Shelf Life now in New Catalogue

Stratford Public Library has a new catalogue called BiblioCommons. All future Shelf Life reviews will be incorporated into our new catalogue. Check out the catalogue here.

To search for books that have been reviewed in Shelf Life, select tag from the drop down menu in the search box and then search for shelf life reviewed.

We will not be posting any further Shelf Life Reviews on the blog. Thank you for visiting the blog over the past year.

-Stratford Public Library

by Susan Griffith

"Because gap years are wasted on the young..." so says the new edition of Gap Years for Grown Ups. But a "gap year" is not necessarily a full twelve months, it is whatever length of time one needs to recharge, reinvigorate and follow one's bliss. Think of it as a sabbatical, an unpaid leave or just a break, a gap "year" can allow one to achieve a long-time dream, put spring back into one's step and give a person new focus, no matter if a person is burnt out, seeking simplicity or perhaps disheartened for some reason. Taking a break from a job - or just normal life - can be scary though, and this book outlines the steps needed to decide if the time is right for a gap, and how to determine what kinds of activities are out there to fill up that gap if the right time is right now: maybe a turn as an overseas volunteer, or perhaps a spiritual retreat is what is needed? The author includes advice on how to persuade the boss or family about that break, how to afford a gap year, and lots of practical tips for getting around red tape, where and how to find accommodations, health and safety and general travel. The best part are the many stories of people to took that gap and did extrordinary things, like volunteering on biological reserve in Ecuador, moving to Florence to take Italian immersion and cooking courses, teaching Tanzanian villagers how to knit, or leading tours in a variety of countries and cultures. By no means a solitary venture, "gapping" can involve the entire family, and the author shows how kids - especially young children - can quickly adapt to world travel, even with their schoolwork in tow. Lastly, there is a chapter about readapting to one's "normal" life - which may not feel as normal as after taking an exciting gap year of one's own. Click here to reserve a copy in our new on-line catalogue, Bibliocommons.

We're Moving!

SPL Shelf Life reviews can now be found in BiblioCommons, the new discovery layer of the Stratford Public Library Catalogue. To find reviews, simply do a keyword search for Shelf Life.
To visit BiblioCommons, click here.

By Paul Sutherland

The laws of astrophysics state that the universe is expanding, but in 2006 when the International Astronomical Union “demoted” Pluto from a planet to a dwarf “plutoid”, our neighbourhood in it shrank by about 2,543,166,000 km. It created quite a stir, for a planet that had only been discovered in 1930. Astronomy has come a long way in the past century, with the spaceships Voyager 1 and 2 making their trips to infinity and beyond, sending back data along the way, and the powerful Hubble telescope able to capture images of our planets and deep space that are more incredible than any artists’ imagination. All the “news” from our solar system is contained in this well-organized book. The sun and each planet has a chapter dedicated to it and their moons or satellites, and our moon gets one of its own (because it’s ours), plus there are separate chapters on asteroids, comets, and “extra-solar” planets. Mars gets some extra treatment because of the excitement Rover created in finding bacterial fossils, ice and what appeared to be the ‘face of Mars’. One whole section tells you how to observe these heavenly bodies, with the help of the planisphere (included in the book’s cover) which can be set to show what you can see in the sky on any given date and time – if you can escape all our light pollution. There are loads of pictures, Hubble photographs, artists’ renderings and quaint illustrations of superstitions about our past beliefs, more astrological than astronomical. There are side-bar tidbits in each chapter designed to fuel deeper interest in these cosmological spheres, and the author includes a glossary and index for quick references. On a clear night this summer, throw a little planet-gazing into your star-gazing and learn a little more about our place in the universe. Click here to find Where Did Pluto Go? in our on-line catalogue.

by Daniel Acer

Daniel Acer’s book, aimed a slightly older reading audience than Boredom Busters, offers a number of ways in which kids can amaze and astonish themselves and their friends. How? Taking phony UFO photos, turning themselves into headless zombies (using an amazing illusion), making fake Bigfoot footprints, filming a lake monster video, and various other illusionary and magic tricks are presented with illustrated, step-by-step directions. For each hoax, a list of required materials – if any – is provided.

Sound like fun? The whole family can enjoy and participate in the activities of this book, which is based on the television series Mystery Hunters, produced by YTV and Discovery Networks International.

** Recommended for ages 9 to 12 years.
Find this book in the library catalogue.

Boredom Blasters

by Helaine Becker

The sub-title of this book, Brain Bogglers, Awesome Activities, Cool Comics, Tasty Treats, and More hints at the fun to be found in this gem. Easy-to-follow recipes and instructions for games, crafts and recipes, and plenty of quizzes, jokes and brain bogglers, are provided – plus lots of wacky and astounding facts. Kids can make monster footprints, fortune cookies, bread bag tag racers or gross-out gummy worms. They can play “Fortune Bingo”, decipher secret messages, discover some cool calculator tricks, play “Star Warts”, and even learn some simple magic tricks.

As the author states, this is the book to consult if you are sick of watching the grass grow, if you have lost count of the ceiling tiles in your house, or if your thumbs are tired of twiddling! “Whether you use it on your own or with friends, Boredom Blasters will save the day. It’s a superhero, it’s a book … it’s your new best friend!”

“How did so much fun get into one book?” is what children and parents will wonder after perusing this publication!

** Recommended for ages 7 to 11 years.
Find this book in the library catalogue.

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