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Shaking up my Reading Routines

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

I’m a hopelessly devoted non-fiction reader, but a recent post on our Reader’s Nook blog encouraged me to read something that for me is atypical.

I’ve just started reading A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers, on the recommendation of one of our Reader’s Nook posts. I’ve only just begun reading it, but already I’m enthralled. My protagonist has arrived in London, from China, and she’s made her way from a hostel to a room in the home of a Cantonese family. She’s registered for English classes and is working on understanding the present progressive tense. Just a few pages ago, my protagonist met a man nearly twice her age, and they’ve begun a romantic relationship. In fact, the protagonist now has a lover whose body “cries” for hers, and she’s discovering how to use birth control that her own family was too ashamed to talk about.

Non-fiction is certainly interesting and gives me plenty to mull over, but it seldom stimulates my senses. Now that I’ve delved into this story, I can enjoy the rich sensory experience that lives within well written fiction. I can feel the damp London streets. I, like the protagonist herself, can smell the sweaty skin of the lover. My olfactory lobe is working overtime, and I like it!

Bust out of your reading rut and pick up something entirely different. Let our staff make suggestions, and show you where to find a huge range of reviews and recommendations. We’ve got databases in our e-library that will make suggestions to you, based on what you already like, or the characters or themes you’d like to explore.

Here in Calgary, a stack of non-fiction books languishes on my desk. I’ll get to it, but for now, I’m busy wandering the streets near Tottenham Court Road...

Jesus is a Twin!

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Or, at least, he is in Philip Pullman's enthralling novel, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ. I’ve recently finished reading this alternative version of the New Testament story, and I loved it! It was un-put-down-able, if I may coin a phrase.

As a student of religious studies, I was made aware that before the Bible was assembled as the book we now know, there were all sorts of different myths and stories about Jesus. Some of these stories claim that Jesus was a twin; others claim that Jesus escaped to Egypt while an unsuspecting dupe was crucified in his place. How fascinating to consider the alternatives...

The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ is a story (repeat: story!) about Jesus and his twin brother, Christ. All the familiar players are involved: Mary, John the Baptist, Barabbas, and a flock of uptight Pharisees. But, this is a story unlike the one you may have read in Sunday school.

Pullman’s writing style is effortless and spare and yet he creates such wonderfully rich characters and atmospheres.

Check this book out over the Christ(s)mas holidays! I especially recommend it for those who are interested in religious studies, Bible studies, history and spirituality, and storytelling.

Ten Habits of Successful Writers

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Shortly after I volunteered to write the Slice of Calgary blog, I had a momentary flash of self-doubt. What if I run out of ideas? Well, one year and over 190 posts later, I’m happy to say that I never (well…hardly ever) suffer writer’s block - how could I, when there’s always something happening in the library?

But writing my personal blog is different. I don’t have as many fresh ideas as I thought I might. Or if I do, I don’t like the way they sound, once I've made a first draft. Sometimes I’m not a very dedicated writer – and the proof is in the pathetic prose.

That’s why I’ll be attending Ten Habits of Successful Writers, with CPL’s new Writer in Residence, Gail Bowen.

All are welcome to join Gail on Monday November 1, as she gives tips and advice for successful writing strategies.

Register online, in the branch nearest you, or by calling (403)260-2600.

The Adventure Begins!

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Each year the Calgary Public Library has a Summer Reading Adventure for children. As Malcolm Gladwell points out in Outliers, it’s incredibly important for children to read throughout the summer, so that they’re prepared to return to school in the fall. But the adventure is for adults, too!

Here’s a sneak peek at the adults’ Summer Reading Adventure:

Each assignment is a choice between “Inner Child”, “Armchair Travel”, or “Read from your Gut”, which are three categories that are disparate enough to appeal to just about anyone.

For my first assignment, it’s a bit of a toss-up. Do I choose Inner Child: Digging Deep, and read something about archaeology? Or, do I choose Armchair Travel: Europe? I think I’ll try to conquer both!

For Inner Child: Digging Deep, I’ll choose The Hebrew Pharaohs of Egypt : the Secret Lineage of the Patriarch Joseph, by Ahmed Osman. I read this some time ago, when I had an unyielding obsession with biblical archaeology, and I loved Osman’s alternative account of the relationship between Egypt and the Jews. If you’re interested in Western religious traditions, and / or ancient history, this book is a must!

For Armchair Travel: Europe, I’ll get a guidebook about Paris. I’m hoping to go in the fall time, so perhaps I’ll spend my summer months researching and planning. I particularly like guidebooks that provide maps for walking tours. There’s no better way to see the city than to walk its streets!

Starting June 17th, drop into your library and start tracking your summer reading adventures. You’ll motivate your kids to keep reading throughout the summer, and you may even win a prize! Good luck!

(Or as they say in Paris, “bonne chance!”)

It's Almost Time for the...Summer Reading Adventure!

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Each summer, the Calgary Public Library holds a program called the Summer Reading Adventure. We encourage both children and adults to keep track of their reading, and to collect prizes along the way.

It’s really important for children to read throughout the summer – we know that students who read in the summer months do better when it’s time to return to classes in September. But, summer is also a great time for adults to do some reading, too. Try a new genre, or get caught up on all those titles you’ve been meaning to read!

If you’d like information about either the adults or the kids Summer Reading Adventure, then drop by your local branch, and stay tuned to our website.

The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

I just finished reading this classic novel. For some reason, when I was younger, I thought that anything written by Hemingway must necessarily be dense and difficult. It was just the way people said, “Hemingway” – as if his writing is inaccessible to the masses, or that only a certain kind of reader could enjoy his work.

A few days ago, I found a copy of The Old Man and the Sea on one of our sale tables. Slightly stained (I suspect that the previous owner had a penchant for tomato sauce) and dust-jacket discarded, this slim blue book nevertheless gave me a fabulous read! The story is so simple, but the characters are compelling. Why didn’t I read this story years ago?!

I can almost smell the raw tuna and rotting sardines; can almost see the fresh trail of blood in the water; can almost imagine Santiago’s wrinkled face and timeworn hands, as he struggles to reel in the catch of his lifetime.

The Calgary Public Library identifies books that are undisputed classics. The next time you’re visiting your library branch, why not check out what’s available? Ask our reference staff for help choosing your next great read!

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