Category: Off the Shelf

‘Generation Dead’ revives a dying genre

‘Generation Dead’ revives a dying genre

I’ve noticed over the years that zombie movies and books are all the same. Luckily, even with the same cliché lines, typical zombie behavior, and an easy-to-guess plot, I have yet to become bored with them.

Vampire stories still have bite

Vampire stories still have bite

Vampire stories, it seems, are a clichéd concept that are over-used and boring – not to mention predictable. I try to avoid some vampire books for a fear that I will fall into another story about a sparkling vampire, a love-struck girl, and some mythical creature that is in love with her.

‘The Know-It-All’ quests to learn it all

‘The Know-It-All’ quests to learn it all

Everyone likes a good mountain. Climbing one and then writing about it makes pretty good non-fiction, too. Author and self-professed smart guy, A.J. Jacobs, needed a harrowing task for his next book—so he set himself a mountain.

Life’s worth living ‘Among the Lutherans’

Life’s worth living ‘Among the Lutherans’

Despite its title, Garrison Keillor’s “Life among the Lutherans” is not about religion (either as a screed or preaching) but rather the ways of the Lutherans and their world in the fictional little town of Lake Wobegon, whether it be the trials of Pastor Inqvist, the amusement of the dysfunctional marriage of Clint and Irene Bunsen, or even the funny songs about just being Lutheran. When comparing Lutherans with Episcopalians, one song goes “Henry VIII would marry a woman, And then her head would drop. J. S. Bach had [23] kids, ‘Cause his organ had no stop!”

‘Lover’s dictionary’: redefines relationships

‘Lover’s dictionary’: redefines relationships

Boy wins girl. Boy loses girl. Boy wins girl back. As Hollywood continues to prove, there are only so many ways to tell a love story. David Levithan mixes things up in his 2011 book “The Lover’s Dictionary,” which is actually clever if you can forgive him for the cheesy title.

‘God, No!’ says yes to life’s lessons

‘God, No!’ says yes to life’s lessons

Battles between reason and religion often leave little room for unity or even humor, which can leave some very hurtful scars to believers and frustration from non-believers. And then there’s Penn Jillette, the boisterous half of the magic duo “Penn & Teller,” and his new book “God, No!  Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales.”

‘East’ is enchanting and unforgettable

‘East’ is enchanting and unforgettable

Those long, cold nights of winter are just around the corner. Yes, it’s time for hot chocolate, fleece blankets, a fireplace, and a good book. While the wind is blowing outside and the snow is falling, I can be found on my living room floor, curled up next to the furnace vent, reading my all time favorite.

Historical book sets sail for adventure

Historical book sets sail for adventure

It’s not easy to find good reads these days. Most books we find are cheap paper backs about dirty romances, lousy mysteries, tales from credulous pre-teens who say they saw Heaven, and rabid right-wingers who hate anything new. Fortunately, there are reads out there that are both thrilling and true.

‘Paper Towns’ teaches the value of hellos and goodbyes

‘Paper Towns’ teaches the value of hellos and goodbyes

Over the summer, I found myself reading more than I had in a long time. With classes and homework, my pleasure reading during the school year becomes limited.  However, the infinite free time of...