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Getting Started in the Garden

by Stephen - 1 Comment(s)

This year I’ve decided to get serious about gardening. Usually I just plant a random assortment of nice looking flowers and then pretend that the results were intentional. Most years those results are... unfortunate. So before I break ground I’ll be spending the month of May educating myself with some of the useful resources the Calgary Public Library has to offer.

Before I even check out a book, I’m going to head to the E-Library’s Gale Courses to enroll in one of their many instructor-led online courses called Start Your Own Edible Garden. This course focuses on selecting climate-appropriate crops and cultivating them in a garden which suits my available time, amount of sunshine and vegetable needs.

The first book I’ll be borrowing is Jim Fox’s How to Buy the Right Plants, Tools & Garden Supplies. This book helps readers navigate the garden store, ensuring that you buy quality tools and the right-sized plants while offering advice about where to start when you get all that stuff home.

I live in a small house wiPlantifulth very limited garden space, so thankfully there’s Urban Gardening for Dummies which provides a comprehensive guide to growing plants in the tightest of living conditions. Whether it’s on your rooftop, your balcony, or your windowsill this guide will help you make the best use of the space you have. It also includes tips on gardening in basement apartments!

Finally, I want to make sure that the plants I buy will survive our umm…. very unique… Canadian weather so I’ll make sure to check out both the Canadian Encyclopedia of Gardening and the Great Canadian Plant Guide before I plant anything in the garden. I wonder which plants like hail?

To keep myself inspired I’ll also be checking out Jane Goodall’s Seeds of Hope: Wisdom and Wonder from the World of Plants. In this volume Goodall travels the planet to explore the critical role plants play in both our survival and that of the natural world as a whole. She also pays a visit to the Millennium Seed Bank which contains over a billion seeds!

If after all of this my garden ends up well… like it usually does, I can always pay a visit to one of the many community gardens in the city, including those found at the Forest Lawn and Southwood libraries!

Fresh! E-book Options

by Stephen - 0 Comment(s)

By now you are probably aware that the Calgary Public Library loans many eBooks through the OverDrive interface located on our Website. OverDrive provides an easy and accessible way to get your favourite book anytime and from any place (with an internet connection!). Like our physical collection, our eBooks come in many genres and formats and appeal to readers of all ages.

Here are a few options you might not be aware of:

Marvel Comics


Comics and Graphic Novels

X-men, Spider-Man, Iron-man, we’ve got a selection of Marvel titles which you can download and read on your device. If superheroes aren’t your cup of tea, we’ve also got manga, graphic adaptations of literature, and even some history for your enjoyment!


Cat in the Hat

Children’s Materials

Ebooks aren’t just for grown-ups! We provide both fiction and non-fiction material for children. From early readers, to popular children’ novels, we have a wide arrangement of children’s eBooks available for download.

If you don’t want to download a book, you can stream a story online through our Storytime Anytime service, or BookFlix!

Excel 2013 for dummies

Non-fiction

The Calgary Public Library’s non-fiction eBook collection is as varied and diverse as the community who uses it. We’ve got cookbooks, self-help, travel and even eBooks on how to use that new device.

Have a suggestion? You can suggest an eBook the same way you can suggest a physical one. Just follow this link and let us know what you would like to see.

The Good, the Bad and the Very, Very Ugly

by Katherine - 3 Comment(s)

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been reading three books that vary tremendously in terms of subject and scope.

The Good: salads: beyond the bowl, by Mindy Fox. My only complaint is that there aren’t pictures provided for every recipe. But otherwise, this is a delicious book! Tonight, I’m having potatoes and green peas with pesto. YUM! Fox encourages readers to make gorgeous salads from all sorts of greens, of course, but also incorporates fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds, grains, eggs, meats and more. If you’re bored of arugula, or you’d like to be the most popular guest at the picnic, check this one out!

The Bad: Six Weeks to OMG: Get Skinnier than all Your Friends, by Venice A. Fulton

Did I say “bad”? I meant awful. If you need me to tell you why competing against your friends, skipping breakfast and bathing in cold water might not be entirely sustainable (or healthy) routines, then you’re in trouble. And so are the readers of this…wait for it: crap. There – I said it. Dear readers, in nearly 400 Slice of Calgary posts, I have never once written a scathing book review, but this one deserves it. Fulton – an “expert in nutrition and exercise physiology” doesn’t provide readers with his credentials – neither in this book, nor in his blog. An “expert”, eh? Kind of like how I’ve got 65 pairs of shoes and therefore am a podiatrist, right? Skip this fat-phobic trash and do what you already know you need to do: cut out the junk, get your body moving, and eat your veggies.

The Very, Very Ugly: People who Eat Darkness: Love, Grief and a Journey into Japan’s Shadows, by Richard Llyod Parry. I never read true crime, but was drawn to this book because of the review on its back cover: “Utterly compelling...comes with a cast-iron guarantee that you will read to the very end”. I wondered what was so compelling about it, so I read the first page. 224 pages later, it was midnight and time for me to go to bed, but I couldn’t stand not knowing what happened to Lucie Blackman – or what would happen next. This is a gruesome story, to be sure. But it’s not solely about the young British woman who moves to Japan and is abducted, killed, and dismembered. It’s about her family dynamics, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police, misogyny in Japanese culture, and the way that we treat victims and survivors of crime. The journalism is exhaustive and the writing is fantastic!

Need a suggestion for your next read? Chat with your librarian, sign up for our monthly newsletters, or check out our other blogs!

Dear Sugar

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

In my last post, I mentioned crying while watching my new favourite documentary “...and this is my garden”. And now, the tears are going mobile; I’m crying on the train! I don’t know what it is about the work of Cheryl Strayed that so touches me, but each time I read snippets of her advice column, I feel my eyes welling up. There’s something so powerful about her voice. She’s sympathetic and acknowledges others’ problems without ever judging them, and she sees life through a wide angle lens.

tiny beautiful things: Advice on love and life from Dear Sugar is full of the advice that your I’ve-already-seen-it-all grandmother might give you if she were a totally unbiased blogger (and occasionally used the F word). My colleague made a good point, too: the advice in Dear Sugar is usually prefaced by, or at least mentions, experiences from Sugar’s own life. This isn’t ol’ anonymous Ann Landers. Not at all. The author is totally exposed.

There are a few underlying themes that recur in almost every letter: have the courage to live your own life, regardless of your own fears or the reactions of other people; grow up and start being honest about who you are and what you need; accept that there aren’t going to be easy answers to the problems and relationships that vex you. And so on.

tiny beautiful things makes for the perfect summer read. Each column is only a few pages, so you can jump in and out, as your beach or BBQ schedule permits.

Check it out for tender and uplifting advice that you probably don't think you need to hear. But you do.

“...and this is my garden”

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

I love documentaries. And I'm suggesting that if you see only one documentary this summer, you make it “...and this is my garden”. It’s not new. It’s not big budget (how many documentaries are, though?). But it’s fantastic, fantastic, fantastic!

Actually, I cried as I watched it. It’s not a sad story at all - on the contrary, it’s about an entire community that benefits when its children are taught to tend their own gardens. This is a film about the earth, community, wisdom sharing, food, and self sufficiency, but I can’t describe how uplifting it truly is. After seeing it, I was energized and hopeful and really overwhelmed by the beauty of what can be accomplished with nothing more than water, sunlight, and care.

You must check it out for yourself! We've got it in our catalogue, and here's the film's website.

Picks of the Litter(ati) July 25, 2012

by Katherine - 3 Comment(s)

A while ago, I read and quite enjoyed How To Be Black, by Baratunde Thurston. Its deft and humourous examination of blackness in America really got me thinking about race and race politics. So, when I saw No matter what...they’ll call this book racist: how our fear of talking honestly about race hurts us all, by Harry Stein, I grabbed it. I can’t wait to read more about this topic.

Two other titles that I’m interested in reading are Here Come the Brides! Reflections on Lesbian Love and Marriage, edited by Audrey Bilger & Michele Kort and Debating Same Sex Marriage, by John Corvino and Maggie Gallagher. The latter is from Oxford University Press, which is typically an indication that great quality brain food is only a flip of a page away.

The Calgary Public Library gets new books daily! Browse our New and Notable shelves, ask a librarian for a suggestion, use our databases to find books that suit your preferences, or subscribe to our electronic newsletters. We’ve got everything you’re into!

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