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Black History Month: The Big O (part two)

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

No, not that Big O. I mean Oprah. As in Oprah Winfrey, media mogul and self-made gazillionaire.

I recently borrowed the book CD Oprah: A Biography, by Kitty Kelley, and listened to it with surprise and intrigue. Apparently, there’s a whole lot more to Oprah than the glossy guru might let on. The impoverished background to which Oprah alludes may not be entirely accurate, and what about those rumours regarding Gayle King? What’s Stedman’s role in Oprah’s life, and why is Oprah so secretive about certain aspects of her past? Before her television network, philanthropic ventures, and mega-stardom, Oprah led a very different (lonely and drug feuled?!) life. Read more about it in Kelley’s (full disclosure: unauthorized) biography.

If you’re not prepared to have your mental image of Oprah besmirched, then skip the biography and stick with materials that maintain her near-saintly image. Check out some of our resources:

Love your Life! O's Handbook for your Best Today - and Tomorrow, by Oprah Winfrey

Dream Big! O's Guide to Discovering your Best Life, by Oprah Winfrey

To Oprah with Love: A Tribute, by Paul Natkin

February is Black History Month. Find out more by visiting your local library branch!

Black History Month: The Big O

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

No, not that Big O. I mean Obama. As in Barack Obama, the 44th president of the United States of America.

With only about 10 months remaining until the next American presidential election, it’s time to put Obama’s accomplishments into perspective. Has he managed to clean up Bush’s messes, or has he only exacerbated existing problems? Will his contentious health care reforms prove to be beneficial for the average American, or not? Is the world safer with Obama at the helm, or is Obama merely a pawn in corporate America's game? No matter where you stand on the political issues, it’s undeniable that Obama is a groundbreaking, historic figure.

Imagine: it was only decades before Obama ascended to presidency that Rosa Parks was being asked to move to the back of that fateful bus. Now, read that sentence again.

Check out some of these titles and learn more about America's first black president:

Obama on the Couch: Inside the Mind of a President, by Justin A. Frank

Obama and the Middle East, by Fawaz Gerges

Deconstructing Obama: The Life, Loves and Letters of the First Postmodern President, by Jack Cashill

The Obama Syndrome: Surrender at Home, War Abroad, by Tariq Ali

And don't forget that Obama is an author, too! Check out The Audacity of Hope and Dreams from My Father.

February is Black History Month. Learn more at your local library branch!

300! Already?!

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Time flies when you’re writing over 300 blog posts. WOW!

It was springtime in 2009 when I sat (actually, “jittered” is a more accurate description) in my boss’s office, elated to hear that my request to write a blog had been accepted and that, best of all, I would be able to maintain exclusive responsibility over it. How exciting!

300 posts later and I haven’t suffered writer’s block, yet. I’m really fortunate to work in an environment that offers constant stimulation, and an endless array of topics. It’s true that the Calgary Public Library has everything you’re into, as you may have read on various ads throughout our city.

So, this is just a quick note to say thank you for reading Slice of Calgary. I hope you’ll continue to check back for book reviews, information about library programs, and lots more.

Cheers!

Stay or Leave? by Beverly Stone

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Self-help books abound on the shelves of your local library. Some will tell you that it’s not your fault; others will encourage you to confront the bully in your life; and nearly every single one of them will implore you to brainstorm, make a plan and stick to it.

This isn’t one of those books.

Rather, Stay or Leave: Six Steps to Resolving Your Relationship Indecision by Beverley Stone is a self-help book for those who need a kick in the proverbial pants – and we all do, sometimes.

A psychologist with over 25 years of experience, Stone is adamant about helping you wake up and realize that your life is slipping away, (even as you read this blog post!) and that you must make difficult choices. She doesn’t stroke your ego and tell you that you’re smart and strong and beautiful enough to make them. None of that mushy stuff, here. Instead, she says: Choosing is hard. And so is stress. But not choosing is hard and stressful, too, so which would you rather? What I found particularly motivating is the idea of regret. It’s the things we don’t do that cause the deepest regrets. She’s also got tremendous insights about catastrophizing. Are you worried that announcing your intentions to get a divorce would “kill” your parents or children, or that you’d “die” if you were to leave your current (woefully inadequate) living situation, or routine? Shake off those visions of doom and realize that you’re not the centre of the world; your parents, friends, children and others will survive the change – and maybe even benefit because of it. No, you’re not the centre of the world, but you are a world unto yourself – and nobody else can open the doors that were meant for you and you alone. It’s time to make the commitment and act, before you realize that yours has been a life well wasted.

So what will it be? Are you going to quit your job and follow your dream of becoming a playwright? Or finally admit that your lover/husband/wife is a drag, and cut him or her loose? We’ve got books that come in handy at any of life’s difficult junctures. Check out your local library branch today!

The Black Water Dragon

by Katherine - 2 Comment(s)

This post is dedicated to all the South Koreans I know and love. You know who you are, and for everything you’ve given me, I owe you my most sincere gam sa hab ni da.

Happy (lunar) New Year! Today, we enter into the year of the dragon, but not just any old run-of-the-mill dragon. This is the year of the Black Water Dragon – an especially auspicious period that comes around only once every sixty years. According to an article in the Bangkok Post, this year indicates a change, “…but with a measure of calm, sensibility and prudence.”

Interestingly enough, birth rates are expected to rise in Asia this year, because parents will desire children born in this special time. Note to self: buy stock in Korean or Chinese diaper companies.

So, what will you do in this luckier-than-average time? For inspiration regarding travel, self-help, mid-life career change, parenting and lots more, visit your local library branch. Check out our materials on astrology and dragons, too!

A Zoltan by Any Other Name

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

A colleague of mine is pregnant and was recently flipping through a baby name book. There were classic names like Victoria and Katherine; Biblical names like Joshua and Daniel; no nick-name names like Claire and Emily, and tons of other categories. From Aida to Zoltan, nearly every conceivable name was listed.

I happen to believe that names are hugely important in determining an individual’s success. Can you really argue that a Misty will be taken as seriously as an Elizabeth? Who’s likely to be the CEO: a Robert or a Timmy? Names suggest age, capability, and even social status.

For an interesting exploration of “white names” versus “black names”, check out the chapter about names in Freakonomics, by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner.

If you don’t want your son to go through school being one of the four Liams in his class, then check out this link for information about Alberta’s most popular baby names.

Finally, browse section 929.44 in your local library branch. We've got lots of baby name books! If you’re not expecting yet, then use them to choose a name for a character in your next novel, or maybe even the cat or dog you just adopted. Think beyond Fifi and Rex!

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