Off the Shelves – November 19


The following items are available at the Hancock County Public Library, 900 W. McKenzie Road. For more information on the library’s collection or to reserve a title, visit


“Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights: a Novel” by Salmon Rushdie

In the near future, after a storm strikes New York City, the strangeness begins. A gardener finds that his feet no longer touch the ground. A graphic novelist awakens in his bedroom to a mysterious entity that resembles his own Stan Lee-like creation. A baby abandoned at the mayor’s office identifies corruption with her mere presence, marking the guilty with blemishes and boils. A seductive gold digger is soon tapped to combat forces beyond imagining.

Unbeknownst to them, they are all descended from the whimsical, capricious creatures known as the jinn, who live in a world separated from ours by a veil. Centuries ago, Dunia, a princess of the jinn, fell in love with a mortal man of reason. Together they produced an astonishing number of children, unaware of their fantastical powers, who spread across generations in the human world. Rushdie’s “Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights” (or 1,001 nights) is inspired by the traditional tales of the East.


“The Only Street in Paris: Life on the Rue des Martyrs” by Elaine Sciolino

While many cities suffer from the leveling effects of globalization, the Rue des Martyrs, a street in Paris, maintains its distinct allure. On this street, the patron saint of France was beheaded and the Jesuits took their first vows. It was here that Edgar Degas and Pierre-Auguste Renoir painted circus acrobats, Émile Zola situated a fictional lesbian dinner club in his novel “Nana” and François Truffaut filmed scenes from his movie “The 400 Blows.”

Sciolino reveals the personality of this street through its longtime residents: the Tunisian greengrocer, the husband-and-wife cheesemongers, the showman who’s been running a transvestite cabaret for more than half a century, the owner of a 100-year-old bookstore, the woman who repairs 18th-century mercury barometers.

Part memoir, part travelogue, part love letter to the people who live and work along the Rue des Martyrs, Sciolino, former Paris bureau chief for The New York Times, invites us on a tour of her favorite Parisian street, offering an homage to street life and the pleasures of Parisian living.


“Fad Mania: A History of American Crazes” by Cynthia Overbeck Bix

College students crammed into phone booths; couples dancing until they drop; daredevils swallowing one live goldfish after another; streakers dashing naked down the street; planking and flash mobs and robotic pets. These are just some of the fads that have caught hold in the United States over the last century. Where do these ideas come from, and why do they catch people’s imaginations? “Fad Mania” explores a century of American crazes, offering an informative look at the major historical events of each decade and the fads that defined them.