Calling All Outlander Fans

What have I been reading lately? Outlander by Diana Gabaldon! It’s pure bliss. The plot? A 20th century woman falls through a stone portal to the Scottish highlands 200 years in the past. Outlander has been made into a Starz series, and the first two seasons are now on Netflix. While you wait for the next season (and book), here’s another of Gabaldon’s books: Lord John and the Private Matter. It’s my pick while it lasts!IMG_1388


Craft books for rainy days


What’s better than a great book on a rainy day? In addition to a wide range of novels and non-fiction, we have a wide selection of craft books for you and your family. Plus, Halloween is fast approaching!

Okay, and I just have to add this treasure (also for sale at the Book Shelf!):


Grand Opening Tomorrow


‘Twas the night before grand opening when all through the Book Shelf

Not a used book was stirring, not even a self-help book;

The chairs were placed by the windows with care

in hopes that appreciative readers soon would be there.

See you tomorrow!

10 am – 5 pm


New Arrivals


We’re getting excited for the Grand Opening on Saturday! For all of you history buffs, take a peek at some of the books added to our history section lately.

The Book Shelf

Mon-Fri: 10 am – 7 pm

Saturday: 10 am – 5 pm

Music at the Book Shelf

Do you know that at the Book Shelf we have many shelves devoted to sheet music? From guitar and vocal arrangements to violins and trombones, we have music of all levels!IMG_0966


The Book Shelf

575 3rd Street, Idaho Falls

Mon-Fri: 10 am – 7 pm

Saturday: 10 am – 5 pm


Book Review: Hyperion

Note: Many thanks to Geoff Liu, a patron of the Book Shelf, for this excellent review. If you would like to submit a review of a book sold at the Book Shelf, send it to us at 


Book review: Hyperion by Dan Simmons

I consider myself a veteran of science fiction books. I love the excitement I get whenever I enter a world so different from my own, filled with impossible inventions. Yet it’s only recently that I realized how static those worlds are. The characters always seem to take their environment for granted, perfectly accustomed to the same gadgets that impress and intrigue us. It’s as if cars have been flying ever since the first one left its Ford factory, or as if humans have always had computers plugged into their brains.
Any science fiction book worth the ink it’s printed with can construct such a static world, a world that is. Hyperion manages to construct one that has been. In this world, or rather this universe, humans are still changing, adapting to the consequences of their inventions. Fans of the genre will not be disappointed with the arsenal here: spaceships, sentient AIs, and a touch of cyberpunk surfing. Yet the book isn’t about these. It’s about human nature — still immediately recognizable as our own vestigial atavism — amplified to a galactic scale. That is what I love so much about this book. Greed and lust are unleashed in raw abandon, ravaging the universe with unchecked brutality. Yet faith, hope, and love are clung onto with heartbreaking tenacity and surprisingly good humor; I wonder if it is the only way any such virtue could survive.
So perhaps I was wrong to say that Hyperion constructs a world that has been, but instead it introduces us to a band of travelers who have been. They’ve been adapting, coping with lifetimes lost to space travel, with changing senses of self against an ever-shifting backdrop of their universe, and with the same loss and suffering that define us as humans. It is a book of epic personal struggles; I should’ve gotten the hint with its title and all the references to Keats.
After knowing them as the titans they have been, I simply can’t wait to see how they will be.
Practical matters:
Hyperion is graphic in violence and passion, which might not be suitable for young readers.
Hyperion is the first in a series of four books, which might not be suitable for impatient readers.
Hyperion is speculative fiction with few hints, which might not be suitable for lazy readers.

Book Review: A Man Called Ove


This novel, written by Fredrik Backman, recounts the life of the titular character, Ove, an aging man in a modern world. Ove believes in function, simplicity and doing things the right way. He appreciates things like rules, math and numbers, where problems have a clear answer and the satisfaction of fixing things the way they should be fixed is its own reward. But in a world of long-winded contracts, men in white shirts, people who don’t know how to read a sign and more computers and gadgets than you could swing a hammer at, a man of action and honest work like Ove has become bitter and disillusioned with a society where people would rather talk, cheat, or pawn their problems off on others.
In the beginning of the story, Ove has given up on people or feels that they have given up on him. That’s when a new family moves in next door, starting a chain of events that forces Ove to open his heart and examine his place in a world that needs people like him more than they know and more than a hardened curmudgeon might want to admit.
Told in a format that jumps back and forth between the events of Ove’s past and the trials of his present,  is a whimsical tale of a relatively ordinary man navigating the march of time and the effect it has had on the life he wanted, turning it into the life he has. It examines the role of the elderly in society, particularly one that regards them as no more than speedbumps toward some form of progress. However, the narrative follows events from the ground level and is ultimately more concerned with the individual characters and their reactions to events and each other. As such, the novel feels more like a touching story to tug the heartstrings and less like it’s trying to beat the reader over the head with a point.
 A Man Called Ove is a well written story that seems to know exactly what it is and doesn’t pretend to be anything more. While some of the dialogue seems forced from time to time, it serves to move the story along at places where it could easily get hung up and distract from the unfolding drama of the overall story. Otherwise the characters are richly detailed and the description of scenes does well to evoke a sense of space and color.

A Man Called Ove is for sale at the Book Shelf for $3.99. Also for sale by the same author is My Grandmother Asked to Tell You She’s Sorry for $3.99.


Book Review: Better Off by Eric Brende


Better Off is one of a handful of books that I have read two or three times. The first was in college as a naive first year, the second was as a writing teacher of adolescents and the third was, well I don’t remember, but a few years ago. The book made a profound impression on me and my way of thinking. As some of you will know, I don’t own a smartphone and never have; this book is largely responsible for my resistance!

In a nutshell, Better Off questions the pervasive and largely unquestioned role of technology in our lives. In the book Eric Brende and his then girlfriend leave the halls of MIT to live in a community without modern technology as part of an experiment. Brende seeks to learn where the technological tipping point is: where does technology solve problems and where does it create problems?

Even if you love every bit of technology in your life, I recommend this book as a counterpoint to our tech-hungry culture. If you are already trying to limit your screen time or questioning whether you need yet another social media account, I bet you’ll eat up this book.

Better Off is for sale for $5.99 at the Book Shelf.

Holiday closures

In observance of Independence Day, the Book Shelf will be closed from the 4th to the 7th of July. We will reopen on Monday, July 8th during regular business hours.

We hope everyone has a jubilant 4th of July!