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Come Out, (COME OUT!) Wherever You Are!

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

This post is dedicated to a queer artist whom I love with all my heart - one Beric Manywounds, who continues to challenge my views about men, women, sex, gender, and love. May you revel in your sexuality; may you find a love that makes your heart sing!

The Calgary Public Library is proud to celebrate diversity in our community. Whether that diversity is ethnic, linguistic, cultural, or sexual, we have materials and programs that allow for various views and voices to be heard and understood. This September, like every other, we wish you a very happy PRIDE. Celebrate the fact that families come in a glorious variety of forms, and so do sexual preferences and practices.

Visit your library for books by and about gays, lesbians, transfolk, queers, and all of their many allies. Find materials that might help you come out - or dialogue with a child (or parent!) who just has. Borrow books about planning your gay wedding, or browse some of our gay audience magazines. If you’re writing a paper about sex, sexuality, gender, or gay issues, be sure to check out our e-library databases for academic and peer reviewed journals.

And if you’re free this Sunday, September 2, then head downtown to take part in Calgary’s PRIDE parade.

As for me, I don’t identify as gay. But I’ve got rainbow striped knee-high socks that have been waiting in fashion storage for nearly a year, and I’ll be wearing them with pride, in celebration of all the gays I’ve known and loved (and a few of the lesbians I’ve had crushes on, too).

From drag racing to drag queens, the Calgary Public Library has resources about everything you’re into!

Bonding Over Books

by Christine P - 0 Comment(s)

Patient, kind, warm, calm. These are examples of words that have been used to describe Safina Sachedina, a volunteer with the Calgary Public Library’s ‘TD Read With Me’ program since 2009. Safina’s been working and reading with her young buddy, Shenise, for an hour a week at a library branch since October 2009. Shenise will graduate from the program later in Summer 2012, as she’s completed Gr. 6, and she credits Safina with helping her a lot over the almost three years they’ve worked together:

‘It’s been really, really good working with Safina. I feel really confident in my reading now. She’s really, really nice and doesn’t get frustrated if I don’t understand. I feel comfortable with Safina and she really understands when I have rough days…I don’t have to read then, we can play games instead. We’ve become friends.’

Michelle, Shenise’s mom, elaborates on the help that Safina has provided to her daughter through the program:

‘It’s been wonderful. We couldn’t have asked for a better fit than we got with Safina. She’s the most patient person I’ve ever met. She’s been able to break-down the barriers that Shenise puts up on bad days. They’re very in-tune with each other and have developed a real friendship. Safina has not only helped to develop Shenise’s reading skills but has also helped to raise her self-esteem and has been more like a mentor to her.’

According to Safina, the feeling goes both ways. ‘It’s been really good, working with Shenise and her family. I’ve really gotten to know her well and she’s a good girl and so fun. We’ve bonded really well and I’ve seen her grow a lot in confidence in general across the years. I see her going far in life. She’ll have to work hard (don’t we all! J) but she’ll get there!’

Thank you, Safina, for all your dedication to the program over the past 3 years! And best of luck to you, Shenise, in junior high in the fall!

The Good, the Bad and the Very, Very Ugly

by Katherine - 3 Comment(s)

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been reading three books that vary tremendously in terms of subject and scope.

The Good: salads: beyond the bowl, by Mindy Fox. My only complaint is that there aren’t pictures provided for every recipe. But otherwise, this is a delicious book! Tonight, I’m having potatoes and green peas with pesto. YUM! Fox encourages readers to make gorgeous salads from all sorts of greens, of course, but also incorporates fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds, grains, eggs, meats and more. If you’re bored of arugula, or you’d like to be the most popular guest at the picnic, check this one out!

The Bad: Six Weeks to OMG: Get Skinnier than all Your Friends, by Venice A. Fulton

Did I say “bad”? I meant awful. If you need me to tell you why competing against your friends, skipping breakfast and bathing in cold water might not be entirely sustainable (or healthy) routines, then you’re in trouble. And so are the readers of this…wait for it: crap. There – I said it. Dear readers, in nearly 400 Slice of Calgary posts, I have never once written a scathing book review, but this one deserves it. Fulton – an “expert in nutrition and exercise physiology” doesn’t provide readers with his credentials – neither in this book, nor in his blog. An “expert”, eh? Kind of like how I’ve got 65 pairs of shoes and therefore am a podiatrist, right? Skip this fat-phobic trash and do what you already know you need to do: cut out the junk, get your body moving, and eat your veggies.

The Very, Very Ugly: People who Eat Darkness: Love, Grief and a Journey into Japan’s Shadows, by Richard Llyod Parry. I never read true crime, but was drawn to this book because of the review on its back cover: “Utterly compelling...comes with a cast-iron guarantee that you will read to the very end”. I wondered what was so compelling about it, so I read the first page. 224 pages later, it was midnight and time for me to go to bed, but I couldn’t stand not knowing what happened to Lucie Blackman – or what would happen next. This is a gruesome story, to be sure. But it’s not solely about the young British woman who moves to Japan and is abducted, killed, and dismembered. It’s about her family dynamics, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police, misogyny in Japanese culture, and the way that we treat victims and survivors of crime. The journalism is exhaustive and the writing is fantastic!

Need a suggestion for your next read? Chat with your librarian, sign up for our monthly newsletters, or check out our other blogs!

Dear Sugar

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

In my last post, I mentioned crying while watching my new favourite documentary “...and this is my garden”. And now, the tears are going mobile; I’m crying on the train! I don’t know what it is about the work of Cheryl Strayed that so touches me, but each time I read snippets of her advice column, I feel my eyes welling up. There’s something so powerful about her voice. She’s sympathetic and acknowledges others’ problems without ever judging them, and she sees life through a wide angle lens.

tiny beautiful things: Advice on love and life from Dear Sugar is full of the advice that your I’ve-already-seen-it-all grandmother might give you if she were a totally unbiased blogger (and occasionally used the F word). My colleague made a good point, too: the advice in Dear Sugar is usually prefaced by, or at least mentions, experiences from Sugar’s own life. This isn’t ol’ anonymous Ann Landers. Not at all. The author is totally exposed.

There are a few underlying themes that recur in almost every letter: have the courage to live your own life, regardless of your own fears or the reactions of other people; grow up and start being honest about who you are and what you need; accept that there aren’t going to be easy answers to the problems and relationships that vex you. And so on.

tiny beautiful things makes for the perfect summer read. Each column is only a few pages, so you can jump in and out, as your beach or BBQ schedule permits.

Check it out for tender and uplifting advice that you probably don't think you need to hear. But you do.

“...and this is my garden”

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

I love documentaries. And I'm suggesting that if you see only one documentary this summer, you make it “...and this is my garden”. It’s not new. It’s not big budget (how many documentaries are, though?). But it’s fantastic, fantastic, fantastic!

Actually, I cried as I watched it. It’s not a sad story at all - on the contrary, it’s about an entire community that benefits when its children are taught to tend their own gardens. This is a film about the earth, community, wisdom sharing, food, and self sufficiency, but I can’t describe how uplifting it truly is. After seeing it, I was energized and hopeful and really overwhelmed by the beauty of what can be accomplished with nothing more than water, sunlight, and care.

You must check it out for yourself! We've got it in our catalogue, and here's the film's website.