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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.

Even Zombies can Volunteer

by Christine P - 0 Comment(s)

Check out this great video by Volunteer Calgary illustrating the many ways that everyone can help out through volunteerism- Zombies included!

If you are interested in volunteering with the library, please take a look at our list of Volunteer Programs and Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

Happy Halloween!

Wheat Belly, by William Davis M.D.

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

While shopping on my supper break a few days ago, I proved Dr. William Davis right. Davis is the author of a contentious new book: Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find your Path Back to Health and he claims that cutting wheat out of your diet might allow you to lose several pounds within the first few weeks. Does it sound too good to be true? Sure. But thus far, it’s working for me. Eleven days without wheat and already my clothes are a bit looser. I could barely contain my grin, when I heard myself asking if I could get that skirt one smaller size. YES!

I don’t know if I’m under the blissful influence of the placebo effect or not, but I really do feel lighter, energetic, and increasingly more clear-headed. I think I’ll keep it up!

Your Calgary Public Library branch contains lots of diet books; not all of them advise you to eschew wheat, but nearly every one will tell you to limit “white foods”: sugars, breads, snack foods and other miscellaneous refined and processed products. Essentially, you should give up the food that’s not really food. Give it a try and see how you feel!

Our e-library contains comprehensive and reputable health and wellness information and we’ve got a great range of exercise DVDs and diet books, too. And check out our program guide for programs on health and nutrition.

By the way, Dr. Davis was interviewed recently in McLean's magazine. If you missed it, you can find the article in our e-library database Canadian Newsstand. Not sure how to access it? Call us at (403) 260-2782, or head to our homepage and strike up a chat! We're happy to give you instructions!

Check out books in your own retirement community

by Christine Pinkney - 0 Comment(s)

Lillith is a friendly and welcoming volunteer for the library-in-residence program at Colonel Belcher Care Centre. As a resident, Lillith has been volunteering with library programs in the building for the last decade.

Colonel Belcher Care Center is one of four residences that the library brings a collection of materials to for the residents to select from and check out as part of our senior outreach programs. Colonel Belcher has an average of 35-40 residents each month who eagerly await the unveiling of the new library materials that have arrived. Lillith assists the staff in getting the materials out on the tables and set up and encouraging residents to enjoy the experience, even those who are sight impaired.

Lilith pays special attention to those who have physical ailments that might prevent them from perusing the library collection at length and assists them in seeking out materials that they like and bringing them to the residents who are unable to fully navigate the room. Often sight impaired residents ask for her assistance in reading the back covers of audio books so that they can make sure they’ve not heard the book previously.

Lillith is a constant activist for library programs and encouraging residents to keep reading or listening to audio books to keep their minds active.

Thank you Lilith!

Helping people reach their employment goals

by Christine P - 0 Comment(s)

Lidia is a Career Coach at the Calgary Public Library and was awarded the Career Coaching Volunteer award in April of 2011. Here is what she has to say about volunteering at the Library:

“I started volunteering for the Career Coaching program at the Central Public Library just a little over 3 years ago – September 2008. I had been looking for work as an employment counsellor and decided to get experience in the field by volunteering. Shortly after, I was hired by the Centre for Newcomers as a career practitioner but I liked my experience with the Library so much that I continued to volunteer there.

I believe volunteering has been and will continue to be a core value in my life. Volunteering gives me great satisfaction and energy and a sense of worthiness , I feel I am getting so much more than I give.

I have volunteered for several events and organizations but none was I as passionate for as I am about my present role of Career Coach for the Central Library. Besides the personal satisfaction I get from helping customers, the best part for me is meeting people from all walks of life and having the privilege of hearing their stories and encouraging them to continue on their journey to reach their employment goals. If I can inspire an ounce of hope in them, then I will have accomplished much.”

Thank you Lidia!

Volunteering with English Learners

by Christine Pinkney - 0 Comment(s)

Ida has been volunteering with the ESL Conversation Club at the Library since Fall of 2008. Her background in adult education and ESL learners makes this opportunity perfect for her to use her skills.

This is what she has to say about volunteering with ESL learners in Calgary: “I enjoy the mixture of cultures and life experiences; learning the nuances of different languages; learning firsthand about various countries; “seeing” the world from their eyes to understand different perspectives and expand my world view; and being the teacher and student at the same time.”

Thank you Ida, for volunteering your time and efforts to help people practice English!

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