Outreach Services recommends…

Have you heard of Winnipeg Public Library’s Outreach Services department? Made up of 5 staff and our trusty leader Kathleen, we travel around town promoting the library and bringing a mobile library to communities and festivals! You may have seen our fancy van cruising around Winnipeg. (Yes, we do love our van.) Check out our mobile library calendar to see when we might be in your neighbourhood.

In this post, you’ll get to meet the staff behind the lovely and oh so charming Outreach Services team, bringing you suggestions of books we’ve recently enjoyed.

Kim Parry, Outreach Librarian (part time)

After being on hold for The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline for a number of months I finally bought it and I’m so glad I did – so I can lend it out to everyone I know!  This is my pick because it is an incredibly powerful and super-smart story of Frenchie, an Indigenous teen on the run from government recruiters. Set during a time where climate change has progressed to a dire situation, it is an apocalyptic science fiction story,  but in the way that good science fiction writers (Octavia Butler, Ursula K Le Guin, and more) have, there is much that resonates with contemporary issues. I have suggested The Marrow Thieves to many of the community members I talk to across all ages during our mobile libraries.

Toby Cygman, Outreach Librarian (part time)

The best book I’ve read recently is Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis. About a group of dogs that are given the gift of human intelligence, it explores how they handle this new perspective on the world. It’s beautiful and devastating and so so unique.

Mauri Rosenstock, Outreach Librarian

I am eagerly awaiting the return of protagonist Allan Karlsson in the 101-Year-Old Man, and in the meantime revisiting the shenanigans he got up to in The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared. In The 100-Year-Old Man, readers are taken on a hilarious journey from the present to flashbacks of historical events in the twentieth century. Along the way we are introduced to loveable and outlandish characters created by Swedish author Jonas Jonasson. If you liked the characters in The 100-Year-Old Man, you may also enjoy Jonasson’s cast of quirky characters in The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden and Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All.

Chris Laurie, Outreach Librarian

I recently made a simple change in my life. I switched from an ‘information’ radio station to a classical one. Now every morning I feel like I’m on vacation, from the moment I wake until I leave for work. The change is now spilling into other areas of my life, including what I’m reading. I’m on a classical composer kick, and I’m currently enjoying this mighty tome on Beethoven (also available as an ebook). It includes fascinating details of German and European history and of course, insights behind the beautiful music written by a genius who happened to be deaf.

Hugh O’Donnell, Outreach Assistant

It may be an understatement to say that I’m a war history buff, and as such, the main book that I am reading right now is The German Army at Passchendaele by Jack Sheldon. I like it because most accounts of the battle that I can access are written in English and rarely include what things were like for the Germans during the war. The book includes lots of firsthand accounts of the fighting as well as good quality sketches to track the locations and movements. If you are interested in learning more about Passchendaele,  check out our collection – we have lots to offer.

Doin’ the Dewey

Ben wished the world was organized by the Dewey decimal system. That way you’d be able to find whatever you were looking for…
Brian Selznick

364.1523, 641, 822.33, 910

Or, to express this in words, true crime, cookbooks, Shakespeare and travel essays. These are just a small random sample of the multitude of subjects and information you can find using the Dewey Decimal system. Doin’ the Dewey is second nature, something that I’ve used for most of my life to find what I’m looking for.

The human brain is hardwired to categorize and sort data. Sometimes it’s in long term memory, sometimes it’s in short term, sometimes it’s an image and sometimes it’s an aroma. Scientists are working on ways to map how the brain works, to try and discover how the brain organizes and retrieves all of the data that comes our way, and they’ve come up with some amazing conclusions.

Going to a library is a bit like being inside an enormous brain. Libraries house an astonishing amount of information, and just as with our brains we need to be able to retrieve anything at any time as quickly and as accurately as possible. The retrieval system in a library also needs to be replicated in varied locations and expand as needed to accommodate new materials, which is where the Dewey Decimal system comes in. Every subject and classification has its own number, and is the same in every public library in Winnipeg, so you can transfer the knowledge from one location to the next and still find what you’re looking for. It even works for any format – print, audio or video.

Still not feeling confident that you too can do the Dewey? Here’s a quick and easy overview of the Dewey classifications and what you can find where:

000 – Computer Science and Information

In this section you can also find information on UFOs, Bigfoot, the paranormal, the Guinness Book of World Records, books of lists, and so much more.





100 – Philosophy and Psychology

Here you’ll find selections ranging from the Platonic method to the latest insights on the human mind. The ideologies may conflict, but on these shelves everyone lives in harmony.





300 – Social Sciences

This section is home to money management, true crime, fairy tales, politics and the environment, to name but a few of the fascinating subjects on these shelves.






400 – Language

If you’re into grammar, need a dictionary or want to learn a new language this is the place to go.





500 – Science

Biology, chemistry, astronomy, natural sciences, mathematics,  if it’s part of the known or theoretical universe you’ll find it here.

600 – Technology

Whether you want to fix a bicycle, plant a garden, raise a pet, cook something new, or find a new way to connect with your child you’re sure to discover something in this section.





700 – Arts and Recreation

Crafters, painters, decorators, knitters, musicians and sports fans all come together in one section.





800 – Literature

Poetry, prose, humor and essays all  in one easy to find location. You’ll find some of the most beautiful and timeless literary works of all time, and guides to help you interpret them.





900 – History and Geography

Whether you want to travel back in time, or get the latest recommendations before your journey across the globe, the materials you find in the 900s will guide you on your way.





If’ you’re interested in an in -depth look at the Dewey classifications, stop by the Millennium Library and take a look at the Dewey decimal classification and relative index or the DDC as it’s affectionately known. These four volumes encompass every detail and decimal point in the world according to Dewey, and if it’s not in there then it’s quite likely whatever you’re after doesn’t exist.





See how easy doin’ the Dewey can be?


What to Watch on Kanopy?

The Winnipeg Public Library recently started offering access to a new streaming service for films and documentaries, so I decided to check out this new resource.  In addition to documentaries, Kanopy offers a wide selection of international as well as Hollywood movies.

Here are some of my favourite titles so far:

The King’s Choice is a Norwegian film based on the incredible-but-true events surrounding the period of April 9-11, 1940.  When Nazi forces invaded Norway, King Haakon VII was faced with an ultimatum: accede to the demand to surrender his country without resistance, or support the continued resistance of his government and escape the country into exile.  For two days, the king and his family were pursued by the invading German army through the Norwegian countryside. They shared the fear and uncertainty of their countrymen as their towns and cities experienced a new kind of war and then four years of occupation.

In Manchester By The Sea a depressed man, Lee Chandler, must face his painful past when he reluctantly returns to his Massachusetts hometown after the sudden death of his brother.  Upon arrival, he finds that he has been made sole guardian to his teenage nephew. This is a realistic look at the personal cost of guilt with very flawed characters who are struggling with addictions and crushing grief, and yet they must find a way to carry on with the daily tasks and responsibilities of life.


In Brooklyn, a young Irish woman immigrates to Brooklyn in the 1950’s in the hopes of finding new opportunities. Lured by the promise of America, Eilis departs Ireland for the shores of New York City and is soon swept up by the intoxicating charms of new love. When family circumstances back home require her to return unexpectedly, she is faced with deciding between two countries – her home and family in the old world and the life she built with the man she loves waiting for her in the new.  Besides the great acting by Saoirse Ronan, the period reconstitution is also excellent, and the story reflects the journey that so many have done and continue to do so today.

Le Samourai is a mix of “1940s American gangster cinema and 1960s French pop culture.”  Alain Delon (one of France’s top actors of all time) plays a contract killer with samurai instincts in 1960’s Paris.  If you have watched and loved The Professional or Ghost Dog, you can now see the movie that undoubtedly inspired both.  John Costello is a contract killer that works according to his own personal code, surviving against both law enforcement and the criminal world by being a loner.  What happens when you are forced to let someone into your life – will it save or destroy you?

I had heard of the Italian movie classic The Bicycle Thieves many times before, but thanks to Kanopy, this was my chance to finally see it.  In postwar Rome, a man is on his first day of a new job that offers hope of salvation and escape from poverty for his desperate family.  Putting posters on walls may be a modest job, so when the bicycle which is needed for his work is stolen, he sets off to track down the thief with his son in tow.  An increasingly desperate quest to save their future.

Another classic from the silent cinema era is Fritz Lang’s Metropolis,  now available fully restored and with the original orchestral score.  The film takes place in 2026, when the populace is divided between workers who must live in the dark underground while slaving away maintaining nightmarish machinery, and the rich who enjoy a futuristic city of splendor.  Will the love of two people from those separate worlds be enough to bridge the divide?  This was the first time that a humanoid robot was featured on film, and it’s visuals would inspire science-fiction work up to this day.
What about you, what would you recommend?

3rd Annual Prairie Comics Festival


Are you a fan of local and Canadian writers, artists and creators? Are you a fan or writer of comics, graphic novels, zines and webcomics or are interested in finding out more about them? Well, do we have a treat for you! From Saturday, May 5th 10:30-5:00 pm to Sunday May 6th 1:00-5:00 pm at the Millennium Library in the Carol Shields Auditorium, we are co-hosting the 3rd annual Prairie Comics Festival. Over 25 Comics writers, artists and publishers will be exhibiting their works for purchase in the auditorium, meeting with fans and writers and participating in panels throughout the day.

This year we are also excited to have three special guests at the festival: Mariko Tamaki is a comics creator who co-created This One Summer with Jillian Tamaki, a graphic novel which received Caldecott and Printz Honors as well as the Eisner and Ignatz Awards. ALB is an illustrator and digital content creator, whose videos you may have seen on YouTube and CBC. Valentine de Landro is a Canadian comic book artist, illustrator and designer who has illustrated for Marvel, DC Comics, IDW, Valiant, and Dark Horse and is the co-creator of BITCH PLANET.

You can find a full list of all the exhibitors and publishing houses who will be attending the festival at the official website prairiecomics.com.

As I mentioned the festival will also be offering some amazing panels which all are welcome to attend, the following is the panel schedule for the two days.


Saturday May 5:

11 am-12 pm      

Working for U.S. Publishers

Comic creators discuss the experience of working as editors, colour artists, writers, and artists for the largest comic book companies in the world. How they broke in, what the benefits and limitations are of working for large publishers, and how their experience has changed over time.

Panellists include:

Mariko Tamaki (She-Hulk, writer, Marvel)

Chris Chuckry (The Flintstones, colour artist, DC)

Valentine de Landro (Bitch Planet, artist, Image)

Hope Nicholson (The Secret Loves of Geeks, editor, Dark Horse)

1:00-2:00 pm    

Social Media and Comics

Comic creators and journalists discuss the role of social media. Is it necessary? How far do you let your personal self shine through? How do you use different platforms, and why is it important to diversify your posts on each? What are the current hot topics when it comes to comics on social media?

Panellists include:

Nyala Ali (Comics journalist)

Autumn Crossman (Comic creator)

ALB (Comic creator/Youtube creator)

Ryan Harby (Webcomic creator)

3:00-4:00 pm                   

Breaking out of the Panel

Comic creators discuss the different formats comics can take, and innovative ways to showcase the medium. Whether this is in massive side-scrolling comics, mini self-made zines, or comics made in the shape of bubblegum wrappers, we will showcase ideas and brainstorm new ways to look at the medium of comics.

Panellists include:

Scott A. Ford

Robert Pasternak

Hely Schumann

Alice RL


Sunday May 6:

1:30-2:30 pm    

Young Adult Comics Panel

Come join a roundtable of librarians discussing what are the best young adult graphic novels to read! A focus on inclusive programming, this will also showcase graphic novels that are available to be checked out immediately from the library after the panel.

Panellists include:

WPL Librarians                

3:00-4:00 pm    

Prairie Comic Festival Guest Spotlight

Mariko Tamaki, Valentine de Landro, and ALB are our special guests this year for the Prairie Comics Festival. Come join the panel and hear about their current and past projects, and engage in an open Q&A where you can ask them questions about their work.

This festival and its panels are free to attend, so please come on down; we look forward to seeing you!

If you are unable to make it to the festival, the Blankstein Gallery at the Millennium Library will feature artwork by the local publishers and invited guests throughout the month of May.



It’s Time to Read: The Underground Railroad

If it’s the first Friday of the month, then you know what that means! It’s time for the latest release of the Time to Read book club podcast!

Who’s in our book club, you ask? Why, you are! Or at least, we’d love you to be. Your comments, questions, and observations, posted through social media or on our podcast webpage, help guide us through our discussion.  Love the book? Hate the book? We want to hear from you.  Email us at wpl-podcast@winnipeg.ca.

In this episode, we read Colson Whitehead’s Underground Railroad, a book worthy of lots of discussion, reflection, and commentary. When you first learned about the Underground Railroad as a kid, did you at first think it was an actual railroad? Well, some members of our book club sure did, as did the Whitehead himself. And even after learning more about the actual network of safe houses, smuggled wagon rides, and trails leading slaves north to freedom; Whitehead thought it would be fascinating to explore the idea of the Underground Railroad literally rather than just figuratively. The result is a fascinating and unsettling story of Cora, a 15-year old runaway slave who hops aboard the train and whose story reboots at each station stop in a different state.

Would you like to join our book club? It’s pretty easy: read the book (or don’t, we’ll never know!), and add your comments and questions to the discussion page or on social media. Then download  our latest episode and listen in as this month we talk magic realism, Stockholm syndrome, the trolley problem, and how I don’t like making left turns when I drive.

Up next is Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane – pick up a copy at your local branch and join us, won’t you?! We’ll be posting the podcast of that book club discussion on (you guessed it) the first Friday in May.

Visit wpl-podcast.winnipeg.ca to learn more and you can always email us at wpl-podcast@winnipeg.ca

— Kirsten and the rest of the Time to Read gang

Stories of Shannara


Image credits: Wikipedia, A Shannara Wiki, Goodreads,  and wallpapersdepo.net.

“The Ellcrys is dying. For centuries the magical tree has kept the demon hordes at bay. Created by elven magic she banished the demons and trapped them within a dimension known as the Forbidden. But as the Ellcrys’ power begins to fade the magic weakens. It is only a matter of time before the demons break out of their prison and wreak their terrible vengeance on the elves. Something must be done. The mysterious druid Allanon travels to the remote community of Storlock to recruit Wil Ohmsford. Years earlier the druid fought side-by-side Wil’s grandfather and defeated the Warlock Lord. Now it is Wil’s turn to join Allanon and stand against the forces of evil. Together the druid and his young companion must convince Amberle Elessedil, last of the Chosen, to join their quest and together they can save the Four Lands from destruction.”

The Elfstones of Shannara, by Terry Brooks, is the second novel in a fantasy series that features everything you might expect; fantastic beasts, magic, elves, treachery, redemption – even love. So why should you read another fantasy? What makes this novel worth reading?

Throughout the Shannara series, the reader follows the adventures of the Ohmsfords, a family of half-elves who live in Shady Vale, a peaceful community. Their lives are turned upside down when Allanon comes knocking at their door and asks two brothers to embark on a perilous adventure to save the Four Lands from a great and terrible evil. What’s interesting and different from other fantasy series is that each novel follows a new generation of the Ohmsford family.

In The Sword of Shannara (1977) Shea and Flick Ohmsford must find the fabled sword and destroy the Warlock Lord. In The Elfstones of Shannara (1982), it is Shea’s grandson Wil Ohmsford who has to rise to the occasion. And in The Wishsong of Shannara (1985), Wil’s children Jair and Brin Ohmsford travel to the Eastern land in order to destroy a magical relic.

As the descendants of Jerle Shannara, the Ohmsfords are able to use magic and wield magical weapons such as the fabled sword of Shannara and the elfstones, which is a blessing and a curse. Whenever a terrible evil threatens the Four Lands it is the Ohmsfords who must face it. Fortunately for them – fortune favours the brave.

The Elfstone of Shannara is available at a bookstore AND library near you.

— Daniel B

[Editior’s note: As a child, The Sword of Shannara sat on my father’s headboard and its cover, map, and illustrations captured my attention. I was too young to read it at the time, but when I saw it again years later, this was one of the first Fantasy books I ever read. -Mike E.]

The Upside of Downtime: Taking it Slow

I was recently talking with my parents recently about the early days of computers. Aside from the promise of a paperless society, we were also promised more leisure time. Did you know that people really, truly believed that we would save ourselves so much time using computers that we’d go down to a four-day work week, because we wouldn’t have enough to do to keep us busy five days in a row? Considering the number of time management apps and reminders and alarms programmed into my phone, this seems downright ridiculous!

Tuesday, April 10 will mark the hundredth day of 2018. What better time to sit down with a book and take it slow? If you feel like a quick breather is just what you need, then inhale to the count of three, exhale to the count of 4, and check out this list below for some slow-down inspiration:

The Slow Fix: Solve Problems, Work Smarter and Live Better in a World Addicted to Speed by Carl Honoré

Sometimes, you just can’t rush good work!

Addicted as we might be to the quick fix–pills, crash diets or just diverting attention from things about to go wrong–the quick fix never really works. Trying to solve problems in a hurry, sticking on a plaster when surgery is needed, might deliver temporary relief, but only at the price of storing up worse trouble for later. For those looking for a fix that sticks, The Slow Fix  will help you produce solutions in life and work that endure.

Less: Accomplishing More by Doing Less by Marc Lesser

A certain kind of busyness is crucial to life, allowing us to earn a living, create art, and achieve success. But too often it consumes us and we become crazy busy, nonstop busy, and we expend extraneous effort that gets us nowhere. Less is about stopping, about the possibility of finding composure in the midst of activity. The ideas and practices that Lesser outlines offer a radical yet simple approach to transforming a lifestyle based on endless to-do lists into a more meaningful approach that is truly more productive in every sense.

Overload: How to Unplug, Unwind, and Unleash Yourself from the Pressure of Stress by Joyce Meyer

If you favour a more spiritual approach to stillness, then Joyce Meyer has you covered.

As technology increases your accessibility, it becomes harder to mute the background noise of your life and receive God’s guidance. Joyce Meyer calls this OVERLOAD, when the demands of your busy life become all-consuming and overwhelming. Through the practical advice and Scriptural wisdom in this book, you’ll learn how to unplug and free yourself from burdens that weigh you down. You’ll gain simple, effective tips for better rest and stress management and discover the fulfilling life you were meant to lead.

Päntsdrunk: Kalsarikanni : The Finnish Path to Relaxation by Miska Rantenen

In Finland there is a special word – ‘kalsarikännit’ – to denote ‘drinking at home, alone, in your underwear’.

It is no coincidence Finland consistently rates in the top five in happiness ranking. In Finland, Päntsdrunk is considered a path to recovery and self-empowerment to help you face your future challenges, much like the ‘lagom’ or ‘hygge’ of their other Scandi neighbours.

The Päntsdrunk method also includes bingeing on Netflix, scrolling mindlessly on your phone, sweet and salty snacks, sofa time, and blocking all work communications. It will lead you to live a healthier, more energising and relaxing life – wherever, whenever.

The Slow Down Diet: Eating for Pleasure, Energy, and Weight Loss by Marc David

Our modern culture revolves around fitting as much as possible into the least amount of time. As a result, most people propel themselves through life at a dizzying pace that is contrary to a healthy lifestyle. Many of us come to the end of a day feeling undernourished, uninspired, and overweight. Citing cutting-edge research on body biochemistry as well as success stories from his own nutritional counseling practice, he shows that we are creatures of body, mind, and spirit. In this book, David shows how to decrease cortisol and other stress hormones and boost metabolic power through proper breathing and nutritional strategies that nourish both the body and soul, proving that fully enjoying each meal is the optimal way to a healthy body.

Ganja Yoga: A Practical Guide to Conscious Relaxation, Soothing Pain Relief, and Enlightened Self-Discovery by Dee Dussault

This one is pretty much exactly what it sounds like.

Dee Dussault, certified yoga instructor and the first person to bring ganja yoga classes to North America, outlines how to reap the benefits of cannabis’ scientifically proven effects on mental and physical conditions and incorporate it safely and effectively into your yoga practice. Suitable for both newbies and sages!

Deep sleep by David Arkenstone

You can find this relaxing album on hoopla digital, ready to help lull you into a restful sleep, or maybe just encourage a quiet and calm atmosphere in your home, car, or office.


Do you have any tips and tricks for stepping back and slowing down when life gets hectic?  I’d love to know, so please, share them below!

— Megan

Time to Read Speculative Fiction!

Recently the library started a podcast called Time To Read. In the first episode they chose the book Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. This book is among my top five all-time favorite books. The podcast made me laugh, it made me cry, and it made me think about why this is my favorite trilogy.

Speculative fiction is a subgenre in science fiction, and of course Margaret Atwood says it best! “I like to make a distinction between science fiction proper and speculative fiction. For me, the science fiction label belongs on books with things in them that we can’t yet do, such as going through a wormhole in space to another universe; and speculative fiction means a work that employs the means already to hand, such as DNA identification and credit cards, and that takes place on Planet Earth.” (source)

Speculative fiction makes use of dystopian, near future, and fairytales to tell their tales. Here are some of my favorites:

Oryx and Crake book coverAt the top of the list is (of course) The Maddaddam Trilogy, sometimes romance, sometimes adventure. The trilogy starts with the book Oryx and Crake. The book follows Jimmy the Snowman and a group of Crakers. We learn of Jimmy’s past through flashbacks. We learn about who he is, what the Crakers are, and what happens to Oryx and Crake. Do yourself a favor and read this book, then check out the podcast.

Never Let Me Go book coverI discovered Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro as the 2010 movie adaptation, and I fell in love. I then read the book, and while both are very well done, the book was better! They tell the story of Kathy, a caregiver and clone. Living in a boarding school, she and friends Ruth and Tommy are prepped to be donors. This is a fantastic book about the ethics and questions cloning.

The Martian book coverI read The Martian when it had just been published as an eBook on Kindle for 99 cents. This book is so scientifically accurate it is almost hard to call it speculative fiction, but I am going to include it. Mark, the unluckiest of all astronauts, encounters problem after problem after being stranded on Mars. With no real chance for escape, Mark has to find a way to stay alive and return to Earth.

Ready Player One book coverReady Player One is a dystopian novel that uses pop culture in the nerdiest of ways, and I loved every minute. I borrowed the audiobook from Overdrive, and my nerdy little heart melted just a bit more, because it was read by none other than (no shame) my high school crush, Will Wheaton! Everything is better when read by Will Wheaton.

Walkaway book coverWalkaway by Cory Doctorow is another fantastic book. Speaking of Will Wheaton, he, Amber Benson, and Amanda Palmer narrate this book. A boy meets girl story where Hubert Etc. and Natalie choose to walk away. Want to know what that means? Want to know why he is called Hubert Etc.? Read this book!

– Andrea

What on earth is Hashimoto’s?

When the body wages war against itself it is because of an autoimmune disease. In the case of Hashimoto’s the organ under attack is the thyroid. Just like in any war the devastation often goes far beyond the target and, more often than not, other parties, in this case autoimmune diseases, are invited to participate. Autoimmune diseases are masters of disguise and deception. Symptoms for the same disease vary from person to person and the disease even wears different masks in the same individual. No wonder it takes on average 10 years and in many cases a number of misdiagnoses before an autoimmune disease is discovered. By then the affected organ is already quite damaged.

In the last 15 years, autoimmune diseases have reached epidemic proportions and combined are killing more women under 65 than cancer and cardiovascular disease. (Women are vastly over-represented when it comes to autoimmune diseases.) In her article in The New Yorker, Meghan O’Rourke writes, “In fact, autoimmune disease is as much of a medical frontier today as syphilis or tuberculosis was in the nineteenth century”. Indeed, at this point the medical system is ill-equipped to deal with this autoimmune challenge. There is not enough research, the cause is unknown and there is no cure. At best, the symptoms can be relieved. It is very common that patients are given drugs for depression, anxiety, ADHD and insomnia, as well as painkillers and other drugs with little or no effect before, or even after, a diagnosis.

This sounds very grim. This month, though, is Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month, which is as good a reason as any to spread awareness and hope about this underestimated, under-recognized, under-researched and under-diagnosed health issue. Although I’m sure there are many who have found ways to improve their quality of life, I would like to introduce individuals who have done so and have made it their business to pass on their findings and become advocates.

Janie Bowthorpe was a fitness instructor when Hashimoto’s sneaked up on her. She was eventually so disabled that she could only do very little and ended up applying for disability. There was one thing she could still do and that was sit at the computer and research her condition. By and by she pieced all the information together and found a solution to end her misery.

Stop the Thyroid Madness

In her first book “Stop the Thyroid Madness” her frustration and anger over losing 20 years of her life is very obvious. She felt that help was available all along and she was not offered it. Her second book, Stop the Thyroid Madness 2 is milder. It is a collection of contributions by medical and functional doctors discussing, in easy to understand terms, their experiences, views and treatment options. There is a lot of information on proper testing, symptoms of nutrient deficiencies, the impact of stress, why doctors treat patients the way they do, how to relate to doctors and so much more. Janie has become a dedicated voice for thyroid patients all over the world and has a patient-driven website with the same title as her books, which is an amazingly large source of information.

Root causeIzabella Wentz also was struck by Hashimoto’s. What played in her favour was that she is a pharmacist. She already had experience with doing and evaluating research and she put all her focus on finding a way to deal with her condition. She, too, was successful, and felt strongly that she had to share her findings with those who did not know how to escape or, at least, improve their situation. Both her books, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause and Hashimoto’s Protocol: A 90-day Plan for Reversing Thyroid Symptoms and Getting your Life Back are well-organized collections of the knowledge currently available about Hashimoto’s.

Hashimotos Protocol

Wentz’s claims are backed by scientific research which gives them weight and credibility. She presents tools to deal with a disease that can be so crippling, and also shares her own story and experiences, which makes it very easy to relate to. She also stresses the importance of looking at each case individually. There is plenty of encouragement to not give up and continue to find ways that are just right for each individual. Her books can definitely not be digested in one sitting, as there is much information to take in, but I would look at them as reference books that invite the reader to return to frequently.

Jennifer EspositoJennifer Esposito is an actress who has starred in numerous movies and TV series. Growing up in an Italian culture where food like bread, pasta and pizza was the stuff of life, she struggled with a “bad stomach” and ever increasing episodes of anxiety and panic attacks. Her family dismissed her illness as her being like her mother. Much later Jennifer found out that she had a severe case of Celiac disease and that there is a genetic component to that. She now understood why many of her female family members, including her mother, had developed methods that aimed, somewhat unsuccessfully, at dealing with the sometimes crippling symptoms of this health issue and freely discussed this among themselves.

Reading about her journey is heart-breaking, frustrating and frightening, especially the part before her diagnosis. Following her narrative of being repeatedly misdiagnosed, leaving doctor’s offices with prescriptions that did not improve her condition and often made it worse, fighting her way out of the psych ward, and making forceful efforts to hang on to a job in an industry where appearance is everything, will make you dig your nails into your chair as you try to stem the tears. Anybody who struggles with an autoimmune disease will most likely relate to many parts of her book, Jennifer’s Way. It also is a good read for those who like gripping biographies and want to learn what it can be like to deal with an autoimmune disease. I have included this book because the story has a very happy ending. Not only did the author, with an almost superhuman determination, find the most effective ways to help herself, she also found a meaningful way to help others.

Wahls ProtocolDr.Terry Wahls is a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Iowa. For years she treated her patients the conventional way as she had been taught in med school. Then she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and underwent conventional treatment herself. It was unsuccessful. As a doctor she could clearly see her fate and refused to accept it. Realizing that medical research is often 20 to 30 years ahead of clinical practice she left no scientific stone unturned and found nothing but drugs that had not been approved yet. It then occurred to her that nutrition had played a role in positive outcomes and she started to search for vitamins and supplements that had helped any kind of progressive brain disorder. Painstakingly she created a list of helpful nutrients and started consuming them. This slowed the progress of her disease, which she did not find satisfactory enough.

When she discovered Functional Medicine she found what she had been looking for. Within a year, she was able to walk through the hospital without a cane and even complete an 18-mile bicycle tour! Her physicians, family and friends were absolutely stunned. (She even admits to have been quite surprised herself.) In her book, The Wahls Protocol, she makes all of her hard work available to the public. Her findings are likely to be useful not just for people with MS but anyone with an autoimmune disease. Current research seems to point at the likelihood of all autoimmune diseases being related, which would make sense being that many sufferers accumulate more than one during their lifetime.

Many people with an autoimmune disease are relieved to find that they have a tremendous amount of power when it comes to their health. There are many options in addition to or instead of a prescription medication regime and conventional treatment. Life might have handed you a cactus; that does not mean you have to sit on it. Exploring options, finding solutions that work for you specifically, keeping an open mind and a healthy optimism might just help to exceed your wildest hopes and dreams. Never give up!

– Elke

Other suggested reading:

The Wellness Project






I’ll see you again in twenty five years

I just finished watching Twin Peaks: The Return, the incredible, maddening, brilliant puzzle box mystery told over 18 hours last summer on Showtime. The library has the collected series on DVD, and I am left at the end of it with more questions than answers. I am sure this was creators David Lynch and Mark Frost’s intention all along. I’m not going to be able to do the show justice in one blog post, but let’s just say you’ll know pretty quickly where you are into it or not, starting with Season 1, which aired way back in 1990 on ABC.

In one of the final scenes of the second season of the show’s original 1991 run, the spirit of Laura Palmer leans in to Special Agent Dale Cooper, both captives of the Black Lodge, and whispers, “I’ll see you again in twenty five years”. By some amazing meta-reality twisting, fans of this peculiar show are presented with the fulfilment of this promise in almost real time. Many of the original cast returned for what would be their final roles. (Almost every episode ends with a “In Memory of” tribute to someone who you had just been watching). Many long-term David Lynch collaborators, such as Laura Dern and Naomi Watts, appear for the first time in the Twin Peaks universe, and it was a joy, if not a frustrating joy, to watch it all unfold.

Part way through the series, (I believe it was after the particularly mind-bending episode 8. No spoilers here, except to say that if you don’t have a clue what you just watched, you are not alone), I knew I had to turn to some expert help. I found a wonderful podcast by Entertainment Weekly writers Jeff Jensen and Darren Franich that goes deep into each episode. To give you an idea how deep, their episode on the finale runs for three and a half hours! Myself, I found the podcast an essential companion to the new season.

In addition to this podcast, WPL has some great supplemental resources for those Twin Peaks fans left wanting more.

Mark Frost, the co-creator of the series, recently published a couple of books that help fill in some gaps in the mythology. Both Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier and The Secret History of Twin Peaks are worth checking out. Could these be the final words we ever get from them about Twin Peaks?


Coffee, donuts and cherry pie play prominent roles throughout the series, so it only makes sense that someone would write a Twin Peaks cookbook. I’d avoid the creamed corn if I were you.

Damn Fine Cherry Pie by Lindsey Bowden



Music also plays an important role in the Twin Peaks experience, with many episodes of the new series ending in the Roadhouse with full performances from a variety of interesting musical artists. Additionally, the haunting themes of Angelo Badalamenti are peppered throughout the entire run and set the mood for this show’s mystical setting.

The soundtracks to the original series, the follow up feature film Fire Walk with Me, and the limited series return are all available through Hoopla, and there is an excellent book about the collaborative process between David Lynch and composer Angelo Badalamenti called Soundtrack from Twin Peaks by Claire Nina Norelli.

Now that I am through all 18 parts, and have lived to tell the tale, I am also left wanting more. Hopefully this isn’t the last we’ve seen from the world of Twin Peaks, and that we won’t have to wait another twenty five years for our next piece of cherry pie.