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No More Praying Tutors

by Katherine

During a recent trip to Las Vegas, I toyed with the idea of gambling, but ultimately decided not to. After all, the house always wins, but beyond that, I just don’t have the math skills to make quick decisions about doubling down or anteing up. Alas, I was one of those kids (and now am one of those adults) who makes calculations by counting on my fingers. And the other players at the blackjack table simply don’t have the patience for “...15, 16, 17, 18...uh....um....I’ll stay!”

If you’re someone who never quite mastered the basics, then check out Math for Grownups, by math educator Laura Laing.

Many years ago, my math tutor told me that he would pray for me, before a big exam. The exam went well, but I’ve never been able to forget the feeling that if God had to intervene on my behalf, then I was surely a loser who was destined to forever struggle with math. A book like this one may have helped me more in the long run than a plaintive prayer from a frustrated tutor.

If you’re brushing up on your math skills or upgrading for continuing education courses, then browse section 510 for textbooks at all grade levels. If you’re anticipating writing a diploma exam or its equivalent, we’ve got The Key study guides, too.

Bob’s Your Uncle

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Okay, I don’t have an uncle Bob. My uncles are Gavin, Colin, Allan and John.

I work in Research Plus, where we get all sorts of questions about genealogy. Customers want our help in tracking down their birth parents, or their great aunt’s obituary, or the name of the guy who lived beside their parents’ house, in 1952.

Do you have a question related to genealogy? Visit the 4th floor of the Central Library, where our well trained staff will help you find old city directories, newspaper clippings, high school yearbooks, family histories and more. Or check out the basement level of the Central library, for newspapers on microfilm. Or, contact Research Plus, and for a fee, we’ll do the work for you!

Check out our program guide for free genealogy programs, and read our Community History and Family Heritage blog, too!

Happy 50th, Massey Lectures!

by Katherine - 2 Comment(s)

I’m a huge fan of CBC’s Massey lectures and the new one is on our shelf today. It’s called Winter: Five Windows on the Season, by Adam Gopnik. Place a hold today, and make a note in your calendars: the lectures will be broadcast on CBC’s Ideas, November 7 – 11 at 9 PM.

The CBC has commissioned the annual Massey Lectures since 1961, so this is the 50th year! If you’ve never delved into one, I highly encourage you to explore. Here are some Massey lectures that I’ve read and loved:

The Educated Imagination, by Northrop Frye

Myth and Meaning, by Claude Levi-Strauss

The Malaise of Modernity, by Charles Taylor

On the Eve of the Millennium, by Connor Cruise O’Brien

Becoming Human, by Jean Vanier

Beyond Fate, by Margaret Visser

The Ethical Imagination, by Margaret Somerville

The City of Words, by Alberto Manguel

Payback, by Margaret Atwood

The Great Stagnation, by Tyler Cowen

by Katherine - 1 Comment(s)

Check out this popular new book, for an interesting account of how the United States went from superpower to super broke. Cowen has no bias against either Republicans or Democrats, and he doesn’t seek to lay blame, but rather to enlighten readers about the causal factors involved in the recession of an economy as large as the United States’. His explanations are clear and reasonable; this is everyday economics for folks who are drawn to real world examples rather than complex theories. David Brooks of the New York Times states that this is “the most debated nonfiction book so far this year”. Check it out today.

The Steal: A Cultural History of Shoplifting, by Rachel Shteir

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Stealing is as old as human culture, and it even exists in the animal world. So it’s no surprise that with the rise of capitalism and department stores in particular, we witness a specific type of stealing: shoplifting. I’m partway through a fascinating new book on shoplifting. It covers the history of shoplifting, as well as the various theories that have sprung up to explain it. Shoplifting can’t only be about poverty – think of that infamous Winona Ryder! - but it’s not just about greed or temptation, either. Is shoplifting an uncontrollable impulse? Can it be said that it’s a political act or statement? What are its real costs to business owners and consumers?

Most fascinating to me is the way that shoplifters describe their own behavior. Some are remorseless; others are ashamed. Some shoplifters do it to get a cheap (make that free) high, while others enjoy the feeling of superiority that results when they’ve conned a “stupid salesman”. Shoplifting is committed by both men and women, old and young, and by people of every ethnicity and class – and it affects everyone in the marketplace.

Find out more by reading this interesting, fast-paced read. The Steal is part history, part anthropology, and totally fascinating!

Proud - Just not in Calgary

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

This year, I’ll be absent from Calgary’s Gay Pride festivities, and though I’m sad to miss them, I’ll still be surrounded by gays, lesbians, transfolk and allies of all kinds – because I’ll be in Montreal!

If you’re here in Calgary during the first week of September, then check out some of the events. There’ll be a parade, a dance, a dyke march, and more. Show your support for gender equality and gender-bending; send a message to your leaders that inclusive and vibrant cities need gay people and gay culture!

And don’t forget about all of the items in your library, too! We’ve got books for, by and about gays. Looking for manuals on gay or lesbian sex? We’ve got those, too! Learn to talk to your children (or parents!) about gay issues, or check out some of our gay interest magazines. You may even encounter gay library staff!

The Calgary Public Library is committed to diversity and inclusion, and we wish you a very happy Pride!

The Lesbian Kama Sutra, by Kat Harding

Bash'd: A Gay Opera, by Chris Craddock

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