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Come Out, (COME OUT!) Wherever You Are!

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

This post is dedicated to a queer artist whom I love with all my heart - one Beric Manywounds, who continues to challenge my views about men, women, sex, gender, and love. May you revel in your sexuality; may you find a love that makes your heart sing!

The Calgary Public Library is proud to celebrate diversity in our community. Whether that diversity is ethnic, linguistic, cultural, or sexual, we have materials and programs that allow for various views and voices to be heard and understood. This September, like every other, we wish you a very happy PRIDE. Celebrate the fact that families come in a glorious variety of forms, and so do sexual preferences and practices.

Visit your library for books by and about gays, lesbians, transfolk, queers, and all of their many allies. Find materials that might help you come out - or dialogue with a child (or parent!) who just has. Borrow books about planning your gay wedding, or browse some of our gay audience magazines. If you’re writing a paper about sex, sexuality, gender, or gay issues, be sure to check out our e-library databases for academic and peer reviewed journals.

And if you’re free this Sunday, September 2, then head downtown to take part in Calgary’s PRIDE parade.

As for me, I don’t identify as gay. But I’ve got rainbow striped knee-high socks that have been waiting in fashion storage for nearly a year, and I’ll be wearing them with pride, in celebration of all the gays I’ve known and loved (and a few of the lesbians I’ve had crushes on, too).

From drag racing to drag queens, the Calgary Public Library has resources about everything you’re into!

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!

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!

Happy International Women's Day!

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Celebrate International Women’s Day by joining us in our John Dutton theatre for a discussion of how women are creating strong and vibrant communities.

This year, in solidarity with feminists throughout the world (men included!), I give to you a list of some of my recent favourites: writing about women and women’s sexuality.

Self Made Man: One Woman’s Journey into Manhood and Back Again, by Norah Vincent. An interesting examination of the pressures confronting men, from a lesbian point of view. Crass, funny, and insightful, even though the project of chronicling a year as a man was based on deception.

My Secret Garden: Women’s Sexual Fantasies, by Nancy Friday. This book had enormous impact when it was first published, and it’s still popular today. Read it for titillation, of course, but also to realize that you’re perfectly normal and that your fantasies are, too.

The Sexual Life of Catherine M, by Catherine Millet. I included this book here not because of the graphic sexual descriptions it contains, but because it’s a reflection of one woman’s choices. It’s not just sex but choice that’s important to feminism. The choice to marry or not, have children or not, have multiple (and concurrent!) sexual partners or not, and so on. Millet lives life on her own terms.

Our Bodies, Ourselves, by Boston Women's Health Book Collective. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention this classic. It's been informing women about their bodies for over 4 decades!

Your local library has all sorts of resources about women’s sexuality: relationships, sexual health, gay/lesbian/trans/queer issues, sexual education and pregnancy, and lots more! Learn to create more safety, intimacy and pleasure in your sexual routines. Learn about who’s doing what to whom, and how.

The Calgary Public Library has resources for everything you’re into!

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.

Jealousy, by Catherine Millet

by Katherine - 1 Comment(s)

Even though I work at a library, I don’t always take the time for a leisurely browse. Last Friday afternoon, I did just that. I browsed our collection on love and relationships, and stumbled onto a great new read: Jealousy: the Other Life of Catherine M, by Catherine Millet.

Catherine M is perfectly content living a life of sexual liberation. She’s a Parisian writer and art critic who has both male and female partners, and enjoys several concurrent relationships. But, one day she finds that her primary partner, Jacques, maintains his own relationships with other women. The book is a chronicle of Millet’s reactions and feelings, as she unflinchingly recounts the jealousy she felt, but failed to predict.

It’s honest, raw, and remarkably insightful. It’s well written and articulate. But be warned: Jealousy might make you blush, while reading it on the C-Train. Millet spares no detail! Check it out today!

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