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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.

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

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

Music in the Air!

by Katherine - 2 Comment(s)

Calgary’s Folk Fest is in full swing, and I can’t wait until tomorrow night, when I’ll finally get to see KD Lang live! What a treat!

If you’re a music lover, then be sure to browse our extensive music collection. We’ve got thousands of CDs! Every genre is represented – from classical to country, and international, too. We’ve also got live concert DVDs. Be sure to check out our New and Notable section for new releases and artists you may not yet have encountered. Did you know that the Calgary Public Library has a collection of sheet music, too? Check it out, if you play the piano or guitar. Also, scan our program guide for free concerts, drumming programs, and more!

Horses are People, Too!

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

I have to say it: the death of a horse on the first day of this year’s Calgary Stampede has me feeling pretty upset. Why, in this century, must we use animals for entertainment?

And yet even though this vegetarian animal lover typically recoils from the rodeo and all that it entails, I’m wise enough to know that I can’t just stand at the gates of the Stampede grounds and shout something like: Horses are people, too!

In order to sustain discussions about morality and ethics, we need to reason carefully, and with attention to nuance. Exactly what is it that’s wrong with the rodeo?

How are rodeos and circuses different from zoos? Is it acceptable for us to eat animals, or to be entertained by them? What about to hurt them? Where do the differences lie, and what makes those differences important? Do animals have rights? If so, how can we formulate and better understand them? These questions live within the realm of ethics, and if they interest you, you might want to browse our philosophy collection.

In particular, I recommend Peter Singer, a philosopher who’s written countless books about ethical thinking.

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