Category Archives: Short Shelf

The Short Shelf: Three Dog Night (Morning and Noon, Too)

If you must, you may call me a dog lover, but the truth is I haven’t partnered up with a pooch since my childhood sidekick Bessie, female runt of a German shepherd litter. (It’s said German shepherds were renamed Alsatians in the aftermath of Word War I to render them more politically palatable to the […]

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The Short Shelf: Wolves

Wolves haunt those woods Mr. Frost, whether they’re those in the mind’s recesses, or the canine predators roaming the nearest wilderness. Even though they have largely been erased throughout the world where people live, packs of wolves populate our individual and collective memories. And which of us doesn’t wonder how far removed is that canine […]

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Short Shelf: Winter’s Tales

Happy Vernal Equinox to all our readers! Usually this would be an occasion for a sigh of relief, signaling at least the thought of the end of winter in sight. This year, having had no winter to speak of—one freak blizzard just before Halloween that immediately melted, one lovely little snowfall in January that did […]

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Beyond Richard Yates: A Mad Men Short Shelf

Ask for a book recommendation that will help ease your Mad Men withdrawal and it’s a safe bet that someone will mention Richard Yates. (If you Google “Mad Men Richard Yates,” you’ll get 119,000 hits.) And Richard Yates is fabulous — if you haven’t read Revolutionary Road, you should. (Skip the movie. Read the book.) […]

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Short Shelf: The Periodic Table of the Elements

In this age of ever-present data visualization, let’s not forget one of the earliest, prettiest, and most enduring: The Periodic Table of the Elements. Devised by Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev in 1869, it has both genius and simplicity on its side. The 118 known elements are laid out in a table in order of their […]

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Short Shelf: Tres Novelas de Panamá

First of all, I confess to bias, since I was born in la República de Panamá (here at Hospital San Tomás) and was raised in the Canal Zone, which no longer exists—sufficient progress such that my missing home doesn’t matter in the scheme of things. I grew up with a bifurcated identity, one foot in […]

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The Short Shelf: Adoption Awareness Month

By Renée M. DeLuca, born Christina Beata Pellini I was born Christina Beata Pellini on January 7, 1964 to Linda Pellini—exactly one week after most states began closing and sealing all adoption records. Thanks to a mutual consent registry, I was reunited with my birthmother when I was 30 years old, just weeks after giving […]

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The Short Shelf: Captives

By Lynn Reed Of the six books on the 2010 Man Booker Prize shortlist, Emma Donoghue’s Room seems to be the early popular favorite. I read it and liked it, although I’m not sure I thought it was Booker-worthy. It reminded me of two other works about kidnapped young women, one I read recently and […]

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The Short Shelf: ALS—RIP Tony Judt

Historian Tony Judt died on Friday at age 62, from complications of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He had been diagnosed not quite two years ago. Although he was paralyzed and on a ventilator, Judt was teaching and writing up to the end. All this year I was swept up in […]

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The Short Shelf: Dear Diary

By Katharine Weber, author of True Confections Remember the thrill of finding your sister’s secret diary? Perhaps you forced open the flimsy little lock, or you cut the pink leatherette strap, you were so eager to see what was written on those forbidden pages. She was furious and you got in trouble, but it was […]

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