Library Moments: Books for Mental Health

Erin Kernohan-Berning, Branch Services Librarian: Hello, I’m Erin Kernohan-Berning from the Haliburton County Public Library and this is Library Moments. Once a week some of us from the library will come and talk about books, upcoming events, or the services we offer at the library.

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Although there seems to be more awareness about mental health than ever before, because difficulties with our mental health affect us in such a personal way, we can still be reluctant to talk about it with others, and may even feel that we are alone in our struggles. This is where, along with proper professional care, books can be very helpful. Whether fiction or nonfiction, memoir or self-help, there are a great many books surrounding the topic of mental health. And whether you are curious about a specific mental illness, or are just wanting to find ways to keep your mental health in good shape, taking some quiet time for yourself with a book can help you reflect on yourself while relating to others who may have shared your situation.

Today on Library Moments, Sherrill Sherwood and I will talk about some books about mental health that you can get at Haliburton County Public Library.


6265779Sherrill Sherwood, Collection Development Coordinator: Before I talk about books, I want to mention that the people of Haliburton County are so lucky to have in our very own community a thirteen week mindfulness program available through the Haliburton Highlands Family Health Team, run by Social Worker Barb Fraser. Attendees of the Mindfulness-Based Chronic Pain Management Programme learn the principles of mindfulness meditation, the importance of living in the moment and the power of now, and how these relate to suffering less pain. Mindfulness assists in remaining calmer and more pain controlled despite the challenges of everyday life, such as when interacting with family, friends, colleagues, employers and insurers. This can change the intensity of pain suffering, both emotional and physical, in a very positive way. In addition to receiving professional care such as this, there are a variety of mindfulness titles in the library’s collection to read to further understand the practice. One such book, The Mindful Path To Self-Compassion: freeing yourself from destructive thoughts and emotions by Dr. Christopher Germer answers the question; What would happen if, instead of fighting difficult emotions, we accepted them? Over his decades of experience as a therapist and mindfulness meditation practitioner, Dr. Germer has learned an important lesson: We all want to avoid pain, but letting it in–and responding compassionately to our own imperfections, without judgment or self-blame–are essential steps to healing.  Dr. Germer realizes that it sounds backwards for people to turn toward their emotional pain instead of running from it, and that any thinking person is likely to ask “Why would I want to do that?” The first chapter of The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion is dedicated to making you understand why it’s often the best thing to do. The rest of the book will show you how to accomplish this task. First you’ll learn how to bring mindful awareness to what’s bothering you. Then you’ll discover how to bring kindness to yourself, especially when you’re feeling really bad. That combination — mindfulness and self-compassion – can transform even the worst times of our lives.

35504431Erin: There are many fiction books in our collection that feature protagonists who are dealing with mental health challenges while navigating challenges of everyday life. Fiction, in general, has the ability to increase empathy and understanding – possibly to a greater extent than nonfiction. There’s something about a fictional character that lets us put ourselves in their shoes and experience what they are experiencing more than reading a book about a real person. In Turtles All the Way Down by John Green, 17 year old Aza Holmes has multiple anxiety disorders, and is prone to getting trapped in spirals of unwanted thoughts. All the while she is doing her best to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student… oh and trying to solve the mysterious disappearance of a billionaire with a $100,000 reward on the line, while navigating a crush on that billionaire’s son, Davis. To the outside observer, Aza simply seems quiet and a little quirky; even those who know her, and know there’s more going on, can’t quite see what Aza is going through. But as the reader we get a front row seat to Aza’s non-stop inner monologue. Turtles All the Way Down was published in October 2017, and is John Green’s first novel since his extraordinarily popular 2012 novel The Fault in Our Stars. Authors often inject autobiographical elements into their fiction – often the best fiction includes stories that closely mirror an author’s personal experiences. Of Turtles All the Way Down, John Green has said “This is my first attempt to write directly about the kind of mental illness that has affected my life since childhood, so while the story is fictional, it is also quite personal.”

According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, 1 in 5 Canadians in any given year will experience mental illness. We can help end the stigma around mental illness by cultivating empathy and compassion for others and ourselves, and books can be a part of that. If you need help, make sure you talk to a health care practitioner, or find a local social service by calling 211 or visiting

That’s it for this week’s Library Moments. Thanks for listening here on 100.9 CANOE FM.

*Originally aired in June 2018 on 100.9 CANOE FM.


Book Talk: Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne Lang

36500380In Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne Lang, Jim the chimpanzee is grumpy for no good reason. It’s a beautiful day, all his friends are having fun, and as each asks Jim why he is so grumpy, he gets more and more… well… grumpy!

Finally, when Jim has had enough, he shouts at his friends, and then feels really bad about his behaviour and himself. But when he runs into Norman, who clearly has reasons to feel out of sorts himself, Jim realizes that maybe he just needs to take a day to be grumpy. And that’s okay.

Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne Lang, illustrated by Max Lang, is an adorable picture book that tells us it’s okay to feel our feelings. Grumpy Monkey is available to reserve at the Haliburton County Public Library.

*Originally aired in June 2018 on 100.9 CANOE FM.

Library Moments: Magazines

Sherrill Sherwood, Collection Development Coordinator: Hello, I’m Sherrill Sherwood from the Haliburton County Public Library and this is Library Moments. Once a week some of us from the library will come and talk about books, upcoming events, or the services we offer at the library.

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While I was at the Dysart branch circulation desk a couple of weeks ago, a patron asked me to explain how the magazines work. She had been clearing clutter from her house and didn’t want to purchase any more magazines since she found it so hard to let go of them. She was really happy to hear that she could check out the magazines housed at the Dysart branch and could also request ones that are housed in any of the other seven branches. Today on Library Moments Erin Kernohan-Berning and I will talk about popular magazines that are in our library collection.

Erin Kernohan-Berning, Branch Services Librarian: In our sound byte culture where the shortest and punchiest quip seems to win regardless of accuracy, it’s a good balance that there are many magazines that provide longer, in-depth articles about the issues of the day. One in particular is The New Yorker. Started in 1925 as a humour magazine, it soon became a sophisticated publication for serious fiction, essays and journalism. Many notable authors have had short stories published in The New Yorker, including Shirley Jackson, EB White, Stephen King, Alice Munro, and Roald Dahl. The New Yorker’s journalism and essays, which now make up most of the content in each of the nearly weekly issues cover an eclectic range of topics, including culture, arts, science, politics, current events, and biography – most with word counts in the thousands. Another well known part of The New Yorker’s content is its humorous cartoons. Early cartoonists for The New Yorker didn’t caption their own cartoons, rather guest writers did, most notably EB White’s 1928 caption “I say it’s spinach and I say to hell with it” which made it into the popular lexicon of the time. Other notable captions include the coining of the well used idiom “Well, back to the old drawing board” and the most reprinted “on the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog”. The New Yorker continues this guest captioning tradition, posting videos of celebrities like Nick Offerman, Abbi Jacobson, and Zach Woods lending their captioning talent, and most notably 9-year old Alice Kassnove [KAS-no] who has taken the internet by storm as a cartoon captioning protege – and possibly a now life-long New Yorker reader!

SAH MAGSherrill Sherwood, Collection Development Coordinator: I asked the supervisor of the Dysart branch, Vicki Fraser, which magazine in her branch gets checked out the most. While the Dysart branch enjoys a brisk circulation of all magazines, Vicki sees Style At Home regularly fly off the shelves. Style at Home is a monthly Canadian home decor and lifestyle magazine, which publishes articles about interior design, home decorating projects, outdoor living and entertaining. For instance, the August 2017 edition includes the renovation of a cozy cabin in the woods, decorating 101 with a designer who updates the den of a Georgian-style home, three recipes with yogurt incorporated into the dishes, a dark basement previously serving as a rental apartments which gets a light and bright family-friendly makeover, and the dessert of the month features refreshing watermelon ice pops. There are many more articles and beautiful pictures in this mag, I can see why it’s so popular.

Magazines can be checked out for one week and renewed if there are no holds on them. If you have any questions regarding magazine checkouts or would like to place a hold on a specific magazine title, please talk to the friendly library staff at your branch, they will help you out. That’s it for this week’s Library Moments, thanks for listening here on 100.9 Canoe FM.

*Originally aired in June 2018 on 100.9 CANOE FM.

Book Talk: The President is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson

The White House is the home of the President of the United States, the most guarded, monitored, closely watched person in the world. So how could a U.S. President vanish without a trace? And why would he choose to do so? Hailed as “the publishing event of 2018”, an unprecedented collaboration between President Bill Clinton and the world’s bestselling novelist, James Patterson, The President Is Missing: a novel is a breathtaking story from the pinnacle of power. Full of what it truly feels like to be the person in the Oval Office — the mind-boggling pressure, the heartbreaking decisions, the exhilarating opportunities, the soul-wrenching power — this is the thriller of the decade, confronting the darkest threats that face the world today, with the highest stakes conceivable. The President is Missing can be requested in regular print, large print and as a book on CD through the Haliburton County Public Library.

*Originally aired in June 2018 on 100.9 CANOE FM.

Library Moments: Houses

Noelia Marziali, Community of Making Animator: Hello, I’m Noelia Marziali from the Haliburton County Public Library and this is Library Moments. Once a week some of us from the library will come and talk about books, upcoming events, or the services we offer at the library.

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You may have recently read about or heard about a housing task force trying to bring some changes to the way we build houses here in the county. There’s also been lots of talk in the media about The Tiny House Movement. At HCPL, you will find many titles about houses, how they are built, sustainable building practices and even building project plans. Today on Library Moments, Sherrill Sherwood and I will each talk about items of interest in the library collection pertaining to fresh housing ideas.  

Sherrill Sherwood, Collection Development Coordinator: One of the first exciting steps in the home building process is to pour through house plans. The library’s collection includes the popular title One-Story House Plans Bible from Creative Homeowner Press. One-Story House Plans Bible offers readers 450 of the most elegant and efficient home designs available, from cottages to grand homes.One-Story House Plans Bible provides a distinct combination of full-color photography and illustrations throughout. In addition to the designs,  practical tips and expert advice guide the potential home builder in choosing interior and exterior accents for the new home. A search for “Creative Homeowner” on the library website brings up fourteen titles released through this publisher – they include a different house plans book as well as maintenance, renovation, interior ideas and homesteading information. “Straw bale” and “timber frame” are also good search terms to use on our website to find titles of interest. And of course, a search for “tiny homes” displays multiple offerings.

20561054Noelia Marziali, Community of Making Animator: Everyone’s heard all the fuss surrounding tiny homes lately. Maybe a tiny home is not for you but just about anyone can get a kick out of the ingenious designs behind these homes. Tiny house design and construction guide by Author and photographer, Dan Louche is an informative guide all about tiny homes. This books introduces you to the sustainable building movement as a whole. Author, Louche goes into details of how to create a true architectural masterpiece in traditional and non-traditional ways.
Gain a good understanding of Tiny Houses, and know what steps are involved to begin the building process of your very own. This includes knowledge of the entire building process, what considerations you’ll need to make, and legalities behind it all. For anyone with dreams of building this is a great introductory read.

That’s if for this week’s Library Moments, thanks for listening here on 100.9 Canoe FM

*Originally aired in May 2018 on 100.9 CANOE FM.

Library Moments: Outdoor Activities

Sherrill Sherwood, Collection Development Coordinator:  Hello, I’m Sherrill Sherwood from the Haliburton County Public Library and this is Library Moments. Once a week some of us from the library will come and talk about books, upcoming events, or the services we offer at the library.

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In Haliburton County, we are lucky enough to live or cottage in an area that is perfect for camping, canoeing, biking, hiking, fishing, swimming, gardening and other nature activities. We are also lucky enough to have a great library system that purchases books to help us learn more about these activities so we can enjoy them even more. On this week’s Library Moments, Noelia Marziali and I will each talk about a book that is of interest to us which relates to something we enjoy in the great outdoors.

29750768Noelia Marziali, Community of Making Animator:  Haliburton county is crawling with lakes, rivers and swamps, and now that we’re finally ready to dip our toes in, I chose to share a guide book for navigating water.

How to read water by author Tristan Gooley is a very eye opening and informative read. From puddles to the sea: learn to gauge depth, navigate, forecast weather and make other predictions with water. You will be surprised by what you may not know of our most abundant (yet perhaps least understood) resource: water. Gooley reconnects readers with nature in his books.

Distilled from his far-flung adventures–sailing solo across the Atlantic, navigating with Omani tribespeople, canoeing in Borneo, and walking in his own backyard–Gooley shares hundreds of techniques. This great read combines science, anthropology, geography and folklore. At the very least, this book will alter the way you look at water next time you’re paddling down a river this summer.

Sherrill Sherwood, Collection Development Coordinator: The last time my husband and I took our dog Hank camping, we prepared meals ahead of time and then simply had to heat them up. It was so great and also a lot of work ahead of time. So when The Outdoor Adventure Cookbook by Coleman crossed my desk, I was interested right away. Described as ‘the official cookbook from the ultimate camping authority”, The Outdoor Adventure Cookbook is both useful and beautiful. It’s filled with 100 delicious campsite recipes that are easy to prepare, using simple but innovative cooking techniques that will take your outdoor meals to the next level. It includes hearty breakfasts, snacks, drinks, sandwiches, salads, hot main dishes, side dishes, and sweet desserts that use familiar ingredients and basic tools to keep your packing list as short as possible. The book also contains plenty of essential camping information, including menu and packing guidance. Whether you are planning a picnic or heading into the wild, you’ll find all you need to make your next camping trip unforgettable.

If your favorite summer activity happens to be lying around reading, well, you’re in luck there too. With your library card you have access to over 52,000 items on our shelves. If you frequently visit any of the eight branches in Haliburton County, you already know about the great collection.  And if you don’t, what are you waiting for? That’s if for this week’s Library Moments, thanks for listening here on 100.9 Canoe FM.

*Originally aired in May 2018 on 100.9 CANOE FM.

Book Talk: Scarborough by Catherine Hernandez

Scarborough is a low-income, culturally diverse neighbourhood east of Toronto, the fourth largest city in North America. Like many inner-city communities, it suffers under the weight of poverty, drugs, crime, and urban blight. Scarborough the novel employs a multitude of voices to tell the story of a tight-knit neighbourhood under fire, among them a black artist harassed by the police, a West Indian restaurant owner struggling to keep it together and a Muslim school worker who witnesses first-hand the impact of poverty on education. Scarborough by Catherine Hernandez offers a raw yet compassionate glimpse into a troubled community that locates its dignity in unexpected places: a neighbourhood that refuses to be undone. This novel is one of ten titles nominated for 2018’s Evergreen Award. Read one or all ten titles and cast your vote in September at your branch of the Haliburton County Public Library.

*Originally aired in May 2018 on 100.9 CANOE FM.