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Love Shrinks, by Sharyn Wolf

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Sharyn Wolf is now divorced, after having been married three times - unlikely statistics for a marriage counselor!

Sure, your shrink may give thoughtful advice and ask the right kind of questions, but that doesn’t make her immune to the kinds of problems that ultimately lead to separation and divorce. She’s only human, after all. And so is her soon-to-be ex-husband.

In Love Shrinks, Wolf bares all about her relationship with her ex-husband, and the relationships that her patients have with their own significant others. But this is by no means a list of grudges and complaints; rather, Wolf treats her patients with compassion - even when the things they do are horrific - and she treats her ex-husband with respect and honesty. Throughout the tale of their undoing, Wolf includes touching vignettes that beautifully illustrate how someone who drives us crazy can also be capable of loving us wholly and beautifully. This book is touching, funny, and fast paced.

As this is a memoir written by someone who works in a therapeutic environment, it does include its share of painful details. But, I think that overall it’s a hopeful book. Check it out if you’re the type who might like to read another person’s diary – and you know you are! The only downside is that now you’ll spend a lot more time speculating about your therapist’s personal life.

Bossypants, by Tina Fey

by Katherine - 2 Comment(s)

I tore through this autobiography in a matter of days, and I relished it! If you love Tina Fey’s work as a sketch and sitcom writer, you’ll find her prose equally amusing.

In Bossypants, Fey comments on her childhood, her early years as a writer for SNL, the importance of her relationship with her father, and even the unmentionable topic – that scar on her face.

It’s been a very long time since a book made me laugh out loud (repeatedly) on the train, but this book made me do just that. I looked like a total psycho, but it was worth it.

What I really appreciated as I read this book was Fey’s attitude. Improv classes taught her the value of saying yes within a scene and that’s a lesson we can all apply in our daily lives, as well. I also appreciated her comments about what she learned from Lorne Michaels, and what she hopes for her own daughter. Fey is gay positive and body positive (except when she’s mocking herself) and with this book, she’s proven that she’s much more than just a funny one-liner or a Sarah Palin impersonator (although she excels at that, too!).

If you need a really good laugh, then check out Bossypants today!

The Look

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

I just bought a new pair of glasses. I love the ones that I had previously (purple cat’s eye, with orange accents), but I decided that I wanted to update my look to something a bit edgier. I’ve still kept the cat’s eye shape, but now I’m rocking bright teal with purple-y silver flecked highlights. They’re wicked, if I do say so myself.

When I catch myself checking out other people’s glasses, I’m always drawn to ones that are large, bold, and in an offbeat colour. Folks who wear such glasses are, I think, to be commended for their confidence. After all, if you're going to wear glasses, then wear glasses! And now that I’m armed with new frames, I’m feeling more confident than usual. Which is probably why I picked up a book that might not ordinarily appeal to me:

Style Yourself: Inspired Advice from the World’s Top Fashion Bloggers

Style Yourself is full of information (you do know the difference between a loafer and a brogue, don’t you?) and inspiration about everything from clothing and shoes to accessories. Learn to make your outfits pop, by playing up the contrasts in the colour wheel, and find ideas for turning one simple item – like a scarf – into a multitasking garment. Best of all, Style Yourself’s contributors are some of the world’s most popular fashion bloggers. They’ve all got distinct views and styles, but what they share in common is a love of style, and a passion for uniqueness. My personal favourites are Tavi Gevinson of Style Rookie and Funeka Ngwevela of Quirky Stylista.

Some of the looks are strange, to be sure. But my verdict is this: life’s too short not to pair zebra with tartan. Or tie-dye.

Through Thick and Thin, by Gok Wan

by Katherine - 1 Comment(s)

A number of years ago, when I lived at home and had access to television (oh, the things you take for granted!) I used to watch a British show called How to Look Good Naked. A self conscious woman (typically one who was disheveled and encased in horrendous, baggy clothing) would be put through a series of challenges, all designed to convince her that her body was beautiful, attractive and sexy – and that so was she! The show would culminate with the woman strutting down a catwalk in only her underwear – a testament to her newfound confidence and acceptance of her body. I loved it!

The host of the show was a stylist named Gok, who would help the woman select strategic wardrobe pieces – items that tucked, concealed, supported or disguised whichever body parts induced insecurity. Gok loved the clothes, but you knew that he loved the women more. In fact, he played the token “gay best friend” that every woman needs – supportive, hilarious, and committed to the idea that beauty comes in every size.

I’ve just finished reading Gok’s autobiography, Through Thick and Thin, and I really enjoyed it. Frankly, it’s a beach read. There’s nothing in here that’s profound or intellectually rigorous. Rather, it’s a nice light read for people who watched and loved the show, or for people who might be interested in how to break into the styling business.

Gok’s road to stardom wasn’t an easy one. He was obese and then anorexic; he worked several dissatisfying jobs before finding the one he loved, and he both made and lost friends along the way. Indeed, life wasn’t simple for a self-described “fat, gay Chinese kid”, yet Gok’s determination and the love of his family saw him though challenging times. This biography has an ultimately heartwarming tone.

Check it out if you need a nice, light read. Or if you’re interested in a career in fashion and styling. Or if you’re a fat, gay, Chinese kid. And especially if you’re struggling with body issues, and you just want to feel better.

What's Druh been up to?

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Today's post was written by one of my favourite former co-workers. Here it is:

One of the many promises I constantly make to myself is to be more active in my community and this includes being more aware of what my elected representatives are doing for neighborhood I live and work in. Sadly, like most of my intentions, I have not followed through as much as I'd like. Like many Calgarians I keep finding myself in a voting booth, stubby little pencil in hand, wishing the choice I was about to make was more informed.

This Thursday night, at the Louise Riley Library Program Centre, citizens of Ward 7 have a wonderful opportunity to find out what Alderman (or, if you like, Councilor) Druh Farrell has been doing on their behalf over the past year, with a question period to follow. What a great way to connect with City Hall! We all hear that politicians need to listen to the people, but don't the people themselves have a responsibility to know what's going on?

One Year Later: Civic Update

Thursday, Oct 06 7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Louise Riley Program Center (Just North of the Louise Riley Library)

You can register in person at any library branch, on-line at calgarypubliclibrary.com or by calling 403-260-2620

Jealousy, by Catherine Millet

by Katherine - 1 Comment(s)

Even though I work at a library, I don’t always take the time for a leisurely browse. Last Friday afternoon, I did just that. I browsed our collection on love and relationships, and stumbled onto a great new read: Jealousy: the Other Life of Catherine M, by Catherine Millet.

Catherine M is perfectly content living a life of sexual liberation. She’s a Parisian writer and art critic who has both male and female partners, and enjoys several concurrent relationships. But, one day she finds that her primary partner, Jacques, maintains his own relationships with other women. The book is a chronicle of Millet’s reactions and feelings, as she unflinchingly recounts the jealousy she felt, but failed to predict.

It’s honest, raw, and remarkably insightful. It’s well written and articulate. But be warned: Jealousy might make you blush, while reading it on the C-Train. Millet spares no detail! Check it out today!

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