Author Archives: winnipegpublibrary

Summer Reading Challenge!


Display at Millennium Library

While the libraries are all set with their TD Summer Reading program for the kiddies, we also have a challenge for the adults. At all Winnipeg Public Library branches you will find the Summer Reading Challenge, a large Bingo-type card with 24 themes to expand your reading horizons. Once you’ve read a book or listened to an audiobook from one of the themes listed, fill out a card and have your selection posted on or by your branch’s card. Let’s see which branch can fill up their card, and let’s see how many books from the different themes you can read during the summer. If you need help finding a book to read from any of the themes listed just ask a library staff member for suggestions, we are more than happy to help you with your summer reading challenge. To start you off I’ve included some reading suggestions for a few of the themes listed below.

Chosen by Cover

hypnotist  The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler

Though the age-old saying of “don’t judge a book by its cover” can be applied to many occasions, it doesn’t always ring true. I am often attracted or intrigued by a book solely based on its cover, this is for good reason as plenty of work goes into cover design to attract a prospective reader. For many months I had seen this book returned over the counter and every time I saw the cover I would get chills. The story itself is no less chilling. A family is gruesomely murdered and with the only witness, their son, unable to remember the events inspector Joona Linna enlists the help of Dr. Erik Maria Bark, an expert in hypnotism to try and unlock the boy’s memories of that night. This novel marks the first in the series featuring Inspector Joona Linna, and true to Swedish mystery form it is dark, suspenseful and has fascinating characters. Alternate themes: Book in Translation, Book in a Series, Set in a country you’ve never visited, Mystery.

Science Fiction

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

This is an unconventional science fiction novel in that it is also a mystery/thriller featuring a serial killer. A serial killer during the Great Depression discovers a House that takes him to another time period where he finds his “Shining Girls”. He believes he will never be caught as after the murders he escapes back to his own time, but one of his victims survives and is keen on finding him and stopping him before he kills again. If you like your books with a bit of time travel, a serial killer and a strong female character, this book is for you. Alternate themes: Takes place more than 50 years ago, Mystery.

Collection of Short Stories

strange Strange Weather by Joe Hill

Depending on your typical reading genre, this book may fall under a couple themes (many of these suggestions could), it is a collection of short horror stories by Joe Hill, an author who, though he is the son of Stephen King, has been making a name for himself in the horror genre. In this collection Hill has written four short novels each as unique as the one before, though all written in a way that ratchets up the terror and horror as each page is turned. My personal favourite of the stories was the final one, Rain about an apocalyptic event where instead of water falling when it rains, it is a downpour of nails. Where does one find cover when nails are raining from the sky? Read the book and find out. Alternate themes: Title outside your comfort zone.

Book From Your Childhood

Le Petit Prince or The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

I read this French classic in french when I was in school and loved it then, I read it recently and loved it even more. This short book takes place on earth with a pilot whose plane has crashed in the desert and there he encounters the little prince who asks him to draw a sheep. At first the pilot has difficulty until he decides to draw a box and tells the prince that the sheep is in the box. The little prince is delighted, much to the pilot’s surprise and recounts his life on asteroid B-612, his travels from different planets and his encounters with those on each planet. The message related in this book is accessible to children and imperative to adults. Though children will love this book and understand the little prince, it is us adults who will truly come away from this book with a new appreciation of seeing life through a child’s eyes and grasping what is truly important. Alternate themes: Book in translation, book that involves travel.


lincoln Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

Not only is the novel the winner of the Man Booker Prize, the audiobook is also an Audie Award Winner for Audiobook of the Year, and it is no wonder. Lead by a full star-studded cast including the voice talents of Nick Offerman, David Sedaris, Don Cheadle, Kat Dennings, Bill Hader, Keegan-Michael Key, Susan Sarandon and Rainn Wilson to name a few, and George Saunders himself, Lincoln in the Bardo takes place during the Civil War in a graveyard where then president Abraham Lincoln has just laid his son to rest. A fascinating setting for a unique book.

Winnipeg Author

You have plenty of books to choose from that are by a Winnipeg author, just check out the winners and nominees from the Manitoba Book Awards. This year’s list includes our very own Writer-in-Residence Jennifer Still who won the Landsdowne Poetry Award for her book Comma. The library also carries the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction winner The Water Beetles by Michael Kaan, and though there are a few requests on this book, click on the link to Award Winners on the catalogue home page and select Manitoba/Local Awards for a list of past winners that may be more likely of being available to borrow, and they’re just as good!

Best of luck to you all in completing the challenge, and happy reading!


Gamify Your Life!

Up up down down left right left right B A Select Start.

The “Konami Code.”

The very code that earned you 30 extra lives in Contra, a classic Nintendo game that featured two commanders making their way through enemy territory……although I must admit, my main goal when playing the game, was to make the characters “dance” in time to the music.  Squat, jump, turn, turn, turn.

I was never obsessed with video games….in fact I only ever owned a game boy system that got the majority of its use on family road trips, once a year. But I did have my fair share of zombified afternoons at my friends’ houses…..hands glued to a controller, eyes barely blinking.

There’s no doubt about it.  Video games are addicting.  They leave you feeling like you simply haaaaave to get to the next level, or break your previous high score.  There’s the satisfying “ding!” of earning rewards, and the ultimate jump-off-the-couch moment when you actually beat the game!

Video games elicit an unprecedented type of energy, effort and focus.  Which is exactly why we can learn from our experiences with them!

It’s called “gamification.”    The concept of applying game-design thinking to everyday life.  And it can take your follow-through from “maybe someday” to “just nailed it!”

Take nutrition, for example.  I recently started eating a vegetarian diet.  And although I find it fairly easy to avoid meat, it can actually be kinda tricky to make sure I’m eating enough of the good stuff (because I could very easily swap out chips for chicken, or sangria for steak).

And so I use a fancy little app called Daily Dozen that lets me track my fruits, veggies, beans, greens, nuts….complete with gold stars, charts and records!  And trust me, on the days that I hit all 12 targets, I have my own little jump-off-the-couch moment (which oddly enough, looks a hell of a lot like Chun Li’s adorable victory leap)!

And it’s the same thing with my meditation practice!  I use the Headspace app, partly because of the kick-ass guided meditations, and partly because I get such a high from keeping my “run streak” going, building my “total time meditated” and checking in my friends’ stats, for a little healthy competition.

And really, what fun is victory, if no one knows about it?  In the world of gaming, it’s abundantly clear that social interaction plays a huge part in keeping us coming back for more.  Whether it’s high-fiving your best friend over finally beating Bowser, or getting in some seriously fierce competition with your big brother in Blades of Steel…’s more fun when the experience is shared.  And really, someone needs to verify your epic stories of defeat!

And of course, let’s not forget about peer pressure!  Oh, the street cred you can earn by beating the fire temple in Zelda!  There’s just a certain amount of pressure to achieve, when we know our friends are watching our every move.

Which is exactly why working out with friends, is the best possible thing you can do!  There’s accountability there, meaning you’re way less likely to bail on a bike ride with a friend, than a bike ride by yourself.  It’s the very reason that my workout routine is centered around group fitness.  Not only do people expect me in class, they expect me to bring it, every time!  It’s a beat-the-cheat life hack that forces me to wrestle “I’ll do it tomorrow” to the ground!

But what about personal projects?  When I need to get something done, with focus and uninterrupted energy, I really struggle to stay at it.  There’s always something that tears me away…..a text message….a pang of hunger…..the sudden realization that I need to buy those Jim Jefferies tickets before they sell out!

But what if I applied a little gamification here as well?  I recently heard about an app called Forest that helps you put down your phone, and focus on what’s most important in your life.  You plant a virtual tree, and it either grows (if you do not touch your phone for the allotted time frame), or it dies (if you leave the app).  Over time, you can build an entire forest, with every tree representing your focused time.  So simple.  And yet so brilliant.

So go ahead, give your mom a call, and let her know that the summer of ’92 was not a complete waste of time.  All that gaming you did, just gave you all the experience you need to be the best possible version of yourself, and to get….stuff….done!  Despite your permanent “Nintendo thumb” that prevents you from ever winning a thumb war, giving a proper thumbs up, or hitching a ride outta town.  Not a bad trade off, if you ask me.

Check out these awesome video games, available at the library, to keep you and your kids busy this summer!  Guilt free!

Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens
(XBOX 360)
The Force is strong with this one. The No. 1 LEGO videogame franchise triumphantly returns with a fun-filled, humorous journey based on the blockbuster Star Wars film. Play as Rey, Finn, Poe, BB-8, Kylo Ren, Han Solo, and the rest of your favorite characters from the movie!

(Nintendo Switch)
Owlboy is a story-driven platform adventure game, where you can fly and explore a brand new world in the clouds. Pick up your friends, and bring them with you as you explore the open skies. Overcome obstacles and greater enemies, in one of the most detailed adventures of this era. Being a mute, Otus struggles living up to the expectations of owl-hood. Things spiral from bad to worse with the sudden appearance of sky pirates. What follows is a journey through monster-infested ruins, with unexpected encounters, well kept secrets, and burdens no one should have to bear.

(Playstation 3)
The NBA 2K franchise is back with the most true-to-life NBA experience to date with NBA2K16. Guide your MyPLAYER through the complete NBA journey, take control of an entire NBA franchise, or hone your skills online competing against gamers from around the world. With animations that provide smoother movement and more realistic articulation, it’s certain to be the most authentic NBA gaming experience yet.

(Xbox One)
A land of discovery stretches out before you. Explore the beautiful yet rugged world of rime, a single-player puzzle adventure. In rime, you play as a young boy who has awakened on a mysterious island after a torrential storm. You see wild animals, long-forgotten ruins and a massive tower that beckons you to come closer. Armed with your wits and a will to overcome-and the guidance of a helpful fox-you must explore the enigmatic island, reach the tower’s peak, and unlock its closely guarded secrets.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Forget everything you know about The Legend of Zelda games. Step into a world of discovery, exploration, and adventure in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, a boundary-breaking new game in the acclaimed series. Travel across vast fields, through forests, and to mountain peaks as you discover what has become of the kingdom of Hyrule In this stunning Open-Air Adventure.

~ Lindsay



Chilling Out vs Scaring Yourself Chilly

Anyone else feel like they’re melting anytime they step away from the A/C lately? Staying cool can be a bit tricky these days, but don’t fret… ice cream for dinner and spooky stories to your rescue! All you have to do is plan a stop at your friendly local (air conditioned)  library!

Book cover of The Perfect ScoopThe perfect scoop : 200 recipes for ice creams, sorbets, gelatos, granitas, and sweet accompaniments by David Lebovitz
A revised and updated edition of the best-selling ice cream book, featuring a dozen new recipes and all-new photography. This comprehensive collection of homemade ice creams, sorbets, gelatos, granitas, and accompaniments from New York Times best-selling cookbook author and blogger David Lebovitz emphasizes classic and sophisticated flavors alongside a bountiful helping of personality and proven technique. You’ll be a potluck hero!

N’ice cream : 80+ recipes for healthy homemade vegan ice creams by Virpi Mikkonen
Award-winning Finnish author Virpi and co-author Tuulia show that making your own ice cream can be easy and good for you at the same time. These recipes can be made with or without an ice cream maker, and include foolproof instant ice creams that can be savored right away. Includes recipes for ice creams, milkshakes, sorbets, ice cream cakes, sauces and more.

Ice Pops by Shelly Kaldunski
Whether you’re looking for a sweet surprise for a summer barbecue, an innovative cocktail party finale, or an afternoon snack for kids, ice pops are an easy treat for all to enjoy. Packed with luscious photographs and endless inspiration, this book shows how satisfying it is to make ice pops at home.

But what if popsicles and ice cream aren’t your thing? No problem. Get out of the city and head to the cool and shady forest! Doesn’t that water look so nice and refreshing? Better be careful though, because sometimes communing with nature means you learn things you were better off not knowing. Check out these titles and scare yourself chilly!

Before I Go by Marieke Nijkamp
When Corey moves away from Lost Creek, Alaska, she makes her friend Kyra promise to stay strong during the long, dark winter, and wait for her return. Just days before Corey is to return home to visit, Kyra dies. The entire Lost community speaks in hushed tones, saying her death was meant to be. And they push Corey away like she’s a stranger. With every hour, Corey’s suspicion grows. Lost is keeping secrets–but piecing together the truth about what happened to her best friend may prove as difficult as lighting the sky in an Alaskan winter.

Still Water by Amy Stuart
A mysterious disappearance at High River brings Clare to the stormy riverside town where people go to hide from their past. ally Proulx and her son had found refuge with Helen Haines, a matriarch with a tragic past who provides safety for women fleeing abuse. A week ago, they both went missing. Clare turns up and starts asking questions. Did Sally drown? Did her son? Was it an accident, or is their disappearance part of something bigger?


Campfire Ghost Stories by Jo-Anne Christensen
This entertaining collection of great campfire ghost stories, whether read alone or aloud, is sure to raise the hair on the back of your neck. Are you brave enough to read these out in the woods alone?

Let me know below which camp you fall into… do you prefer A/C and ice cream, or will you be scaring yourself chilly?

Happy reading!

– Megan (#TeamIceCream)

Eating Local

“To be interested in food but not in food production is clearly absurd.”      -Wendell Berry

Interest in where the food we eat comes from is growing. ‘Eat local’ and the 100-Mile Diet are phrases that are commonplace. The impact of what we eat and how it made its way to the end of our fork has become something more people are thinking about.  It is by no means a simple topic, but there are ways people are making changes – and there are both small and large steps that can be taken.  From growing your own little urban vegetable garden, joining a CSA (community shared agriculture), choosing a diet that treads  lightly on the earth,  or shopping at your local farmer’s market, these are just a few ways people are making a difference.

Journalist Michael Pollan has written numerous books and articles over the last 30 years, focusing on the ‘places where nature and culture intersect: on our plates, in our farms and gardens, and in our minds’.  His answer to the complicated question of what a human should eat to be healthy is summed up in these three simple rules: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants”.  He describes his perfect meal this way: “But imagine for a moment if we once again knew, strictly as a matter of course, these few unremarkable things: What it is we’re eating. Where it came from. How it found its way to our table. And what, in a true accounting, it really cost”

Ten years ago, Michael Pollan confronted us with this seemingly simple question and, with The Omnivore’s Dilemma, his brilliant and eye-opening exploration of our food choices, demonstrated that how we answer it today may determine not only our health but our survival as a species.  In The Pollan Family Table , Corky, Lori, Dana, and Tracy Pollan invite you into their warm, inspiring kitchens, sharing more than 100 of their family’s best recipes. For generations, the Pollans have used fresh, local ingredients to cook healthy, irresistible meals. Also check out Cooked, and Food Rules by the same author.


Beyond what we already know about “food miles” and eating locally, the global food system is a major contributor to climate change, producing as much as one-third of greenhouse gas emissions. How we farm, what we eat, and how our food gets to the table all have an impact. Diet for a Hot Planet answers the question of “why local’, and also gives practical suggestions on how individuals and communities can take action.



“Every farmers’ market is a sign of hope. Every CSA is a sign of hope. Every chef using local ingredients is a sign of hope…”  -Wendell Berry

Farmers’ Markets

Access to local food is becoming increasingly more accessible as farmers’ markets spring up around the city and throughout the province.  The ability to know where your food is from and who grew it, paired with the added benefits of eating food in season and at peak freshness, make farmers’ markets an invaluable resource.

But what to do with all that yummy food?  What do you do with garlic scapes or kohlrabi, or how do you make your own kale salad?  The library is brimming with cookbooks that answer these questions and give inspiration for your farmers’ market finds!  From Garden to Grill has over 250 vegetarian recipes for the grill that apparently will even make a passing grade with devoted carnivores (give it a try and let us know!)


The Prairie Fruit Cookbook: The Essential Guide for Picking, Preserving, and Preparing Fruit is a fantastic read by local author Getty Stewart.  It contains recipes, tips, storage ideas and more, for 11 prairie fruits.  In 2010, Getty founded Fruit Share – a local organization that harvests and shares surplus fruit



Today, the average item of food travels over a thousand miles before it lands on our tables. It is a remarkable technological accomplishment, but it has not proven to be healthy for our communities, our land or us. Through stories and simple whole foods recipes, the authors of Simply in Season explore how the food we put on our table impacts our local and global neighbors. They show the importance of eating local, seasonal food–and fairly traded food–and invite readers to make choices that offer security and health for our communities, for the land, for body and spirit.

With over 300 easy-to-prepare recipes featuring local produce such as apples, pumpkins, berries, tomatoes, garlic, honey, maple syrup, cheese and other dairy products, The Farmstead Favorites Cookbook is the ultimate source for the freshest recipes to pair with fresh food. Readers will learn how they can reap the benefits of locally-grown foods that provide healthy nutrients for their families, as well as a connection to the earth and local communities.


Farm Life

Ever wondered what its like for the farmers that grow our food?  Dreaming for years of living off the land, I have almost always had a Wendell Berry book on my bedside stack.  From Fidelity , a series of five short stories, to the novel, A Place on Earth, Berry exquisitely paints a picture of life in a farming community, and the relationship of individuals to one another and to the land.




“This book is the story of the two love affairs that interrupted the trajectory of my life: one with farming–that dirty, concupiscent art–and the other with a complicated and exasperating farmer.”

Single, thirtysomething, working as a writer in New York City, Kristin Kimball was living life as an adventure, but she was beginning to feel a sense of longing for a family and for home. When she interviewed a dynamic young farmer, her world changed. Kristin knew nothing about growing vegetables, let alone raising pigs and cattle and driving horses. But on an impulse, smitten, if not yet in love, she shed her city self and moved to five hundred acres near Lake Champlain to start a new farm with him. The Dirty Life is the captivating chronicle of their first year on Essex Farm, from the cold North Country winter through the following harvest season–complete with their wedding in the loft of the barn.


How to Climb Inside Somebody Else’s Head

I find the books that I love the most hard to categorize and sum up succinctly. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing because works of art shouldn’t neatly fit into boxes but this can make it difficult to describe or share with others when what we’ve read doesn’t follow a linear structure or a plot. The books that have resonated with me the most have a hybridity to them. They are about a variety of topics that seem to flow into one another but they also have a personal bent to them.  I have always wanted to climb inside somebody else’s head and see how they think and feel and personal essays offer the perfect opportunity to do just that.

I recently finished Alexander Chee’s How to Write an Autobiographical Novel. It’s a collection of essays that as a whole reads as a memoir. Chee picks out key moments from his life, beginning with his adolescence and coming to terms with his sexuality, the AIDS activism he did in the 80s and 90s, teaching writing and the writing process itself.  These snippets that Chee offers up are meaningful moments from his life, moments that have shaped him and turned him into the person, writer and teacher that he is.

One of Chee’s writing teachers who he mentions in the book is the inimitable Annie Dillard. I read her collection Abundance last year and was blown away. It’s kind of a ‘best of’ selection of essays that she has written over the years and gives you a really good sense of her as a writer. Dillard writes about nature with the right amount of reverence and awe; her essay on watching a total solar eclipse is spine tingling and haunting and it’s the first place I ran to after experiencing our partial solar eclipse last year. She has a knack for describing the indescribable and painting a picture of the otherworldly experience of natural phenomena. While a lot of her writing comes back to her experiences in nature, she also has some sage advice for the craft of writing and being a writer:

“One of the things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now. The impulse to save something good for a better place later is the signal to spend it now. Something more will arise for later, something better. These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water. Similarly, the impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.”-from the essay The Writing Life

Here are a few other literary hybrids that interweave personal stories and reflections on art and the natural world:

Olivia Laing’s The Lonely City is a beautiful book about depictions of loneliness in visual art but it’s also a personal story of the loneliness and loss Laing felt after the end of a relationship and living in a new city. The book blurs the lines between art history, memoir and travel and this combination of elements make for a rewarding read.

Rebecca Solnit writes on a wide range of subject matter (she coined the term “mansplaining” in one of her essays from Men Explain Things To Me) but her work that speaks to me the most deals with a sense of place where ideas, art and memories spring from such as The Faraway Nearby and A Field Guide to Getting Lost.

I recently started reading Birds Art Life by Kyo Maclear, where she started birdwatching as a way to deal with her father’s illness and her own writer’s block. The book is about birds but it’s also not about birds. It’s about finding a way back to ourselves through nature and paying attention to the little things in life.

– Jacquelien

Áfram Ísland!

The 2018 FIFA World Cup started last week in Russia. Thirty-two teams are competing for the title of best in the world – fans will cheer for the typical powerhouses (Germany, Brazil), mourn the absence of some of the usual participants (Italy, the Netherlands), and welcome teams we haven’t seen in a while (Egypt, Peru). There are also two newcomers to the World Cup this year: Panama and Iceland.

Panama’s entry to the World Cup is an amazing story that The Guardian’s Sid Lowe describes perfectly in his June 17, 2018 article ‘Like something handed down by God’ – how Panama reached the World Cup.

It’s no surprise that Iceland also made it to the World Cup, despite being the smallest country ever to qualify. I embraced my inner Viking and became an avid Iceland supporter after seeing them play in the Euro 2016 competition, a campaign best summed up by Amy Lawrence’s article A 2016 football moment to remember: Iceland light up Euro 2016, published in The Guardian on December 26, 2016. And not to downplay the Panamanian football team’s accomplishments, but I really want to talk about Iceland.

Random Iceland Football Facts:
Heimir Hallgrímsson, the team coach, is a dentist who still sees patients in between training camps. He’s known for meeting up with fans at a Reykjavik bar before home games to talk strategy.

Right back Birkir Saevarsson works at a salt-packing factory and plans to go to school after the World Cup.

Iceland’s football fan base, Tólfan (The Twelfth Man), is well known for their Viking skól clap. You can learn more about its origins over at the Reykjavík Grapevine. (I really recommend you follow Reykjavík Grapevine’s Twitter feed–@rvkgrapevine–for the most entertaining World Cup commentary for every single game.)

When he isn’t stopping shots for Danish football club Randers, goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson supports himself as a film director, responsible for this World Cup Coca-Cola commercial.  His diving save of a penalty kick by Lionel Messi in Saturday’s game allowed Iceland to preserve a 1-1 draw with Argentina. Twitter exploded with congratulatory tweets for the team; Icelandic crime writer Yrsa Sigurðardóttir‘s tweet was my favourite:

(I suspect know who’s name she’ll use for the murderer.)

If you’d like to know more about Iceland, or perhaps plan a future trip, Winnipeg Public Library’s got you covered. Or are you a foodie, who would like to practice making typical Icelandic dishes (perhaps for a World Cup Final between Iceland and whatever country)? We’ve got cookbooks for you, too. Of course, for your World Cup Final party, you’ll need music to help create the propor ambiance before and after the game, and during half-time. Pick up (or stream) music by Of Monsters and Men, Ólafur Arnalds, Kaleo, or Sigur Rós. Finally, if you’re into knitting, check out a book or two from our collection featuring Icelandic patterns. If you have people in your life who aren’t Iceland supporters, you can knit a sweater or blanket to comfort them after their team fails to advance due to the mighty Viking swarm. HÚH!

– Barbara Odilesdóttir

Yoga For All Circumstances

I believe that the benefits of yoga are widely known and published. There even is continued scientific research providing more and more evidence that yoga does us good and why. So Yogis don’t have to be all tongue-tied anymore when asked, “But where is the scientific proof to back up your claims?”

Yoga is excellent for

….all body shapes

Big Gal YogaWith her book Big Gal Yoga, Valerie Sagun opens the door for those who might feel awkward or even unwelcome in the world of yoga, which in our culture is usually not often associated with curvier figures. The author lovingly addresses concerns “big gals” might have and encourages the reader to love and care for the body they currently own. The pictures in this book are wonderful, not least because of the colourful outfits Valerie is sporting. This is a very encouraging book for anybody who wants to become friends with yoga, regardless of size.

….getting in shape

21 day yogaThe 21-Day Yoga Body by Sadie Nardini is a book for those who need a plan for better health and fitness. As the title indicates, it is a three week plan that incorporates a daily yoga practice, suggestions for healthy meals, affirmations and tips on how to achieve a more balanced and healthy lifestyle. The author offers a structure for each day, focusing on a yoga sequence, a nutritious breakfast, lunch and dinner and a “daily action adventure.” It is the ideal scenario for all those list and plan makers who just love to have everything neatly organized.

….for men

Yoga for menYoga Fitness for Men by Dean Pohlman is brand new in the Winnipeg Public Library collection. The book is packed with information and 55 poses, 25 workouts and 3 programs; 2 for 12 weeks and one for 16 weeks. The format is excellent. The images are superbly designed to guide the reader through each pose step-by-step. Modified versions are offered. This book is like a reference book for yoga poses. I would think it is a must-read, if not own, for anybody who is even remotely interested in yoga.


….all ages

yoga healthy agingIt is never to late to start a yoga practice. Getting further along in the life cycle might bring the need for adjustments and Yoga for Healthy Aging by Baxter Bell takes this into account. Flexibility, mobility, healthy muscles and bones, good balance to prevent falls as well as staying mentally fit – all of this becomes more important as we age.

This book offers a lot of information about different aspects, such as the principles of yoga, meditation and breathing techniques. The poses are very well explained and photographed and then put together in sequences. The focus is on safe practice and being in tune with your body. Therefore alternative poses are offered to give practitioners options that are meeting the individual needs more realistically. Scientific and medical experts were consulted to create this program, which is very reassuring. Overall this is a perfect guide for those starting out in practicing yoga as well as those who have been practicing for years and now find that some adjustments are needed. I would recommend this book to everybody, regardless of age, who wants to look into safe home practice of yoga.

….for the office

chair yogaYes, that’s right. Many of us sit too much and lately I read somewhere that “sitting is the new smoking”. This is where Chair Yoga by Kristin McGee comes in handy. It offers a full range of modified yoga movements you can do in a chair, from very basic to some challenging moves where you use the chair to help you balance as you progress to doing the pose without the chair. Of course you might want to pick and choose which poses work best for you and your office situation. Not all of us have the opportunity or the confidence to pull off a full yoga sequence in a tiny cubicle or under the watchful eye of colleagues or even the public (yikes!). The photos and explanations are all very clear, and the overall tone of the book is fun and encouraging. Please, try this at home as well. Just like all the others suggested in this post this book, too, is not strictly designated for a specific group of people. It could be very useful to the elderly, the infirm, beginners or those who are just curious about doing yoga in or with a chair. Give it a look.

….for flexibility

I can not finish this post without mentioning Yin Yoga by Kassandra Reinhardt. If you love Yin Yoga, as I do, you will love this book. But even if you have never heard of Yin Yoga this book is worth a look. It is published by DK, so unsurprisingly the visuals are out of this world. The poses are beautifully photographed and expertly explained by Kassandra. At the back of the book you’ll find sequences suggested for specific areas of your body (and mind) that need some work. Then you are given a sequence of poses across a two-page spread. No cobbling different poses together on your own for a sequence. When you turn the page you find the pose on another two-page spread and follow those for a couple of minutes. It is so easy to follow. I find that just looking at the beautiful photographs makes me want to start practicing right away. And everybody is invited. There are sequences for beginners, intermediate and advanced practitioners with alternative poses for specific needs. The best thing, though, is that it is not overwhelming at all just very attractive.

I hope that you feel encouraged to check out one or the other (or even all) of these books and maybe even a few more from the expansive section on yoga at the Winnipeg Public Library. Sometimes we just need to remember what our body does for us every single day. Usually we take it for granted until something does not work as it used to. Then we pay attention. We deserve better. Yoga is such a wonderful aid in getting in tune with body, mind and spirit. It is an opportunity that should not be passed up. May you experience balance in your life, always.

~ Elke

Sail away on an adventure!

I love summer as much as the next person, yet there is always that day when going outside simply isn’t feasible. Yet when I really need to get out of the house, I suddenly look for the best indoor options available. One such option is hitting up local museums. It’s a great way to see something amazing (and get some cardio in), without having to deal with our unpredictable weather. One of my favorite places is the Manitoba Museum. It has a great layout and covers a large swath of history. Yet, like anything else, the museum is constantly revamping both its exhibits and its history as new interpretations about the past appear.

One such change is the recently reopened Nonsuch gallery on June 8th. It was 350 years ago this year that this great ship (known as a ketch because the mizzenmast is smaller than the foremast,) travelled across the Atlantic to Hudson’s Bay to participate in the Fur Trade and begin laying the groundwork for what would be the Hudson’s Bay Company a year later. Anyone who has ever visited the museum would know that the Nonsuch on display is a replica of the original ketch. Yet there is almost as much history behind the replica as there was for the original vessel. The Hudson’s Bay Company wanted to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the voyage with the construction of the replica.

After ten months of labour, on August 26, 1968, the Nonsuch set sail from Devon with a few modern aids (such as an engine and working toilets). She would spend the next six years successfully travelling 14,000 km of ocean around Europe and North American until her final voyage where she would land at the Manitoba Museum (Nov. 19, 1973, CBC). (Incidentally, once the Nonsuch arrived at the museum, the gallery had to be built around her because of her great size. This renovation would also include the addition of the sub-arctic gallery, woodland gallery and the forest gallery that opened in 1975.)

Since 1973, the Nonsuch display has been about her voyage from England to Canada. Now the exhibit will switch to her journey from Canada back to England in 1669 and contain her new cargo of trade goods and stories from the crew about their amazing voyage. It’s definitely something to check out during those hot and humid summer days. But, for those who prefer a more literary exploration, by all means check out these books on the Nonsuch and other fantastic museums.

NonsuchThe Nonsuch By Laird Rankin, gives an in-depth view on the history of the Nonsuch, her construction, launch and journey to Hudson’s Bay in 1668. What I find most fascinating though, is the fact that Rankin was more than just a historian, but also the man responsible for bringing the Nonsuch to Winnipeg in the first place. He worked for HBC in the late 1960s and was part of the 300th year celebrations. When she “docked”, he would later be responsible for the tours aboard her. Rankin would later revise his book and republish it as Return of the Nonsuch in 2004. The reprint includes more photographs then the original edition.

Empire of the BayEmpire of the Bay: An Illustrated History of the Hudson’s Bay Company by Peter C. Newman is one of many books written on the subject of the Hudson’s Bay Company. While Newman does relate the history of the company by presenting an entertaining read through the use of facts and narrative, he goes further by exploring how the history of Western Canada is intertwined with the expansion of Hudson’s Bay. A fantastic read that is more like an adventure novel then a history book.


Sail and SteamFor those of you more interested in maritime history, I would recommend Sail & Steam: A Century of Maritime Enterprise, 1840-1935: photographs from the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich by John Falconer. Filled with photo reproductions from the National Maritime Museum, Falconer utilizes the photos as a basis for historical essays that bring to life 19th century Britain’s trade, naval supremacy, fisheries and daily life. There is also A Maritime Album: 100 Photographs and their Stories if you wish to see more photographs on the subject or The Habit of Victory: the story of the Royal Navy 1545 to 1945, Naval War of 1812 and Nelson, An Illustrated History if a deep delving into naval history catches your fancy.

After charting the waters through artifacts, prehistory and dioramas (where we are one of six museums who still have dioramas), you might want to take a look at the Canadian Human Rights Museum for a more interactive perspective of history. Or at the very least take a look at a few books below on the subject. Happy reading and exploration!

– Katherine


Inch by inch. Row by row. Gonna make this garden grow.


MUD. I’ve been playing in that stuff since I was a kid. Each year, during May long weekend (or shortly thereafter) the doors were wide open to have fun with mud! Out came the shovels, the garden beds were dug up, and on hands and knees my Mom would carve small paths in the newly broken soil. She’d pour small piles of seeds from seed packages into the palm of my hand. My job was to sprinkle them in the paths she’d created, giving space between each seed, and gently cover them with a blanket of mud. Then came the water.

In those early years I remember my young self worrying that the huge waterfall coming out of the garden hose would destroy those precious seeds, but within a week or so I saw little green shoots pop up from the ground. Seeing this I learned that seeds were incredibly strong and also that they were different from each other. I was in awe of the new shapes that formed in front of me. Some of the plants had wispy, soft leaves and others had prickly leaves. Some of their stalks stood tall and others swirled and wound their way around things. Several decades later, I’m still in awe.

Gardening can be a little intimidating. After you understand that the water from the garden hose isn’t going to kill the seeds (comes with age apparently), then you wonder: What’s a gardening zone? What type of soil do I have? How much sun is needed when a plant label says “part shade”? I won’t deny that these are important things to know, but I’ve never let my lack of knowledge get in the way. What I witnessed with my Mom was simple, tried, and true, and it’s what stuck with me: put a seed in mud, water it regularly, make sure it gets sun, and enjoy watching it grow. With that basic knowledge, you can garden with one container full of mud and one seed or you can dig up an entire lawn and create a food and flower paradise. Anything goes.

Whether you’re new to gardening or have been playing in the mud for years, here are some things to check out from us:

Gardening eMagazines

Manitoba Gardener 2

Eye candy. Tons of tips and visual inspiration are available in the gardening eMagazines that we offer through RBdigital and PressReader. If you have a mobile device and haven’t yet set it up to access these free goodies, check out our eMedia Guide for how to get set up or sign up for a 1-on-1 eMedia session and we’ll help you get set up. You don’t want to to miss out on this stuff!


Gardening Books

WE HAVE SO MANY GREAT GARDENING RESOURCES!!! I can’t even curb my excitement. Here are some that I’ve recently borrowed:

100 Plants that won’t die in your Garden by Geoff Tibballs

When new to gardening, sometimes the goal is to build confidence! With that in mind, this book will help you do that. Tibballs describes many perennials, shrubs, vines and more that you most likely won’t be able to kill. Yay!



The Urban Wildlife Gardener by Emma Hardy

I love the thought of having more birds, butterflies, and bees in our yard, so we plant things that’ll attract them. This book shares a variety of ways to attract them through plants, birdbaths, and bee houses. It lists plant varieties too – very useful!



One Magic Square Vegetable Gardening by Lolo Houbein

This book gives all the tips and tricks to creating and maintaining a small garden plot. What’s really neat about it is that it includes ideas for theme plots. Enjoy making stir-fries? Grow a Stir-Fry plot. Love pasta and pizza? Grow the Pasta/Pizza plot. Want to make hearty soups in the fall? Grow a Soup Plot and Essential Herb Plot. So many plots, so little time!


Pot it, Grow it, Eat it by Kathryn Hawkins

From aubergines to zucchinis, you might be amazed at how many vegetables and fruits can be grown in a pot. If you’re looking for easy, grow your veggies in a pot. Hawkins shares how to do it, including how to harvest, store and freeze what you grow.


No Dig Organic Home and Garden by Charles Dowding and Stephanie Hafferty

Who loves the back-breaking work of digging or has a back that can actually handle the back-breaking work of digging? Well if you do, I’m jealous and you’re lucky. We have a combination of in-ground and raised garden beds in our yard and the raised ones are very kind to me. This book gives the basics about raised beds, composting, and includes an important section on seed saving. You really get the full circle experience if you save seeds from the plants that you’ve grown and it’s surprisingly easy to do. Plus, you can save a lot of money!


Get Social (if you want)

Gardeners love to share: tips and tricks, seedlings, seeds, and in-progress pictures of their gardens of plenty. Gardening doesn’t need to be a solitary effort, although if you’re craving some “me” time it’s so awesome for that. If you want to get social there are some great Winnipeg groups to tap into on Facebook: Winnipeg Gardeners, Winnipeg Garden Trading, and Winnipeg Urban Container Gardening. The people on these groups are friendly and helpful. Check them out. Plus, keep an eye out for gardening programs in the At the Library Guide. As an example, we have a couple coming up on tree care on June 18th and June 21st.

And with that, I’ll end this off with how I started it: “Inch by inch. Row by row. Gonna make this garden grow.” A beautiful line from Garden Song, written by Dave Mallett, and sung by many, including Pete Seeger and one of my favourites, John Denver. (I admit to serenading my family as a child with one particular John Denver song.) Here’s John Denver singing it with The Muppets as his back-up singers. The Muppets. Come on. So cute.



May your garden bring you much happiness and mud under your fingernails.

~ Reegan (A kid from the 70s who still loves to play in the mud. Love you, Mom.)

Sun Dogs and Northern Lights





The Manitoba Young Readers Choice Award has been around for over twenty five years now. I find that hard to believe sometimes, but the stack of book lists on my desk from previous years is irrefutable evidence, as is the fact that I now need bifocals to read the descriptions. These book lists provide a handy go-to reference for some amazing books for children by Canadian authors, as well as offering Manitoba students in grades 5 – 8 the chance to vote for their favorite title. But…pause here for dramatic effect….drumroll….this year has brought a change to MYRCA!

Instead of one award and one book list, there are now two awards and two book lists. The change in the awards means that the voting is now open to Manitoba students in grades 4 – 9. Any student is welcome to read any book from either list, but the titles on the Sun Dogs list are recommended for students in grades 4 – 6, and the titles on the Northern Lights list are recommended for students in grades 7 – 9. The awards were named by the students themselves, in a vote that took place earlier this year. The book lists are available now, so everyone can start reading right away.

If you’re looking for suggestions for your next great read, look no further. The descriptions below are but a small sample of the remarkable titles that await you, all of which are available through your local WPL branch or on Overdrive.


2019 Sun Dogs Nominees                                                              (recommended for grades 4+)



Brave by Svetlana Chmakova

Jensen finds school challenging. Things like finding a partner for a class project, math and dealing with friends are scary. In his dreams, he has no problem being brave, but real life is harder. Then Jensen is invited to join the school newspaper, and he discovers surprising things about himself.




Laura Monster Crusher by Wesley King

The summer before eighth grade, Laura Ledwick and her family move to a new town, away from her problems. Shortly after the move, Laura is chosen as the world’s newest Monster Crusher. Now, on top of all her other worries, Laura has the fate of the world in her hands.





The Explorers: The Door in the Alley by Adrienne Kress

What would you do if you saw a pig in a teeny hat run into the street? Twelve year old Sebastian faces just this dilemma after a lifetime of efficiency and caution. He changes his attitude after discovering a door bearing the name “The Explorers Society”. After rescuing the pig and meeting its owner, he is quickly drawn into the mysterious society and adventure and chaos ensues.



2019 Northern Lights Nominees  (recommended for grades 7+)

Those Who Run in the Sky by Aviaq Johnston

Pitu, a young Inuit boy, is out hunting when a storm hits. He loses his dogs and his gear and cannot find his way back to his village. Soon, Pitu realizes he’s been transported to the spirit world where he encounters dangerous red eyed wolves, hungry water spirits, a zoo-keeping giant, and a grumpy old shaman who just may be the key to helping Pitu return to his own world.



The Way Back Home by Allan Stratton

Life is hard when you’re a teenager. The only person who really gets Zoe is her Granny. Because of Granny’s dementia, Zoe’s parents decide that a care home is the best place for her. Defiant, Zoe sneaks Granny out and they head off to Toronto to find Zoe’s long-lost uncle. Unfortunately, nothing goes as planned.



Run by David Skuy

Eighth grader Lionel is overweight, anxious, and bullied. After spending years of trying to disappear into the woodwork and resenting his mother and her “do-nothing” boyfriend Lionel makes slow changes to improve his life. He starts by running a short bit every day, until he finds that he can improve himself and achieves what he least expected.


As I said earlier, this is just a small sample of the many choices that await you. No matter what you’re looking for, you’re sure to find a winner, or more likely, more than one on the MYRCA 2019 book lists. The hardest part will be deciding which one to read first!