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A Zoltan by Any Other Name

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

A colleague of mine is pregnant and was recently flipping through a baby name book. There were classic names like Victoria and Katherine; Biblical names like Joshua and Daniel; no nick-name names like Claire and Emily, and tons of other categories. From Aida to Zoltan, nearly every conceivable name was listed.

I happen to believe that names are hugely important in determining an individual’s success. Can you really argue that a Misty will be taken as seriously as an Elizabeth? Who’s likely to be the CEO: a Robert or a Timmy? Names suggest age, capability, and even social status.

For an interesting exploration of “white names” versus “black names”, check out the chapter about names in Freakonomics, by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner.

If you don’t want your son to go through school being one of the four Liams in his class, then check out this link for information about Alberta’s most popular baby names.

Finally, browse section 929.44 in your local library branch. We've got lots of baby name books! If you’re not expecting yet, then use them to choose a name for a character in your next novel, or maybe even the cat or dog you just adopted. Think beyond Fifi and Rex!

A Hero Lies in You (not a Mariah Carey post!)

by Katherine - 1 Comment(s)

I’m reading a great new book these days – well, actually, it’s a tremendously popular 1998 title, The Hero Within, by Carol S. Pearson. When my train arrives at the Central Library these mornings, I feel like a therapist has just told me: “We’ll have to continue this another time...” and I want to plead: “Please – just 5 more minutes!”

The Hero Within is an exploration of archetypes and their role in our psychological development and health. We all live out patterns of thinking and doing that reveal our psychological similarities. We cope with problems, challenges or obstacles, and we do so by telling ourselves stories about ourselves and the world. Stories like “I just can’t win. It’s so unfair!” or “...no one really understands me, anyway” or “...no one appreciates the work that I do, and the sacrifices that I constantly make”. Or stories like “I have to take this journey, even though I’m not sure where I’m going”. At any given moment, we may be operating within the narrative of the orphan, innocent, magician, wanderer, warrior or altruist.

Heroes aren’t perfect people. They often come from dysfunctional or impoverished backgrounds, and are flawed individuals. But we admire them because they don’t give up. Heroes aren’t great because they’re fearless. They’re great because they act in spite of their fear. Heroes learn to recognize what is important and what is not; they learn to cope with loss, and to summon the strength to fight for what is just. Heroes don’t care about what others think.

Even though it sounds corny, it’s true: each of us is on her own journey. Read The Hero Within and be encouraged to show courage, adopt a new life pattern (and lose the old ones!), make a difficult choice, and grow.

For general psychology and self help, browse section 158 of your local library.

Mango Languages

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Ohnul nalshee chocho? Ohnul nalshee chocho? Ohnul nalshee chocho?

That’s the sound of me trying to memorize “The weather is nice today, isn’t it?” in Korean.

Calgary Public Library has all sorts of cool databases, like Mango Languages. Log in and start learning a new language today! From our homepage, select e-library and then Social Sciences & Education.

Whether you want to pick up a bit of new vocabulary, or you’d like to start with a very basic grammar lesson, Mango makes it easy to track your progress and study according to your own schedule.

Choose from over 35 languages, including some less common ones such as Hawaiian and Haitian Creole.

Mango is a great tool for students, travelers, polyglots and educators. Check it out!

Are you there Vodka? It’s me, Chelsea, By Chelsea Handler

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

On a friend’s recommendation, I’ve started reading this hilarious collection of episodes from the life of comedienne Chelsea Handler. Honestly, I hadn’t heard of her until I had to fly from Las Vegas to Calgary and found there was absolutely nothing to do except watch the E! Network. After that brief introduction, I decided I would check out some of her writing.

I have to say that Ms. Handler will never be able to take Tina Fey’s place in my heart (in my funny bone?). She’s just isn’t quite as razor sharp. But even so, this collection had me chuckling. Handler is quirky, self-effacing, and more than just a little bit rude, and no one is immune from her comic lens – including her family, friends, and ex-boyfriends.

What I most admire in Handler is her frank discussion of sex. She is very forthright about her sex life, and I like the fact that she doesn’t feel she has to apologize for being sexual – whether that’s with one partner or more. Handler is a woman who’s not afraid to eat bad food, drink too much, sleep with several partners, and throw a punch, if need be.

Check out Chelsea Handler’s writing today!

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.

In Good Companies

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

I lead Career Tours at the Central Library for a variety of groups. Most of the participants are newcomers and immigrants who are highly educated, multilingual and eager to secure meaningful employment in their new land. I show them how to access the newspaper, job ads, print resources and programs. And I also show them how to find information about companies for which they may wish to work.

Here are some of the tools that I always ensure I mention:

Reference USA. This database will allow you to generate lists of companies, using SIC or NAICS codes, or keywords. Find who you’re looking for, even when you’re not sure who you’re looking for. Download financial and contact information into a spreadsheet that you can keep for your reference.

Business Source Complete. Find articles about companies’ histories, SWOT analyses and stock market reports - current and comprehensive information is not typically provided on companies’ own websites. You’ll be amazed at what a single keyword can generate. This is not your grandmother’s Google!

Canadian Newsstand. This archive allows you to search for news and magazine articles about your company. Has it ever been sued? Has it won awards? Has it been listed in any Top-10 type rankings? What are some of its most recently announced projects (or disasters)?

If you need help accessing information about a particular company, then drop by the information desk, give us a call, or strike up a chat through our homepage. We’re happy to help guide you through the electronic jungle, and hopefully, towards bigger and better employment opportunities. Good luck!

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