Category Archives: Library

Three great reads

I’m lagging again.

Not in my reading, just in my writing. Since my last post I’ve finished three more books – and each of them was pretty great.

mebefore youThe first was Me Before You by JoJo Moyes. Earlier this year I read another of her books (The Girl You Left Behind) and enjoyed it, so I requested this one from the library as well. I loved it. Me Before You is about an unemployed British girl stuck in a dead-end relationship who gets a job as an assistant for a quadriplegic. It could be corny or predictable, but it really isn’t. The characters are well rounded and sympathetic. A nice, good read.

the circleThe second was The Circle by Dave Eggers. In a very near future The Circle connects everyone. Social media turned up several notches, it layers in your financial information with your duty to vote and of course your connections with everyone you know – and don’t. Mae gets a job at The Circle’s incredible campus thanks to a friend who holds a top position there, and becomes enmeshed in The Circle’s environment, community and philosophy. As she becomes immersed in the ways of The Circle, there were times when I needed to stop reading and take a break because it felt too close. It’s hyper-real and extremely easy to imagine in a terrifying way. Dystopian future done right. A great read.

little failureFinally, I just finished reading Little Failure: A Memoir by Gary Shteyngart – another excellent book. This is the memoir of Russian-born author Gary Shteyngart who outlines his early years in Leningrad, his family’s move to America, his immigrant experience at a New York Jewish school and then later at a Manhattan school for smart kids, his college years and his evolution into an author. Highly entertaining, it’s often very funny, and often just sad. Not quite Sedaris, but a worthwhile read.

That’s it for now. I’m 19 books into my 52 book challenge (37% done).

What’s next? I haven’t decided yet…

kp

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Hug a librarian

Apparently yesterday was “Hug a Librarian Day“. 

My kid at the Frances Morrison Library in Saskatoon

My kid at the Frances Morrison Library in Saskatoon

 

I didn’t get around to hugging any librarians (though I know and have huge respect for several – I’m looking at you, Michelle, Krista, Sonya and Betty), but I wanted to write a post today about how the library has tangibly changed the quality of life for my family.

If you dig back into the archives of this blog, you’ll see that a few years ago my mom was diagnosed with something called Mycobacterium avium complex, or Lady Windermere Syndrome. It was good news at the time, because it was treatable and curable, as opposed to the fourth stage lung cancer they initially thought it was. Three and a half years later, she still has it, and after a few very intense and long courses of treatment, she’s just not responding. Her lungs are shot. They’ve been described by her doctor as old underwear – no elasticity left.

As such, she doesn’t get out much. She’s around 85 pounds and is susceptible to illness, so big shopping trips or outings are just not a good idea.

Last summer when we were visiting her, I took her to the library and signed her up for a card. She’d had one years ago, but it had lapsed and she hadn’t got around to renewing it.

Since then, I’ve taken on the role as her own librarian – going online, choosing and requesting books for her that the library then puts on hold. My sister, who lives in the same city as my mom, then goes and picks up a stack of new books and returns the finished ones. Since September, I’d wager she’s read at least 150 books, and that number is probably conservative. She’s close to reading a book a day.

These books, which range in genre and era, have changed her life. They take her places she can’t physically go. They give her something to think about beyond what’s outside of her window or the rattle in her chest. They’re keeping her mind sharp and her wits intact. They make her laugh and keep her riveted and always give her something to talk about. They keep her company while my sister’s at work and the temperature is -40 degrees Celsius (it really is that cold in Saskatoon).

So, while I didn’t hug a librarian yesterday, I’m so thankful for them and for libraries. My mom is, too.

kp

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