Category Archives: Miscellaneous

How to Love Yourself Deeply

The other day, I was having lunch with my two sisters, sans kids.

Ah yes.  The perfect opportunity.

The perfect opportunity to talk about anything other than our children!  And yet somehow, the conversation kept circling back to the kids, and summer vacation.

What camps would they be attending?  What lessons would they be taking?  And how could they possibly rule the playground, come fall, with epic stories of adventure and excitement?

Despite my disappointment at the thwarted opportunity, the conversation did get me thinking.

What if we as adults poured as much energy and effort into our own pursuits, as we do our children’s?  What if we continually sought out new skills to develop, new challenges to overcome, and new passions to discover?

And why do we ever stop doing that in the first place?

My guess is, we all reach a point of feeling like we’ve discovered who we are, and we simply stop trying new things.  We decide that we’re not musically inclined, we hate cooking, and tennis is a ridiculous sport (despite the adorable tennis skirt you bought for the occasion).

Throw in the stress and busyness of having kids of our own, along with the social pressure to create the next child prodigy pianist, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for self-neglect.

If you’re looking to love yourself deeply, and re-energize your life with new challenges, check out these incredible books for inspiration:

The happiness project : or, why I spent a year trying to sing in the morning, clean my closets, fight right, read Aristotle, and generally have more fun
by Gretchen Rubin
What if you could change your life without really changing your life? On the outside, Gretchen Rubin had it all — a good marriage, healthy children and a successful career — but she knew something was missing. Determined to end that nagging feeling, she set out on a year-long quest to learn how to better enjoy the life she already had.

by Marcus Aubrey

The founder and CEO of Onnit, the mega lifestyle brand and one of the fastest growing companies in the country, teaches us how one single day of positive choices leads to a lifetime of concrete strategies for better living, optimal performance, and a stronger mind, body, and spirit.  Human optimization thought leader Aubrey Marcus’s personal and professional mission rests on a single question: How can we get the most out of our body and mind on a daily basis?

Researcher and thought leader Dr. Brené Brown offers a powerful new vision that encourages us to dare greatly: to embrace vulnerability and imperfection, to live wholeheartedly, and to courageously engage in our lives.

by Mel Robbins
Throughout your life, you’ve had parents, coaches, teachers, friends and mentors who have pushed you to be better than your excuses and bigger than your fears. What if the secret to having the confidence and courage to enrich your life and work is simply knowing how to push yourself?  Using the science of habits, riveting stories and surprising facts from some of the most famous moments in history, art and business, Mel Robbins will explain the power of a “push moment.” Then, she’ll give you one simple tool you can use to become your greatest self.
by Simon Sinek
Sinek starts with a fundamental question: Why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others? Why do some command greater loyalty from customers and employees alike? Even among the successful, why are so few able to repeat their success over and over?  People like Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, and the Wright Brothers had little in common, but they all started with WHY. They realized that people won’t truly buy into a product, service, movement, or idea until they understand the WHY behind it.

~ Lindsay

Dropping the gloves, library style

You can’t go more than a few metres in the city these days without seeing a Jets jersey or Winnipeg Whiteout t-shirt. I like to spend my morning bus rides counting the number of times I see the Jets logo on my fellow commuters clothing/accessories (the highest count so far is 47; that was on the 35 Express Thursday morning.) Winnipeg has definitely caught playoff fever. Not surprisingly, your friendly librarians  (shout out to Monique, Aileen, Simon & Danielle!) have gotten in on the act, battling it out and supporting the home team, library style.

Taking inspiration from the Toronto and Kansas City public libraries’ twitter battle during that year’s baseball playoffs, some of our librarians dropped the gloves and started up some book-loving, trash-talking twitter battles with other public library systems. Using book-spine poetry (arranging a stack of books that when read together, form a not-so-subtle dig at the opposing library’s hockey tem), WPL librarians took on two opponents in Round 1 – Hennepin and St. Paul county libraries – while the Jets were facing the Minnesota Wild.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Round 2, they stepped it up a notch, and faced down Nashville Public Library.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And now the Jets are in the Western Conference final, and our creative librarians are chirping at Las Vegas-Clark County District Library (and tightening their ironic hair buns).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Through it all, we’ve seen great engagement and support from our existing and new followers, with other Winnipeg and Manitoba libraries sending us their own book-spine poetry photos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s hope we get to continue our war of words with either the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library or the DC Public Library. #GoJetsGo!

– Barbara

Walk this Way

Before the last of the snow and ice melted from our sidewalks, my brother was in town for a short visit. We went out for dinner, then back to my apartment. I took off my shoes and plopped down on the couch, expecting him to do that same, but instead of sitting, he began to walk laps around my apartment. Turns out, he’s been trying to walk that magical 10,000 steps every day, and he hadn’t been able to hit his step count for the day yet.

This got me thinking about why we walk. Walking is a long-venerated tradition, especially amongst those with a creative bent. William Wordsworth, Henry David Thoreau, Beethoven, Steve Jobs, many of Jane Austen’s characters… it seems as though walking not only gets the heart pumping, but also the creative juices flowing!

Some people walk for their health (physical and mental!), and others love walking as a cost-effective and eco-friendly form of locomotion. Whatever your reason for walking might be (destroying the One Ring, maybe?) Winnipeg Public Library has many books to get you moving and inspire your own epic journey this summer!

walking Walking by Henry David Thoreau

A meandering ode to the simple act and accomplished art of taking a walk. Profound and humorous, companionable and curmudgeonly, Walking, by America’s first nature writer, is your personal and portable guide to the activity that, like no other, awakens the senses and the soul to the “absolute freedom and wildness” of nature.

 

Walking: A Complete Guide to Walking for Fitness, Health and Weight Loss by John Stanton

As the founder and president of Walking/Running Room, North America’s largest chain of special stores for walkers and runners, John Stanton has inspired people across the nation to develop healthier lifestyles one step at a time. In this book, you’ll learn how to set realistic goals, design your own training program, find the level of walking that’s right for you, choose the best shoes and walking wear for your needs, prevent and treat common injuries, and enhance your walking with optimum nutrition!

philosophy A Philosophy of Walking by Frédéric Gros

Frédéric Gros charts the many different ways we get from A to B — the pilgrimage, the promenade, the protest march, the nature ramble — and reveals what they say about us. Gros draws attention to other thinkers who also saw walking as something central to their practice. On his travels he ponders Thoreau’s eager seclusion in Walden Woods; the reason Rimbaud walked in a fury, while Nerval rambled to cure his melancholy. He shows us how Rousseau walked in order to think, while Nietzsche wandered the mountainside to write. In contrast, Kant marched through his hometown every day, exactly at the same hour, to escape the compulsion of thought. Brilliant and erudite, A Philosophy of Walking is an entertaining and insightful manifesto for putting one foot in front of the other.

howtowalk How to Walk by Thich Nhat Hanh

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh introduces beginners and reminds seasoned practitioners of the essentials of mindfulness practice. Slow, concentrated walking while focusing on in- and out-breaths allows for a unique opportunity to be in the present. There is no need to arrive somewhere—each step is the arrival to concentration, joy, insight, and the momentary enlightenment of aliveness. When your foot touches the Earth with awareness, you make yourself alive and the Earth real, and you forget for one minute the searching, rushing, and longing that rob our daily lives of awareness and cause us to “sleepwalk” through life.

The Man Who Learned to Walk Three Times: A Memoir by Peter Kavanagh

Throughout his life, as he developed a very successful career in public broadcasting, built a family, and indulged in his love of music and travel, Kavanagh underwent various surgeries and rehabilitation to give him “normal” mobility after being diagnosed with paralytic polio as an infant. The Man Who Learned to Walk Three Times is a moving memoir of a full life, and of learning the same lesson over and over.

And here’s a walking pro-tip from one walker to another: downloaded audiobooks from Overdrive are a fabulous way to get through your summer reads list while getting that step count up! Grab your headphones, slip on the sneakers, and enjoy that sunshine! Just don’t forget the sunscreen.

Happy reading,

Megan

Gut Check

Did you grow up with the story that the appendix doesn’t matter and we have no idea what it does? Spoiler: we do know and it is rather useful. There are certain things I used to think – or not think — about the gut. Firstly, and probably most telling of all, is that I didn’t even realize that the colon is actually just another name for your large intestine. This was my starting point on gut-related knowledge when in early January I launched myself headfirst into The Psychobiotic Revolution by Scott C. Anderson. Now, at the beginning of May, I could regale you with torrid tales of just exactly how your food makes its way from teeth to tush. While that, I’m sure, would make for a scintillating blog post all on its own, instead I will share with you the book titles that got me started on my adventures in treating my chronic anxiety and depression with the cheapest, readily available medicine: real, good food.

psychobiotic The Psychobiotic Revolution: mood, food, and the new science of the gut-brain connection by Scott C. Anderson

The title of this book won me over right away. The concept of your gut acting as a second brain? Sign me up! Anderson, a science journalist, is joined in this book by two medical researchers who are actively studying the brain-gut connection and all those tiny little microbes that live within your belly. Written for the lay person, this is an immensely readable, often humourous, introduction to this new branch of science exploring the relationship between our diet and chronic conditions like mood disorders, autism, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and more. The sheer number of microbes (AKA bacteria AKA your fellow travelers on this crazy roller coaster we call life) that reside within our guts is staggering: they outnumber our own cells by more than 10 to 1! Anderson also includes reviews of probiotic products and explores the foods that best feed the beneficial bacteria calling you home, ensuring they camp out in your belly for as long as possible and crowd out potential pathogens by lighting up tiny little NO VACANCY signs.

If you liked this title you can also try Brain Maker: the power of gut microbes to heal and protect your brain – for life by David Perlmutter, MD and The Mind-Gut Connection by Emeran Mayer, MD.

 

gut Gut: the inside story of our body’s most underrated organ by Giulia Enders

I figured I was the only person ever to be interested in reading about the minutiae of how food is passed through your body but apparently not! While science journalist Mary Roach’s Gulp dates back to 2013 and provides some excellent coverage of digestion, Enders’ Gut (2015) was recently republished for 2018 and includes updated information on the science behind your second brain (your gut) and its delightfully complex microbiome. Also delightful? The strangely adorable illustrations that accompany some decidedly less-adorable subject matter. Plus, this is one title that will finally answer the question you asked your biology teacher back in middle school: what’s the deal with the appendix?

 

happiness The Happiness Diet : good mood food by Rachel Kelly

Now armed with the knowledge that our gut produces around 90% of a person’s serotonin (a feel-good chemical that is often the focal point in medication used to treat depression), it is not so surprising that what we eat (and how it is used by our bodies) has a noticeable effect on our moods. This book is part cookbook, part nutritional guide providing a handy chart of foods based on their impact on your mental well-being and overall health. The chapters are divided into therapeutic themes like Steady Energy and Beating the Blues. With lots of accessible science behind the recipes this is a great title to provide a less clinical introduction to nutritional therapy.

For more recipes, try Eat Your Way to a Healthy Gut by Dale Pinnock. With its matter of fact approach it calls for ingredients you may actually have on hand and the recipes don’t require you to juggle seventeen prep stations at once. Having a hard time saying “goodbye” to sugar? Try the Date, Almond and Chia Balls.

 

nosugar Year of No Sugar by Eve Schaub

After the realization that sugar was likely a big contributing factor to my own chronic conditions it was encouraging to find tales of other people trying to drop the sweet stuff from their diets. In Year of No Sugar Eve Schaub not only stops eating sugar but she somehow convinces her husband and two school-aged daughters to go along with the challenge as well. Schaub’s exploration into the world of no-sugar brings up some very familiar territory for me regarding the limitations of using bananas and dates to sweeten everything and just how far one is willing to go to find sweetness in a refined-sugar-less existence.

 

food Food: what the heck should I eat by Mark Hyman, MD

This last title is the one currently on my side table: Food: what the heck should I eat? by Mark Hyman, MD. If you’re as confused as I was about all the incongruous studies being published about food – okay, are eggs good or bad? Does all meat really raise your risk of cancer? Wait, drinking cow’s milk causes osteoporosis?! – this book takes a hard look at the scientific food studies past and present and sifts out the accuracies from the inaccuracies. Slightly irreverent, Hyman calls his preferred diet “pegan” — a cross between two contradictory diets (vegan and paleo) – and it focuses on whole, anti-inflammatory foods that don’t mess around with your blood sugar. Having this title on hand to get a level-headed look at what you’re about to put into your body is immensely helpful.

All this newly acquired knowledge of microbiomes (food cravings are actually those billions of little beasts living in your gut whispering to your brain about what they’d like to eat), the processes of digestion, how this all affects your mood, and just how to go about getting those systems firing on all cylinders can seem overwhelming. Changes to your daily routine are hard to make and it helps to go a bit at a time rather than dive in headfirst. Read one book, maybe two and see where they might lead you. Have you made any changes to your diet lately? Let me know what you’ve been reading — or eating!

-Laura

The Classics, Renewed

Do you re-read books, or do you prefer to find new ways to enjoy your favourite stories?

There was one family vacation where I read the third Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, 8 times within one week.  I had only brought two books, which was my first mistake, and the other was a murder mystery, disqualified because I had already figured out whodunit, which was my second. By the end of the week, I was quoting passages from specific pages that I had memorized, and I had grown thoroughly sick of the book! But when J.K. Rowling released the next volume in the series, I read it right away – and have with every book she’s released about Harry and his friends since, including The Cursed Child. 21 years after Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was first published, we still want to revisit those characters and that setting. Luckily, the books are still popular enough to warrant Rowling producing more content within the Harry Potter universe – but what do you do about other books that you’ve loved, with authors who are long gone?

With some, you can watch the movie and film adaptations: Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice was first adapted for the screen in 1938 as a television movie, then in 1940 as a film, as a TV miniseries in 1952, 1958, 1967, 1980, and 1995, and then again in 2005 as the film starring Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet. This isn’t even counting the productions inspired by the plot and characters – Bride and Prejudice, the 2004 Bollywood musical version (which is very fun), the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, or Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. If Pride and Prejudice is your favourite, you have a plethora of ways that you can revisit the story. But enough: this is not a blog titled Adaptations of Pride and Prejudice, an Incomplete List.

texts My current favourite way to return to a story I have loved is through Daniel Mallory Ortberg’s Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters. In it, Ortberg transforms each of the chosen classic (or contemporary!) tales, ranging from the Greek myths and Beowulf to The Hunger Games and Harry Potter, into a text message dialogue between two characters, and they are hilariously done. Check out this excerpt from the conversation between Odysseus and Circe as an example:

circe1

circe2

circe3

(Ortberg 14-16)

If you like comics and quick summations of stories, Henrik Lange’s 90 Classic Books for People in a Hurry might be just up your alley! Alternatively, maybe you want to take a bit more time with a book you’ve loved before: consider a graphic novel adaptation! Our collection has options ranging from Artemis Fowl to Shakespeare’s The Tempest. There’s something to suit everyone – including Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

Happy reading!

 

It’s Time to Read: The Ocean at the End of the Lane

It’s the first Friday in May, which means it’s release day for the latest Time To Read book club podcast! We’ve been reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, and we’re excited to talk about it.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is about a man who comes home for a funeral. He’s drawn to visit a farm house where, as a boy, he met a remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He starts remembering events from 40 years before that started with a tragic suicide and built into a strange, frightening, and dangerous adventure, something bigger than any person, let alone a child, should have to deal with.

It’s not a long book, and I found it an easy book to read – I was drawn in early and it really kept my interest. There’s a lot here to reflect on, once the danger has passed.

As the audio producer of the podcast, I’m the first listener for every episode, and I end up listening to it several times through the editing and producing process. I enjoy the insights that our hosts bring to the story, but my favourite parts of these discussions are the little tangents they end up going on, and the questions they raise. Even if you haven’t read the book, it can be a fun listen. This episode, we’ll hear the answers to a number of questions: do any of our librarians have tattoos relevant to this book? Is Young Adult fiction really a thing? Who actually wrote “You are my sunshine”? And what about our Bob, and their Bob?

As always, we look forward to hearing what you think about the book, and about the show. Visit our site to download the latest episode,  leave comments on our discussion page, and email us at wpl-podcast@winnipeg.ca with any thoughts you might have on the program.

For May, we’re reading Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, so grab your copy now. We’ll have that episode available on the first Friday of June!

  • Dennis and the rest of the Time to Read crew

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?

-Lori

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?
Louis-Philippe

3rd Annual Prairie Comics Festival

Prairie-Comics-Festival-by-Alice-RL

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.

 

-Aileen