“Shelf Life – Stories by the Book,” edited by Gary Paulson

“Shelf Life – Stories by the Book,” edited by Gary Paulson is a collection of ten original short stories about how books and writing effect people. What stood out to me most in this innovative collection was the array of different writing genre's presented.

Ellen Conford starts the collection with her story “In Your Hat,” a humorous anecdote about a book review that brings comeuppance upon a practical joker.

Margaret Peterson Haddix continues the book with “Escape,” the story of how a girl who lives with her mother in a homeless shelter comes to understand why books are so important.

“Follow the Water” by Jennifer L. Holm is a science fiction story about a young girl on Mars. The conditions that she must experience are nothing like the fantastic descriptions in the science fiction stories that she read about the Red Planet!

“Testing, Testing, 1...2...3,” by A. LaFaye is about how a boy finally discovers how to do well in school thanks to a magic book given to him by the woman next door.

Gregory Maguire contributed “Tea Party Ends in Bloody Massacre, Film at 11,” the tale of a young tomboy girl who subdues her taste for horror fiction to please her mother's society neighbors.

“What's a Fellow to Do?” by Kathaleen Karr is the story of a young pickpocket during the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The tale has a decidedly remote connection to the Bible story of Moses, but it was still included.

“Wet Hens” by Ellen Whitlinger is the tale of two girls who form a friendship thanks to a book that they both read when they were young children.

“The Good Deed,” by Marion Dane Bauer is about a girl who volunteers to read to a blind woman. At first she just thinks of it as a job until she realizes that what she is doing should be more than a duty.

“Baracole for Paper and Bones,” by M.T. Anderson is a horror story about a deserted ship. The ship's logs, journals, and all records should explain where the crew and captain are, but instead they each tell a different story, with a different terrifying ending.

Finally, “Clean Sweep,” by Joan Bauer explains how a book helps an old woman to make peace with a sister that she had a falling out with many years ago.

“Shelf Life – Stories by the Book,” is quite a fascinating collection of book based stories. Some of them are better written than others, but all together they stand as a solid collection with varied genres and messages that stand solidly. Best of all, sales of this book benefit ProLiteracy Worldwide, to help promote reading skills for everyone.

I would recommend “Shelf Life – Stories by the Book” to readers who love books.

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Inkweaver Review 2009-02-19T10:10:00-06:00

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