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Blue Cheese at 9 Months?!

by Katherine - 3 Comment(s)

I’m reading French Kids Eat Everything (and Yours Can, Too): How our Family Moved to France, Cured Picky Eating, Banned Snacking, and Discovered 10 Simple Rules for Raising Happy, Healthy Eaters by Karen Le Billon, and it’s fascinating! It’s much more than a manual to cure picky eating and family food fights. It’s an insightful examination of attitudes towards food, eating, and nourishment, and how they differ between the French model and the American (and by extension, Canadian) model.

I’m young (for a little while longer, at least) and single (likely for eternity) and it’s my prerogative to eat dinner alone, standing over the sink. Or sitting on the couch, channel flipping. Or at midnight. Or twice. Because there’s no one watching me, my eating routines lack both a social component and a sense of restraint. According to the author’s mother-in-law, my normal habits are a recipe for obesity. So, apparently, is snacking, using food as a reward or punishment, allowing your children to dictate what or when they’ll eat, and eating at any place other than the table, surrounded by your family.

Le Billon observes that French parents are firmly in control and by refusing to let their children eat the same thing every day, or complain about the food they’re given, French children wind up eating a wider and much more balanced range of foods. They are more willing to try new foods, and they don’t whine or throw hunger induced tantrums. Even children 5 or 6 years of age will sit patiently in a restaurant, while their parents linger over a nice long meal. This is because French children are taught that food is exciting and interesting; part of a familial set of rituals; and an aspect of their national identity about which to be proud.

It’s a very far cry from exasperatedly stuffing greasy McNuggets into the whining maw of an angry 7 year old, en route to a hockey practice.

Check out this book whether you have children or not. As long as you’re someone who eats, it will provide you with lots of interesting ideas. Food for thought, if you will.

I noticed a woman on the C-Train, jotting down the title, as I read. We started chatting and it turns out she is French. She said that in her family, they always made sure to eat together at the table, at a very precise time. Sure enough, she was slim. Maybe the French are on to something...

Your Crummy Relationship

by Katherine - 2 Comment(s)

Back in February, I was asked to generate ideas for a Valentine’s Day display at the Central library and the cynical side of me thought: let’s do a display about breaking up! so I browsed through our collection about relationships, and to my sad surprise, I found plenty of books about heartbreak.

Apparently, men cheat on women and vice versa (with staggering frequency!); both genders unwittingly find themselves in co-dependent relationships, and it seems like everyone (married, dating, divorced, widowed) needs advice on dealing with emotional turmoil. There are countless people browsing on internet dating sites, while wondering whether to stay with their current partner or not – and perhaps you’re one of them.

So, have you been cheated on, or are you the bad guy? Do you struggle with intimacy? Does it seem like you can’t ever find a suitable partner – no matter how many dates you politely sit through? Are your standards too high or too low? Are you dating the same type of person over and over again?

There’s only so much wisdom you can glean from Sex and the City reruns, and your more-than-slightly-bitter circle of friends. At some point, you’re going to have to delve deeper and explore your childhood family structure, your fears and insecurities, and your expectations of what a lasting relationship entails. Not fun, but definitely necessary.

Find the tools you’ll need by browsing the relationships section of your local library branch. Here are just a few of the items you might find there:

Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship & Life Together by Mark Driscoll

Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and the Coupled Up by Harriet Goldhor Lerner

Mirror Effect: Six Steps to Finding your Magical Match Using Online Dating by Troy Pummill

From Shy to Social: The Man's Guide to Personal & Dating Success by Christopher Gray

How To Be Black, by Baratunde Thurston

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

In my last post, I mentioned that I picked up How To Be Black because I thought it would be hilarious. Indeed, it’s funny, but it’s substantive, too, and definitely worth your time.

Author Baratunde Thurston tells the story of his Nigerian name and his time at Sidwell Friends and Harvard, and describes the huge impact that his mother has had on the formation of his character. Thurston also assembles a panel of black thinkers, and asks them questions ranging from: Can you swim? to Are we living in post-racial America?

This book is not a manual for how to be cool, urban, “thug”, or whatever else we may associate with being black. Besides, even if it provided that kind of direction, the result would be people who are either “too black” or “not black enough” – and this paradox is a central theme. Thurston himself has at times been considered too black, or not black enough. So have Barack Obama and many other prominent black individuals. So, what's the right amount of blackness, anyway? Can you imagine being told that you're too white, or not white enough?

How To Be Black is a fabulous exploration of what it means to be black, but it’s also a rallying cry for those who are fed up with being identified only as black, and who just want to be themselves – whatever colour that happens to be. As for Thurston, he's black and he's proud! He's also a computer geek, an avid camper, an eater of tofu and much more. He defies black stereotypes and encourages other black people to do the same.

Check it out!

Living Library wins Leader in Volunteer Engagement Award

by Christine P - 0 Comment(s)

Congratulations to our Living Library Volunteer Program for winning the Leader in Volunteer Engagement Award from Volunteer Calgary!

The award ceremony was held last night, April 17th, and in preparation for the celebration, Volunteer Calgary visited the Library to film a living library in action and interview some of the volunteers and staff about the impact of the program.

The Living Library is indeed a program that we are very proud of.

We would like to thank all of the Living Library book volunteers, and staff who make this program possible!

Picks of the Litter(ati): Chucklefest

by Katherine - 1 Comment(s)

Today I noticed two new books that I just can’t wait to read! In fact, I’m sneaking some covert glances at a few of their passages, hoping my colleagues won’t notice my temporary dip in productivity.

The first is Would It Kill You to Stop Doing That? A Modern Guide to Manners by Henry Alford. The front cover leaves something to be desired, but the back cover glows with praise, including “slaying wit”, “profoundly, wonderfully goofy” and “A master of the delightfully harebrained scheme”, so how can you go wrong?

The second is How To Be Black, by Baratunde Thurston. The first line in the jacket is “If you don’t buy this book, you’re a racist” which is just the kind of in-your-face comedy that I relish. Thurston is the director of digital at The Onion. Need I say more?

I haven’t been this excited since I got my hands on a copy of Tina Fey’s Bossypants. And now that I’m totally over my fear of being regarded as psychotic for laughing repeatedly and out loud on the C-Train, I’m ready to delve into these new titles.

Visit a branch near you for recommendations about hilarious new reads!

Happy National Volunteer Week!

by Christine P - 0 Comment(s)

National Volunteer Week pays tribute to the millions of Canadian volunteers who graciously donate their time and energy.

This year’s 68th annual celebration takes place the week of April 15 to 21.

It is Canada’s largest celebration of volunteers, volunteerism, and civic participation.

Check out this great video about volunteerism in Canada to celebrate the achivements of volunteers.


If you are interested in volunteering at the Library, take a look at our volunteer programs and apply online.

Thank you to all of our Library volunteers, you inspire life stories!

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