anterran. You can view some of his work here and his ongoing daily comics here. (Sometimes they’re nsfw-ish.) on Friday, June 24, 20162016-06-24T00:00:00+00:002016-06-24T00:00:00+00:00
Visit ALA Booth #1910 to pick up a "Please Interrupt Me" button and to save 20% on the latest from Grey House Publishing!

Unshelved comic strip for 6/24/2016

link to this strip | tweet this | share on facebook | email us Book Club on Friday, June 24, 20162016-06-24T00:00:00+00:002016-06-24T00:00:00+00:00

This week's book recommendations from the creators of Unshelved and their friends.Learn who we are, how we pick books, and other books we've featured.

Amazon | Powell's
The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick
Harper, 2014. 9780062285614. 304 pages.

Link to this review in the form of a comic strip by sarahhunt tagged literary

Unshelved comic strip for 6/24/2016

Amazon | Powell's
Making Pretty by Corey Ann Haydu
Katherine Tegen Books, 2015. 9780062294081. 368 pages.

Link to this review by diane tagged coming of age

Arizona and Montana are sisters living with their dad, a plastic surgeon with the tendency to marry and “fix” wives who then leave him. (Three stepmothers in ten years!) With Arizona away at college, Montana (17) has found a new friend in Karissa (23) and a hot new boyfriend, Bernardo. When Arizona comes home for the summer, though, things go bad quickly -- she has a newly enhanced figure, and she does not like Karissa at all. 

Why I picked it up: I was looking for something that would appeal to students who love teen romance, but wanted to avoid sappy, sickeningly sweet love stories.

Why I finished it: Montana was clearly a young woman looking for an anchor in her life. When her mom left, that was Arizona. When Arizona left for college, Montana was adrift. Her friendship with Karissa seemed to fill that need, but I could tell there was something just a little off about the stories Karissa told. When Montana’s Dad announced that he was ready to marry again and was proposing to Karissa, I was hooked!

Montana’s jealousy over losing a friend, her anger with her Dad, her budding romance, and her changing relationship with her sister all made for an emotional roller coaster. Although the mom in me didn’t always approve of Montana’s choices, the ending left me feeling satisfied -- instead of a “happily ever after” there were reasonable resolutions that felt rational and real.

It’s perfect for: My niece, Kris, who loves slightly edgy teen romances with believable characters. Her favorites are books that tackle real life issues, like sibling rivalry and best friend conflicts. Since she’s been through all of Sarah Dessen's and Jenny Han’s books, she’s looking for a new author to discover. I think she’ll really like this one.

Amazon | Powell's
The Witch of Lime Street: Séance, Seduction, and Houdini in the Spirit World by David Jaher
Crown, 2015. 9780307451064. 448 pages.

Link to this review by flemtastic tagged history

Eminent British scientist Sir Oliver Lodge and esteemed author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle were both believers in Spiritualism, the ability to speak to the dead through a medium. Each traveled to the United States to lecture on the topic, and America was ready to hear their message. Scientific American investigated and brought top mediums to display their abilities in scientific, carefully observed settings. In 1922, the magazine offered $2500 to the first person to show documented proof of supernatural abilities or communication with the dead. A committee of five men that included Harry Houdini judged whether or not the phenomena were real. After several popular mediums failed to manifest the promised results, the most credible of them, a high-society medium named Margery Crandon, caused the committee to split over whether she had won the contest. Houdini became her harshest critic and stridently insisted, not only in séances but also in newspapers, that she was a fraud.

Why I picked it up: I have always been interested in Harry Houdini and his career as an escape artist, and this book promised to show me a new side of him as an anti-spiritualism crusader. (While he wanted to believe that he could contact his dead mother (with whom he had been very close), he also didn't want to be flimflammed.)

Why I finished it: Both Britain and America experienced a popular surge of belief in Spiritualism after the Great War. Citizens desperately wanted to know that death was not the end, and many parents/loved ones used the services of mediums to try to contact those killed in the war. One such medium was a woman who claimed to be able to generate ectoplasm (a streamer of visible otherworldly energy) from her vagina while conducting a séance. Turns out she was storing crepe paper ribbons in her lady parts and producing them during the session. Another woman, who claimed to be able to manifest flesh from the spirit world, was caught hiding human remains in the same place. When everyone thought she was still sitting in her chair in the dark, she would rub the cold flesh on participants shoulders and hands. (Once precautions were taken to keep the medium in her chair, the manifestations vanished.) Houdini and his fellow committee members used different strategies to catch her and others, including building a cage so that mediums couldn’t stand up or move during séances.

It’s perfect for: My friend Ken, who had me watch James Randi’s TED talk. Randi has made it his life's work to expose quackery both in paranormal claims and in folk medicine. He has a standing, two-decade old, one million dollar offer for anyone who can prove supernatural abilities under scientific conditions. Houdini would be proud of the Great Randini!

Amazon | Powell's
Bread and a Dog by Natsuko Kuwahara
Phaidon, 2015. 9780714870489. 112 pages.

Link to this review by sarahhunt tagged artcoffee table bookcookbook

Food stylist and photographer Kuwahara takes pictures of her meals and snacks, which always include bread. Her dog can always be seen under the table, gazing up longingly. Captions describe each meal and the sassy thoughts of the dog under it. Recipes are at the end of the book.

Why I picked it up: I spotted the book on display in a bookstore, and the meal on the cover caught my eye.

Why I finished it: Each meal looks perfect and delicious. I’ve heard that Japan should be just as famous for its high-quality European-style and Asian influenced baked goods as for noodles and seafood. After seeing photos of rustic walnut bread, a chestnut bagel, and light-as-cake white bread, I'm a believer. The book inspired me to put some of Kuwahara's easy variety and elegance into my own meals -- so far I’ve made her simple green salad with quartered fresh figs and prosciutto.

It’s perfect for: Bibi. She’s an artist who will enjoy the sleek simplicity of each meal and place setting, especially when her own life feels cluttered.

Amazon | Powell's
Imagine a World by Rob Gonsalves
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2015. 9781481449731. 48 pages.

Link to this review by wally tagged picture bookpoetry

Artist Rob Gonsalves asks readers to imagine worlds that challenge their perceptions by pairing short poems with dreamlike paintings. On one page, he suggests that each word in a book is the start of a bigger idea; the painting shows people studying among stacks of books that become towers of a city. In another, a tree trunk vanishes into distance as its branches become rivers and streams. The poem invites the reader to "climb up to a valley / paddle along a branch, / and feel the cool shade of a forest / from a single tree."

Why I picked it up: I had encountered his previous books, Imagine a Night, Imagine a Day, and Imagine a Place, and this looked like a good companion volume.

Why I finished it: His artwork is reminiscent of M.C. Escher’s Sky and Water woodcuts in which drawings of birds on one half of a page seem to transform and become fish on the other half. Gonsalves's paintings always depict people in natural settings. A poem that invokes "rushing water / steps and spins to life / in the rhythm of nature's dance" is paired with a painting of white water flowing over rocks that becomes, at its base, a group of dancers.

It’s perfect for: Rose, who is trying to raise her children to be optimists, and who would appreciate the positive feel of each brief poem. She would enjoy sharing this book with her young son, Aidan. He likes boats, and will particularly love the picture in which fir trees seem to become the masts of sailing ships paired with a poem that imagines "the scent of an adventure / that awakens the woods / and lets stones set sail."

Amazon | Powell's
Delilah Dirk and the King's Shilling by Tony Cliff
First Second, 2016. 9781626721555. 272 pages.

Link to this review by geneambaum tagged graphic novelhistorical fiction

After rescuing a young boy on behalf of his father, swashbuckling adventurers Delilah Dirk and Selim head to Portugal to check out some Moorish ruins. England and France are fighting one another across their path, and Delilah is taken into custody by a group of British redcoats led by Major Merrick, who takes a personal dislike to her. Accused of espionage, Delilah faces imprisonment and execution. Selim manages to set her free, but she decides to return to England, confront Merrick, and save her reputation. To do all that, she’ll also have to rejoin her proper, upper-class family who have no idea what she’s been up to in Europe.

Why I picked it up: I loved the first book, and Tony Cliff is one of the nicest comics pros I’ve ever met. 

Why I finished it: I’m sure I’ve said this before, but Delilah Dirk’s fights are amazing ballets in which she exhibits her skills, quickness, and bravery. (She reminds me of Errol Flynn’s Robin Hood.) She’s also funny. One of my favorite moments is when Merrick first confronts Delilah and Selim in Spain. He finds their swords suspicious, and can’t believe anyone would need help from a woman and a Turk. Merrick asks how they avoid French patrols. Delilah offers him the short version: “We go around.” Merrick, unsatisfied with that, asks for the long version. Delilah: “Weee gooooo arrooouuunnnnnnnd.”  Merrick isn’t quite as amused as I was. (And then there’s one of those great fights I was talking about, this one between Delilah and the Redcoats. She clearly gets the better of Merrick and his men.)

Readalikes: Shannon and Dean Hale have written about a few heroic heroines as well, including The Princess in Black illustrated by LeUyen Pham and Rapunzel’s Revenge illustrated by Dean Hale. And even though it’s in French, check out this collection of Pierre Allery and Ange’s Belladone, a story about a female secret agent in late 1600s Paris which is worth reading for the elegant sword fights alone. on Thursday, June 23, 20162016-06-23T00:00:00+00:002016-06-23T00:00:00+00:00
Looking for the best merchandise for librarians and book lovers? Visit Unshelved At ALA Annual Booth #520!

Unshelved comic strip for 6/23/2016

link to this strip | tweet this | share on facebook | email us to look forward to at ALA Annual!2016-06-22T00:00:00+00:002016-06-22T00:00:00+00:00
by Ang ( link to this post | email me | my twitter )


This week, our sponsors bring you even more to look forward to at the upcoming ALA Annual Conference. Click this week's banners or the links below for details on book buzzes, author events, panels, giveaways, special discounts, and a whole lot more!

And don't forget to visit Unshelved at Booth #520! Gene and I will be there with books, card catalog USB drives, Never Forget shirts, totes, buttons, onesies, kids' tees, and many more of your Unshelved favorites.

We'll see you in Orlando! on Wednesday, June 22, 20162016-06-22T00:00:00+00:002016-06-22T00:00:00+00:00
Looking for the best merchandise for librarians and book lovers? Visit Unshelved At ALA Annual Booth #520!

Unshelved comic strip for 6/22/2016

link to this strip | tweet this | share on facebook | email us on Tuesday, June 21, 20162016-06-21T00:00:00+00:002016-06-21T00:00:00+00:00
Our Books Are Universal! Visit HarperCollins at ALA Booth  #1403.

Unshelved comic strip for 6/21/2016

link to this strip | tweet this | share on facebook | email us on Monday, June 20, 20162016-06-20T00:00:00+00:002016-06-20T00:00:00+00:00
Come to The Happiest Book Buzz on Earth! Get ARCs, tote bags, refreshments, and the inside scoop on upcoming titles from Penguin Random House. For giveaways, author signings, and info on other events at ALA Annual, visit Booth #2302/2303.

Unshelved comic strip for 6/20/2016

link to this strip | tweet this | share on facebook | email us on Sunday, June 19, 20162016-06-19T00:00:00+00:002016-06-19T00:00:00+00:00
Join Tor and LITA for a speculative fiction panel featuring distinguished Science Fiction and Fantasy writers at ALA Annual.

Unshelved comic strip for 6/19/2016

link to this strip | tweet this | share on facebook | email us

This classic Unshelved strip originally appeared on February 15, 2005. on Saturday, June 18, 20162016-06-18T00:00:00+00:002016-06-18T00:00:00+00:00
Join Tor and LITA for a speculative fiction panel featuring distinguished Science Fiction and Fantasy writers at ALA Annual.

Unshelved comic strip for 6/18/2016

link to this strip | tweet this | share on facebook | email us

This classic Unshelved strip originally appeared on February 14, 2005. & Cookbook Reviews2016-06-17T00:00:00+00:002016-06-17T00:00:00+00:00
by Gene ( link to this post | email me | my twitter )


This week's Unshelved Book Club features cookbook and DIY recommendations that explore becoming a carpenter, delve into the National Archives for historical recipes, and teach you how to personalize your stuff, sculpt extreme pumpkins, and make market-fresh vegetarian French dishes. on Friday, June 17, 20162016-06-17T00:00:00+00:002016-06-17T00:00:00+00:00
Join Tor and LITA for a speculative fiction panel featuring distinguished Science Fiction and Fantasy writers at ALA Annual.

Unshelved comic strip for 6/17/2016

link to this strip | tweet this | share on facebook | email us Book Club on Friday, June 17, 20162016-06-17T00:00:00+00:002016-06-17T00:00:00+00:00

This week's book recommendations from the creators of Unshelved and their friends.Learn who we are, how we pick books, and other books we've featured.

Amazon | Powell's
Picture Cook by Katie Shelly
Ulysses Press, 2013. 9781612432342. 128 pages.

Link to this review in the form of a comic strip by sarahhunt tagged coffee table bookcookbook

Unshelved comic strip for 6/17/2016

Amazon | Powell's
The French Market Cookbook: Vegetarian Recipes from my Parisian Kitchen by Clotilde Dusoulier
Clarkson Potter, 2013. 9780307984821. 224 pages.

Link to this review by wally tagged cookbook

Food blogger Clotilde Dusoulier writes about French cuisine and fresh farmers market ingredients. She begins each season-themed chapter with a brief look at the different fruits, vegetables, and herbs that you might find at your local market or in your garden. She then provides fifteen to twenty recipes that use them, ranging from simple appetizers and salads to soups, preserves both sweet and savory, and heartier dishes.

Why I picked it up: I've been reading her blog, Chocolate and Zucchini, for years. And I wanted to try both refreshing my diet and eating less meat, so this book looked like the perfect fit.

Why I finished it: Whenever I peruse a new cookbook, I like to try three recipes to see if I want to keep going through the book looking for more. I also like to try the simpler, quicker recipes so I don't feel like I'm wasting time, money, and food. Without trying too hard, I found three great recipes from the winter chapter (savory puffs, grated carrot and beet salad with bulgur and figs, and curried leek tart tatin) that my wife and I really liked and would easily make again.

It’s perfect for: My friend Jackie, who is much more serious and consistent about her vegetarian diet than I am. She's not big into cooking lavish meals or spending a lot of time in the kitchen, and she told me she really liked this cookbook (I already gave it to her) for its (mostly) quick recipes. She also confessed that she really liked the large number of desserts, especially the dark chocolate mousse.

The Vegetable Butcher How to Select, Prep, Slice, Dice, and Masterfully Cook Vegetables from Artichokes to Zucchini by Cara Mangini
Workman Publishing, 2016. 9780761180524.

The skills of butchery meet the world of fresh produce in this essential, inspiring guide that demystifies the world of vegetables.

In step-by-step photographs, “vegetable butcher” Cara Mangini shows how to break down a butternut squash, cut a cauliflower into steaks, peel a tomato properly, chiffonade kale, turn carrots into coins and parsnips into matchsticks, and find the meaty heart of an artichoke.

Additionally, more than 150 original, simple recipes put vegetables front and center, from a Kohlrabi Carpaccio to Zucchini, Sweet Corn, and Basil Penne, to a Parsnip-Ginger Layer Cake to sweeten a winter meal. It’s everything you need to know to get the best out of modern, sexy, and extraordinarily delicious vegetables.

Don't miss a special appearance by Cara Mangini on the What’s Cooking @ ALA Demonstration Stage on Sunday, June 26, at 3:30 p.m.

Sponsored - Learn more about this book - How to sponsor Unshelved

Amazon | Powell's
Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter by Nina MacLaughlin
Norton, 2015. 9780393239133. 240 pages.

Link to this review by emilyreads tagged nonfiction

At thirty, Nina MacLaughlin had grown weary of her position as an online editor at The Boston Phoenix. On a whim she answered a Craigslist ad for a job as an apprentice carpenter (no experience necessary). Hammer Head traces MacLaughlin's journey from ignorance to competence under the firm but forgiving hand of her boss, Mary, a no-nonsense carpenter. Readers will come away with a better appreciation of the bones within their own homes and the skills of the people who build and repair them.

Why I picked it up: I read this on the way to my second weeklong mission trip doing construction and repair with Appalachia Service Project in West Virginia. I wanted to get back in the mindset of women who wear work boots.

Why I finished it: The book has a great rhythm. MacLaughlin focuses each chapter on a particular tool, naturally weaving a bit of its history into the narrative of her apprenticeship. I already knew many of the skills and tricks she was learning, but the sociological history was a nice bonus.

It's perfect for: People who liked the idea of Matthew Crawford's Shop Class as Soulcraft but (like me) found it too esoteric. Personally, I'm giving it to my friend Sarah, who went from business-school adjunct professor to hardcore gym instructor. She'd appreciate the physicality of the story: the strained muscles, the tangible progress, and the sensuality of hard work.

Savor Rustic Recipes Inspired by Forest, Field, and Farm by Ilona Oppenheim
Artisan, 2016. 9781579656669.

“Gorgeous. . . . A treat even if you don’t feel like cooking.” —The New York Times

Savor is a stunning cookbook that celebrates rustic good food made from natural ingredients.

Experiencing the bounty of nature is one of life’s great joys: foraging, gardening, fishing, and, ultimately, cooking casual meals, whether indoors or outside over an open fire. From her home in the mountains of Aspen, Colorado, Ilona Oppenheim devises recipes that make the best use of the abundance of her surroundings: foraged mushrooms and berries, fresh-caught fish, pasture-raised dairy, and home-milled flours. Oppenheim’s recipes rely on quality ingredients and simple cooking techniques to make nutritious, family-centric dishes, including Kale and Feta Quiche, Ricotta and Roasted Fig Bruschetta, Vegetable Soup with Mini Meatballs, Porcini Fettuccine, Tomato Tart, Oatmeal Baked Apples, and Pear Crisp, among others. Many of these recipes call for only a handful of ingredients and require very few steps, resulting in dishes that are easy to make and fresh, wholesome, and delicious too.

This romantic and delicious portrayal of living in harmony with nature will appeal to gardeners, gatherers, foragers, and home cooks but will also transport the armchair reader straight to the forest. The natural beauty of mountains, valleys, streams, and vast swaths of land jumps out from these stunning pages.

Sponsored - Learn more about this book - How to sponsor Unshelved

Amazon | Powell's
This Belongs to Me: Cool Ways to Personalize Your Stuff by Anna Wray
Running Press Kids, 2013. 9780762449293. 128 pages.

Link to this review by sarahhunt tagged nonfiction

Express yourself and create cool, personal designs on your stuff using stencils, spray paint, fabric paint, markers, and more.

Why I picked it up: So many craft books are super-cute and suburban. It was great to find something with a DIY punk aesthetic.

Why I finished it: The emphasis on creating something of your own rather than making a perfect copy was refreshing. There are "Freestyle Space" pages left open for planning out your own design before you start a project.

Readalikes: Whatcha Mean, What's A Zine? and Lila and Ecco's Do-It-Yourself Comics Club both offer more ways to empower young people to express themselves and make their own stuff. 

Food Swap Specialty Recipes for Bartering, Sharing & Giving — Including the World’s Best Salted Caramel Sauce by Emily Paster
Storey Publishing, 2016. 9781612125633.

Part cookbook, part how-to guide, Food Swap features more than 80 recipes for artisanal items that will be coveted at food swaps and adored as gifts, including everything from salted caramel sauce and Meyer lemon curd to green tomato salsa, lavender shortbread, cultured butter, apricot jalapeño jelly, and rum vanilla extract. You’ll also find creative ways to irresistibly package your items, plus perforated gift tags ready for personalization. Finally, author Emily Paster — co-founder of the Chicago Food Swap, one of the biggest in the world — offers guidance on setting up a food swap in your own community, as well as inspiring stories from people who are part of this growing movement.

Don't miss a special appearance by Emily Paster on the What’s Cooking @ ALA Demonstration Stage on Sunday, June 26, at 11:30 a.m.

Sponsored - Learn more about this book - How to sponsor Unshelved

Amazon | Powell's
Extreme Pumpkin Carving by Vic Hood, Jack A. Williams
Fox Chapel Publishing, 2013. 9781565238060. 104 pages.

Link to this review by robert tagged artnonfiction

The authors start with a couple of pages about the origins of Halloween, and how the Irish tradition of carving lanterns out of turnips became the familiar jack-o-lantern thanks to pumpkins. Then they dive into extreme pumpkin carving, a relief carving style that could be used on a rounded block of wood. There are tips for selecting thick-walled squashes and using spray lacquers to preserve carved gourds. (Hood and Williams even suggest artificial pumpkins be used if one wants a permanent work of art.) The first section of the chapter on carving techniques focuses on common kitchen knives while the second shows how to achieve the same effects with gougers, chisels, and other woodworking tools. (I was surprised they didn’t give instructions on how to put a pumpkin in a lathe!) The gallery of great, sometimes gargantuan carved gourds (some weighing over 500 pounds) features portraits of grotesque ogres and weathered wise men (think of Gandalf the Grey). (One of the artists whose work is in the gallery is Russ Leno. You can watch him carve a seal pumpkin for the Seattle Aquarium.) Hood and Williams depict entire scenes of terror on the largest of pumpkins, and they close the book with a selection of sketches to inspire readers.

Why I picked it up: I was looking for Halloween books at my local library and with a title like that I couldn't resist.

Why I finished it:  Compared to the snaggle-toothed goblins that I hacked out as a kid, this was a very sculptural approach to pumpkin carving. I was fascinated by the authors' novel approach to this traditional craft. I was very surprised that Hood and Williams don't want carvers to hollow out the pumpkins. (They keep longer this way.) I'll be copying their techniques for imagining a finished jack-o-lantern on paper, transferring the image to a pumpkin’s surface, and carving away. But unlike them I'll be putting lights inside.

It’s perfect for: My science fiction book club pal Adam. His pre-Halloween parties feature jack-o-lantern carving contests. He leaves the completed pumpkins strung up in front of his house with lights, and is happy to report that having thirty or so of these deters some trick-or-treaters.

Yarnitecture A Knitter's Guide to Spinning: Building Exactly the Yarn You Want by Jillian Moreno
Storey Publishing, 2016. 9781612125213.

Create your dream yarn! Discover the pleasures of designing and building custom-made yarn by spinning it yourself, choosing everything from color to feel and gauge. Jillian Moreno leads you through every step of yarn construction, with detailed instructions and step-by-step photos showing you how to select the fiber you want (wool, cotton, silk, synthetic), establish a foundation, and spin a beautiful yarn with the structure, texture, and color pattern that you want. In addition to teaching you the techniques you need for success, Moreno also offers 12 delicious original patterns from prominent designers, each one showcasing hand-spun yarns.

Sponsored - Learn more about this book - How to sponsor Unshelved

Amazon | Powell's
Eating with Uncle Sam: Recipes and Historical Bites from the National Archives by Patty Reinert Mason
Giles, 2011. 9781907804007. 144 pages.

Link to this review by sarahhunt tagged cookbookhistory

Recipes from presidents, army cooks, school lunch programs, and even "Aunt Sammy," the wife of Uncle Sam and a host of her own radio cooking show, illustrated with inspirational wartime posters and historic photographs.

Why I picked it up: I flipped it open to a recipe from a World War I pamphlet called “Sweets Without Sugar” that was loaded with corn syrup. (It wasn't created to promote health, it was intended to save granulated sugar for soldiers overseas.)

Why I finished it: The recipes are often delightfully impractical for the modern cook. How about baking 100 school-lunch biscuits with four pounds of flour and 1 pound ten ounces of fat? Or try tea bread made with two cups of hard-to-find barley flour? This isn't nostalgia, this is no-holds-barred history!

Watchalikes: On The Supersizers Go, the hosts eat their way through eras of British food in a way that is funny, educational, and disgusting. In the reality show 1940s House, a mom tries desperately to keep her family fed on a re-creation of rationed 1940s food. sponsors are headed to ALA Annual in Orlando!2016-06-16T00:00:00+00:002016-06-16T00:00:00+00:00
by Ang ( link to this post | email me | my twitter )


Amazing ARCs! Sensational Signings! Great giveaways! Spectacular swag! (Auspicious alliteration!)

Our sponsors are getting ready to head to ALA Annual and they are intent on putting on quite a show. Click this week's banners or the links below for Book Buzz details, schedules for author & illustrator signings, info on highly anticipated panels, the inside scoop on the best events, and a treasure-trove of galleys and giveaways. (I know I'm not the only only who is already coveting the RBG I Dissent tote!)

Also, be sure to take a peek at tomorrow's special Cookbook & DIY-themed Book Club to learn more about cookbook author appearances on the What’s Cooking @ ALA Demonstration Stage.

Next week we'll feature even more sponsors headed to Orlando, so check back often! on Thursday, June 16, 20162016-06-16T00:00:00+00:002016-06-16T00:00:00+00:00
Visit Simon & Schuster at ALA Booth #1302 to pick up an RBG I DISSENT tote bag!

Unshelved comic strip for 6/16/2016

link to this strip | tweet this | share on facebook | email us on Wednesday, June 15, 20162016-06-15T00:00:00+00:002016-06-15T00:00:00+00:00
Visit Workman at ALA Booth #1340 for galleys, author signings, great swag, and more!

Unshelved comic strip for 6/15/2016

link to this strip | tweet this | share on facebook | email us on Tuesday, June 14, 20162016-06-14T00:00:00+00:002016-06-14T00:00:00+00:00
Norton will be at ALA Booth #2027. Learn more about their Book Buzz, giveaways, and author events -- including a signing by Patrick Phillips!

Unshelved comic strip for 6/14/2016

link to this strip | tweet this | share on facebook | email us on Monday, June 13, 20162016-06-13T00:00:00+00:002016-06-13T00:00:00+00:00
Click through or visit ALA Booth #2303 for all the juicy details on daily giveaways, special appearances, and a Fresh-Squeezed Audiobook Buzz bought to you by Books On Tape and Listening Library.

Unshelved comic strip for 6/13/2016

link to this strip | tweet this | share on facebook | email us on Sunday, June 12, 20162016-06-12T00:00:00+00:002016-06-12T00:00:00+00:00
For every story, there's a voice. Recorded Books presents Simon Vance.

Unshelved comic strip for 6/12/2016

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This classic Unshelved strip originally appeared on February 13, 2005. on Saturday, June 11, 20162016-06-11T00:00:00+00:002016-06-11T00:00:00+00:00
For every story, there's a voice. Recorded Books presents Barbara Rosenblat.

Unshelved comic strip for 6/11/2016

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This classic Unshelved strip originally appeared on February 6, 2005. Reviews2016-06-10T00:00:00+00:002016-06-10T00:00:00+00:00
by Gene ( link to this post | email me | my twitter )


This week's Unshelved Book Club features books about professional guinea pigs, a boy whose grandfather was injured when his ship was torpedoed, debilitating health problems, a brainy nerd who heads down a dark path, and a collection of positive short stories about the future. on Friday, June 10, 20162016-06-10T00:00:00+00:002016-06-10T00:00:00+00:00
For every story, there's a voice. Recorded Books presents Johnny Heller.

Unshelved comic strip for 6/10/2016

link to this strip | tweet this | share on facebook | email us Book Club on Friday, June 10, 20162016-06-10T00:00:00+00:002016-06-10T00:00:00+00:00

This week's book recommendations from the creators of Unshelved and their friends.Learn who we are, how we pick books, and other books we've featured.

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Hippopotamister by John Patrick Green
First Second, 2016. 9781626722002. 96 pages.

Link to this review in the form of a comic strip by geneambaum tagged graphic novel

Unshelved comic strip for 6/10/2016

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Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future by Ed Finn, Kathryn Cramer, others.
William Morrow, 2014. 9780062204691. 560 pages.

Link to this review by wally tagged anthologyscience fictionshort stories

A collection of seventeen stories of a more or less positive future. (No dystopias allowed.) Many will appeal to geeks and engineers for their hard science. Neal Stephenson's "Atmosphaera Incognita" follows two old friends, one a commercial real estate agent, the other a billionaire with a plan to build a twenty-kilometer tower in the desert. Buying usable land is easy enough for the agent, leaving the billionaire time to consider all the engineering challenges, although a massive lightning bolt surprises everyone. Some are outright utopian, like "Girl in Wave : Wave in Girl" by Kathleen Ann Goonan. In it a teen learns from her mentor how some neurological adaptations allowed people to overcome everything from dyslexia to illiteracy, freeing up humanity to leave behind all educational institutions and philosophies. But not all the stories are quite so optimistic. "Covenant" by Elizabeth Bear follows a person whose neurological-chemical treatments (and surgery) changed her from a remorseless convicted serial killer to a woman who only remembers what it was like to be that man. When she is kidnapped by the same kind of man she once was, she knows how he thinks and plans her escape, all while feeling something like remorse for the first time.

Why I picked it up: In a political climate that denies a lot of basic science, I was feeling a bit depressed until I saw this anthology. Neal Stephenson gave a talk at Arizona State University that asked why we don't have any really big scientific/technological thinking these days, and challenged a number of writers to think big as a way of stimulating the doers. There’s a website devoted to talking about these stories as well as projects that might arise from them.

Why I finished it: The best stories had solid characters pushing against fear and ignorance. "Elephant Angels," by Brenda Cooper follows a group of citizens as they use drones to stop poachers from killing elephants. When a beginner's mistake allows a group to surprise the animals, she and her colleagues are able to track and recover the ivory as it makes its way to wealthy clients.

Includes stories by: Neal Stephenson, Kathleen Ann Goonan, Madeline Ashby, Cory Doctorow, Lee Konstantinou, Karl Schroeder, Annalee Newitz, Geoffrey A. Landis, James L. Cambias, Gregory Benford, Vandana Singh, Brenda Cooper, Elizabeth Bear, Rudy Rucker, David Brin, Charlie Jane Anders, and Bruce Sterling.

It’s perfect for: Daniel, who creates DIY and makerspace programs for his library. He would love Cory Doctorow's "The Man Who Sold the Moon." It follows a couple of friends as they create a solar sinter for use at a Burning Man show, and then try to make it so it will work on the moon, allowing future colonists to build their very own yurts out of the fused tiles.

Fighting Dirty by Lori Foster, narrated by Jim Frangione
Recorded Books, 2016. 9781490609973.

He's the hottest MMA fighter in the game, but one woman is ready to try out a few steamy moves of her own in an unforgettable new novel from New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster. With the life he's led and the muscles he's gained, Armie Jacobson isn't afraid of anything. Except maybe Merissa Colter's effect on him. It's not just that she's his best friend's little sister. Fact is, she deserves better. Women pursue him for one night of pleasure, and that's all he wants to offer. Until rescuing Merissa from a robbery leads to the most erotic encounter of his life. Good girl meets bad boy. It's a story that rarely ends well. But Merissa is taking matters into her own hands. No matter how he views himself, the Armie she knows is brave, honorable and completely loyal. And as past demons and present-day danger collide, they're both about to learn what's truly worth fighting for.
Romance, Suspense Thriller

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Placebo Junkies by J.C. Carleson
Alfred A. Knopf, 2015. 9780553497243. 304 pages.

Link to this review by diane tagged coming of age

Audie and her friends are professional guinea pigs. They get paid to test drugs and cosmetics for pharmaceutical companies. It’s not a bad life as long as you don’t mind being poked and prodded endlessly. After-effects including skin lesions, lethargy, digestive upsets, and psychosis. Audie’s best friend, Charlotte, and Audie’s terminally ill boyfriend, Dylan, keep her grounded and signing up for more experimentation.  

Why I picked it up: How do new drugs get approved? What motivates people to do this? And I liked the ethical questions that were a big part of a story that could have been a typical YA romance/friendship. 

Why I finished it: Told in alternating chapters between Audie’s first-person voice and articles from her online blog, a “how-to” primer on making money as a drug trial subject, she describes her experiences in vivid detail. I was caught up in the story of these kids trying to survive on the meager payouts they earn from the experiments. (Some are still teenagers with fake IDs, others are already in their twenties. All living on their own without family support or real jobs.) As she and her friends begin to exhibit more and more devastating reactions, the story takes a more serious turn, and I began to doubt Audie’s reliability. I had to finish and find out what was true and what was just her vivid imagination.

Readalikes: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart also features an unreliable narrator and a group of close-knit young adults. The events that occur at the family vacation home tie cousins together, and reveal shocking secrets that hint at mental illness. Both books stayed with me for a while.

Changes In Latitudes by Will Hobbs, narrated by Johnny Heller
Recorded Books, 2016. 9781428197558.

Sixteen-year-old Travis is looking for a good time. A vacation in Mexico with his mother and two siblings might cramp his style, but he's willing to take that risk for a chance to cruise the beaches. Some things keep gnawing at him, though, like leaving Dad crying at the airport, and watching Mom disappear with a mysterious 'headache' every afternoon that they're in Mexico. Some creep is following Jennifer around, and ten-year-old Teddy is obsessed with saving endangered sea turtles-an obsession, it turns out, that will change the course of all their lives. Once again, with Changes in Latitudes, the author vividly captures the angst of a teenager who is forced to deal with complicated emotions: anger, betrayal, love, guilt, and loss.
Juvenile Fiction

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Half a Man by Michael Morpurgo, Gemma O'Callaghan
Candlewick Press, 2015. 9780763677473. 64 pages.

Link to this review by robert tagged chapter book

As a child, Michael had vivid nightmares about Grandpa aboard a torpedoed ship, then floating in a burning sea and trying to hoist himself into a lifeboat. These nightmares always came before Grandpa's rare visits. Grandpa seldom came from the Scilly Islands to London, where his daughter, her husband, and their son Michael lived. Michael's parents constantly warn him not to stare at Grandpa, but he can't help it because of Grandpa's scarred face and ruined hands. (He has a total of three half-fingers between them.) Michael knows Grandpa was on a ship that was torpedoed during the Second World War, but his parents won't tell him much beyond that.

Why I picked it up: The title was provocative. Who was half a man? How did he get that way?

Why I finished it: The answers to these and other questions came at an accelerating pace. First, the narrator reveals his childhood nightmares were fueled by what little his parents knew and shared about what happened to Grandpa. The next stage comes as Michael, about age twelve, travels to Grandpa's cottage on Bryher, “a tiny island, with only about eighty people.” He becomes used to Grandpa's silent ways and his love of reading books about the sea. Then one day Grandpa tells Michael the details he's never told anyone else about the torpedoing, the rescue, the rehabilitation. Grandpa even tells Michael about the family estrangement, how his wife Annie left with Michael's mother, and how Michael's mother hasn't spoken to Annie in twenty years. Grandpa doesn't think that separation is right. His dying wish is to buried at sea with all his family there.

It’s perfect for: My mother. She’ll appreciate the way illustrator Gemma O'Callaghan's simple illustrations, filled with large blocks of even colors, complement Morpurgo’s plain, descriptive writing style. Before I read Half a Man, I'm not sure I'd have imagined a vivid illustration of a sinking merchant ship, afire at sea, with men swimming away, beautifully rendered in only five colors.

Readalikes: Written as a novel for adults, Nicholas Monsarrat's The Cruel Sea also features plain descriptive prose and it, too, is set during the convoy battles of the North Atlantic during the Second World War. One of Grandpa's favorite writers is Arthur Ransome, and I’d recommend his We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea, a youthful nautical misadventure.

Blackberry Summer by RaeAnne Thane, narrated by Amanda Leigh Cobb
Recorded Books, 2016. 9781501902505.

Claire Bradford needed a wake-up call. What she didn't need was a tragic car accident. As a single mom and the owner of a successful bead shop, Claire leads a predictable life in Hope's Crossing, Colorado. So what if she has no time for romance? At least, that's what she tells herself, especially when her best friend's sexy younger brother comes back to town as the new chief of police. But when the accident forces Claire to slow down and lean on others—especially Riley McKnight—she realizes, for the first time, that things need to change. And not just in her own life. The accident-and the string of robberies committed by teenagers that led up to it-is a wake-up call to the people of Hope's Crossing. The sense of community and togetherness had been lost during those tough years. But with a mysterious "Angel of Hope" working to inspire the town, Riley and Claire will find themselves opening up to love and other possibilities by the end of an extraordinary summer.

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The Hospital Suite by John Porcellino
Drawn & Quarterly, 2014. 9781770461642. 250 pages.

Link to this review by geneambaum tagged biographygraphic novel

This book features three shorter autobiographical works by Porcellino about his debilitating health problems and his frustrations in seeking both traditional and alternative treatments. From agonizing stomach pain to abdominal surgery, severe hyperacusis to swelling ears, OCD to turning orange, Porcellino seeks to heal and comfort himself with meditation as well as medication, therapy, and dietary supplements, often with little success.

Why I picked it up: I fell in love with Porcellino's minimalist cartooning style when I read his adaptation of Thoreau's Walden.

Why I finished it: There's a great sequence between pages eighty-three and ninety-one where Porcellino is put under with anesthesia for surgery, and then hallucinates a jabberwocky and a roadrunner as he's coming out of it. It's simple and brilliant. I liked the way he meditated on death, realizing that since he wasn't afraid to be born, he shouldn't be afraid to die. And Porcellino includes what is now my favorite Zen kōan.

I wouldn't give it to: My friend Richard, who is a bit of a hypochondriac. I do think he'd enjoy it, as he often seeks alternative health treatments himself. But I'm afraid that reading about Porcellino's health problems, some of which may have been caused by exposure to chemicals during his time as an insecticide sprayer, would lead Richard to have many of the same, unpleasant symptoms.  

1636: The Saxon Uprising by by Eric Flint, narrated by George Guidall
Recorded Books, 2016. 9781490647333.

Alternate history master Eric Flint returns in top form with an epic addition to the multiple New York Times best-selling Ring of Fire series. A cosmic accident sets the modern town of Grantville, West Virginia, down in war-torn seventeenth century Europe and a new nation is forged. Now when United States of Europe ally King Gustavas of Sweden invades Poland, the U.S. of E. is dragged into a full-scale European war against ruthless opponents. Meanwhile Mike Stearns, wily and courageous leader of the up-time West Virginians, has been turned out of office in an election. But, like Churchill (before and after him) Stearns is not done yet. He's determined to stoke the fires of democratic rebellion in Saxony near the main front, and thus keep the young nation he founded, and once led, out of the hands of medieval tyrants-tyrants who would like nothing better than to wipe those troublesome upstarts from the future off the timeline and go back to the bad old days of oppression and serfdom.
Science Fiction, Historical Fiction

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The Trouble in Me by Jack Gantos
Macmillan Young Listeners, 2015. B013VMIJFG.

Link to this review by dawnrutherford tagged audiobookbiographycoming of age

In Hole in My Life, author Jack Gantos told about his troubled youth, when he went along with a drug smuggling scheme and ended up in prison. In this new memoir, he explores why he went from being an innocent kid to the sort who would make such bad decisions.

Why I picked it up: Listening to Hole in My Life was an important event for me -- it was one of the first times that a book being read by the author made it even more honest and powerful.

Why I finished it: It was painful to see young Gantos transform from an innocent, brainy nerd to a kid heading down a dark path. Jack's loneliness and lack of positive adult connections left him adrift and vulnerable to the terrible attentions of his delinquent next door neighbor. Under his influence, Gantos risked his life doing idiotic stunts (such as catapulting over a house into a swimming pool), burnt all his clothes, and shoplifted a new hoodlum wardrobe.

It’s perfect for: The teen staff at my library system. Most of us were pretty good kids who never fed that spark of trouble. Reading about Gantos will help them understand the "bad kids" better, and why they need all the more attention and compassion.