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!

-Lori

 

 

It’s Time to Read: Eleanor and Park

Or why a rose garden by any other name is not a rose garden

Welcome, dear readers! If you couldn’t tell by the title, this blogpost his here to let you know that the latest episode of Time to Read podcast is now available for download!

This month we discussed Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. And since it’s my job to provide a hook, I thought we could talk about titles. The title of a book is one of the first things that grabs our attention, after, of course, the cover–but we all know we shouldn’t judge books by their cover.

Before I even knew what Eleanor & Park was about I had put it on my ‘to-read’ list. For me, the title has a lot going for it. The beautiful three syllables of El●ean●nor juxtaposed with the simple single syllable of Park. Not to mention that it invokes a longstanding tradition in titling romantic tragedies such as Tristan & Isolde or Romeo & Juliet. But, in recording the podcast I discovered that what is a symphony to some (me) is a cacophony to others (one of my fellow podcast hosts). But you’ll have to listen to the episode to get the other side of that debate.

I will, however, give you a sneak peek from the read-a-like section of the podcast we lovingly call “Can you tell me a book you would also like?” Normally, I wouldn’t reveal the title in order to entice you to listen to the podcast, but I think this book is so criminally underrated that I want as many people as possible to read it AND it has a the most hauntingly intriguing book title: I Never Promised You A Rose Garden.

Personally, I think the title alone should be enough for anyone to pick it up. Why would anyone think they were promised a rose garden? And what is meant by ‘rose garden’? But for those of you need a bit more: I Never Promised You a Rose Garden was originally published in 1964 and is a semi-autobiographical novel about a woman working with her psychiatrist to overcome mental illness. And while society still has a long way to go in overcoming the stigma of mental illness, this book does help to illustrate how far we’ve come since the 1960’s.

Of course, I can’t end this without encouraging everyone to read the next selection for the Time to Read Podcast Bookclub. In June we will be reading Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel. Without giving too much away, it is an expertly crafted memoir about Bechdel’s childhood relationship with her father, a closeted gay man. So please, check it out and let us know what you think. We can be reached at wpl-podcast@winnipeg.ca or find our discussion boards on our website at wpl-podcast.winnipeg.ca.

~Alan and the rest of the Time to Read crew

“Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…”

This film was released the summer of 1975 and helped coin the term, “summer blockbuster.” After seeing the film people were afraid to go swimming, and they couldn’t get enough of it. What film am I referring to? Well I’m sure if I played you the titular score that won John Williams an Oscar you would know.

The film is Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, which was based on the novel by Peter Benchley. I’m certain many of you have seen the film, whether it was when it first came out in theatres (I was not yet born, however I did ask my father his thoughts on the movie when it first came out and he said he jumped many times in the theatre), or on Blu-Ray/DVD/Streaming or however you watch your movies. I remember the first time I saw the film; it was our last day at the cottage. I really was too young to have watched it, because when we went for our last swing, I was terrified that a shark would come up from the murky depths and eat me. (Never mind the fact that we were at a lake that could not possibly hold sharks.) Since then in the back of my overactive mind I always thought, “What if?” Of course someone decided to make a movie of sharks surviving in freshwater lakes so clearly I wasn’t the only one with that fear. I am proud to say that I have since swam with sharks a few times (they were small sharks of course and didn’t really come near me), and I am well aware that being bitten by a shark is extremely unlikely as they would much rather not be around humans. However, I still get excited hearing about monster movies and shark movies coming out, and this summer we have two big ones, both of which I am excited to see.

The first is The Meg which looks incredibly cool, hilarious, and full of jump scares. The film asks the question, “Could the Carcharodon megalodon – the largest marine predator that ever existed – still be alive…and on the hunt?” (IMDB) Does a giant 70-foot prehistoric shark attacking boats sound like your cup of tea? Check out the trailer if you’re not certain, they make excellent use of the classic song Beyond the Sea.

The second big “monster” movie coming out is Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the sequel to Jurassic World and part of the Jurassic Park series, which was based on the books by the late Michael Crichton. This film looks like a fun romp at the movies, with some new dinosaurs, more evil scientists and Jeff Goldblum back to reprise his role as mathematician Ian Malcolm who still believes that “life finds a way”.

In honour of these summer monster blockbusters coming out I thought I would include a few shark/monster books that will whet your appetite and give you something you can really sink your teeth into, if you get my drift.

jaws Jaws by Peter Benchley

Benchley’s first book ever to be published turned out to be a huge hit, and had a young Steven Spielberg behind the camera directing the movie. Sink your teeth into the novel the film was based on, and experience the suspense and horror in a whole new format. A perfect beach read, and perfect for those visiting Amity Island. We also have the film Jaws in our collection to borrow should you like to revisit this scary movie or experience it for the first time.

 

jurassic park Jurassic Park and The Lost World Michael Crichton

A wealthy businessman wants to create the most amazing theme-park filled with dinosaurs cloned by scientists, and tests this theme-park out on his grandchildren and paleontologist Alan Grant. Giant dinosaurs created in a lab around humans, what could go wrong? The sequel to Jurassic Park, The Lost World, continues where the first book left off six years later with more dinosaurs and everyone’s favourite mathematician. These books are both exciting, filled with suspense and asks ethical questions, some of which have come up recently with talk of de-extinction, a topic which Britt Wray explores thoroughly in her novel Rise of the Necrofauna: A Provocative Look at the Science, Ethics, and Risks of De-extinction.

cujo Cujo Stephen King

What happens when a good-natured St. Bernard becomes infected by the rabies virus? Naturally, he becomes a menace to a small town in Maine. This suspenseful novel explores the relationship one has with man’s best friend and the heartache one experiences (and terror) if that relationship changes. Leave it to Stephen King to take a sweet, loving animal and change him into a terror.

 

hatching The Hatching series Ezekiel Boone

I know I’ve written about this series before, but I just finished the last book in the trilogy, and am just getting over my spider nightmares. These books may not be for the arachnophobes out there, but they are still an exciting read. A plague of man-eating spiders descend on the world attacking, and eating those in the way, but this is just the first wave, there are more to come and it is up to spider expert Melanie Guyer and others we meet along the way to stop them before the whole world is destroyed. These books are excellent, short and quick reads that play like an action movie, which make them perfect summer monster reads.

river River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey

This book is a bit of an odd duck, it is a novella nominated for the 2017 Nebula Award, set in an alternate history of the United States during the 1890s. In this alternate history feral hippos have roamed unchecked in the Mississippi River. They were originally brought over by the government to eat the invasive water hyacinth and would then become food to the humans, however now they have become wild and it is up to Winslow Houndstooth and his crew to corral them. We all know that hippos are fast and with their powerful jaws can snap someone in half, so to hunt one would be extremely dangerous, and Winslow has many to hunt. Part western, part horror, part action/adventure, this novella is the perfect summer read, and as a bonus includes wild and feral hippos.

Happy Reading!

-Aileen

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

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(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