Shelfish: The Blog of Answers

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Dust jacket is of Yellow flowered Wallpaper.The last two book books I’ve read (I Capture the Castle & Divining Women) mentioned the “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.  Deciding to fix this gap in my education, I picked up a copy of the 24 page/6,000 word short story. Published in 1892, it is written as the secret journal of a woman living in a rented country house while undergoing a rest cure for depression. Although she has been forbidden to do so, the unnamed narrator writes down her feelings. Her frightening descent into madness manifests itself in a chilling rendering of the creature she believes resides beneath the bedroom’s yellow wallpaper.

Find The Yellow Wallpaper in the library.

Inspiration Information/Wings of Love by Shuggie Otis

Shuggie Otis, Insipration Information. Older Shuggie facing left, younger Shuggie facing right with a butterfly in the middle. It's hard to pin this album down to any one genre. Shuggie's own label, Shugiterius Enterprises, admits that he would only be a household name to "those that are knowledgeable about popular R & B-Blues-Rock-Funk music that was released during the mid-sixties, and early seventies."

Shuggie Otis has been in the music business for a long time. In fact, he started performing with his father, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Johnny Otis, at the tender age of 12 in night clubs throughout southern California. After his father brought him into the recording studio he became an in-demand session guitarist and appears on albums by everyone from Above the Law to Frank Zappa. Eventually Shuggie started recording his own tracks and released his first album in 1969. Inspiration Information  was originally released in 1974 as Shuggie's third studio record. Shuggie has absolute control over this album. He played every instrument and sang every part.  The album was reissued in 2001 on David Byrne's label, Luaka Bop. That edition had four tracks from Shuggie's 1971 album Freedom Flight. This release doesn't, but it does have four brand new bonus tracks. It also comes with a second disc of previously unreleased recordings from 1975-2000 entitled Wings of Love.

This album is, in a word, smooth.

Find Inspiration Information/Wings of Love in the library.

Gun Machine by Warren Ellis

Gun Machine by Warren Ellis"The room was full of guns. Guns were mounted on all the walls. There were half a dozen guns at his feet... Rippling patterns of gunmetal, from floor to ceiling... There were guns in all the rooms."

John Tallow is a New York police detective who's having a very bad week. He's discovered an apartment in a condemned building, filled with hundreds of guns - each used to commit a single murder.  His disturbance of the trophies of the city's most prolific serial killer sets off a chain reaction. Now, powerful people are trying to silence him and the killer is stalking him. Tallow must race against the clock and dig into the history of the city to solve the crimes.

This is actually pretty sedate by Warren Ellis standards (check out his graphic novel series Transmetropolitan or Freak Angels or his other novel Crooked Little Vein for some truly bizarre and rather graphic science fiction). I love the way he weaves mythologies into the story, though. His characters banter and work together wonderfully. And you can't beat Warren Ellis for clever hangdog heroes like John Tallow.

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The Heist by Macklemore, featuring Ryan Lewis

cover for The Heist by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, text and lizard or snake skin patterning in gold outlines on black background"We came here to live life like nobody was watching"

With danceable beats, social-consciousness, and an excellent sense of humor, Macklemore's first studio album features the Billboard Hot 100 #1 hit "Thrift Shop", as well as "Can't Hold Us" and "Same Love".

I first heard "Thrift Shop" on the radio and I did a double-take. A song about resale shops? That's not only funny but catchy and promotes bargain-conscious shopping.. from a rapper? Different, to say the least. Give the rest of the album a listen, too!

Find The Heist in the Library

The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny

jacket art the beautiful mystery"'And a man's foes,' she read out loud, 'shall be they of his own household.'"

Throughout Louise Penny's award-winning mystery series, this Bible verse has been a constant theme, most significantly in The Beautiful Mystery. Chief Inspector Gamache and Inspector Jean-Guy Beauvoir travel to a remote monastery populated by an order of monks who escaped the Inquisition and have lived in solitude for hundreds of years in the woods of Quebec, Canada. Gamache and Beauvoir’s mission is to solve the murder of the order’s choirmaster. With the suspect list limited to the other monks in the monastery, the hunt begins – slowly, painfully, as these men are not accustomed to outsiders. Two even more unexpected and unwelcomed guests heighten the anxiety for the inspectors and the monks, and for good reason. These men are heralds of chaos.

I had a bit of trouble connecting with the book at first, but that quickly changed. The monastic setting really does convey a cloistered feeling, making the characters seem a bit distant. Eventually, I found myself completely sucked into the facets of the central mystery and felt a growing sense of dread for my beloved Gamache and Beauvoir. The ending left me gasping, a little heart-broken, and immediately wanting more.

Find The Beautiful Mystery in the Library

Speaking From Among the Bones by Alan Bradley

Cover of speaking from among the bones“’Dangerous killers on the loose!’ The words which every amateur sleuth lives in eternal hope of hearing.”

The irrepressible child chemist and detective, Flavia de Luce, is at it again in the fifth installment of the award-winning series that began with The Sweetness At The Bottom Of The Pie. The town folk of Bishop’s Lacey, an English country village, are eagerly anticipating the unearthing of the bones of St. Tancred, the 500 year-dead patron saint of the village church. Flavia, as always, is ahead of the game and discovers the body of a much less saintly person instead – St. Tancred’s organist, Mr. Collicutt. With the help of her trusty bicycle, her chemistry lab, and her boundless tenacity, Flavia sets out to discover who would have wanted Mr. Collicutt dead and why.

I’ve loved every one of Bradley’s exceedingly charming, funny, and sharp mysteries, but this might be my new favorite. The central mystery is intriguing enough, but the real gems here are the secret of Flavia’s lost and presumed dead mother and the precarious hold Flavia’s family maintains on their ancestral home, Buckshaw. Of course, Flavia herself is dripping with mischief, charm, and mud, as is her bicycle, Gladys.

Find Speaking From Among the Bones in the Library