Book Talk: Soon by Andrew Santella

35008530It’s finally here – Soon: an overdue history of procrastination, from Leonardo and Darwin to you and me by Andrew Santella is an entertaining, fact-filled defense of the nearly universal tendency to procrastinate, drawing on the stories of history’s greatest delayers, and on the work of psychologists, philosophers, and behavioral economists to explain why we put off what we’re supposed to be doing and why we shouldn’t feel so bad about it.

Like so many of us, including most of America’s workforce, and nearly two-thirds of all university students, Andrew Santella procrastinates. Concerned about his habit, but not quite ready to give it up, he set out to learn all he could about the human tendency to delay. He studied history’s greatest procrastinators to gain insights into human behavior, and also, he writes, to kill time.

Drawing on an eclectic mix of historical case studies in procrastination–from Leonardo da Vinci to Frank Lloyd Wright, and from Old Testament prophets to Civil War generals–Santella offers a sympathetic take on habitual postponement. He questions our devotion to “the cult of efficiency” and suggests that delay and deferral can help us understand what truly matters to us. Being attentive to our procrastination, Santella writes, means asking, “whether the things the world wants us to do are really worth doing.”

Soon: an overdue history of procrastination, from Leonardo and Darwin to you and me by Andrew Santella is available to reserve at the Haliburton County Public Library right now… or you can reserve it later if you want to put it off.

*Originally aired March 2018 on 100.9 CANOE FM.


Book Talk: Solitude: A Singular Life in a Crowded World by Michael Harris

26085732In Solitude: A Singular Life in a Crowded World, award-winning author Michael Harris examines why our experience of solitude has become so broken and how we may grow to love it again. The capacity to be alone–properly alone–is one of life’s subtlest skills. Real solitude is a contented and productive state that garners tangible rewards: it allows us to reflect and recharge, improving our relationships with ourselves and with others. Fueled today by our dependence on online and social media, we have created a network of obsessive distraction that dangerously undervalues solitude. Many of us now lead lives of strangely crowded loneliness–we are ever-connected, but only superficially. Rich with true stories about its life-changing power, and interwoven with reporting from the world’s foremost brain researchers, psychologists and tech entrepreneurs, Solitude is a beautiful and convincing statement on the benefits of being alone. Solitude is one of ten titles nominated for 2018’s Evergreen Award and can be requested through the Haliburton County Public Library.  

*Originally aired March 2018 on 100.9 CANOE FM.

Library Moments: Fiction About Real People or Events

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.  

Although it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between fiction and nonfiction, especially in the hands of a skilled author, just remember this – if it reports the truth, it’s nonfiction and if it stretches the truth, it’s fiction. Today Erin Kernohan-Berning and I will each describe a title that, while fiction, is based on a real person or event.

35876524Erin Kernohan-Berning, Branch Services Librarian: When you read the blurb on the book jacket for White Houses by Amy Bloom, you would be forgiven if you thought that it was a nonfiction memoir or biography. White Houses is a fictionalization of the real life relationship between Lorena Hickok and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Hickok – affectionately nicknamed “Hick” was a reporter who covered FDR’s presidential run, but resigned from her post at the Associated Press when her friendship with a Eleanor began to affect her impartiality. She moved into the White House and worked in the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, and became an integral part of the Roosevelts lives. Much of what we know about Hickok and Roosevelt comes from correspondence between the women archived at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum. The letters between the two reveal what was surely a close and intimate friendship, one that many scholars believe was also romantic. It is also thought that many of the letters exchanged between the two were destroyed. We can’t say in absolute certainty what the exact nature of the relationship between Eleanor and Hick was. We weren’t there in their private moments, and weren’t inside their hearts and minds. Amy Bloom takes the deep affection found in the language of their correspondence and imagines the relationship from Hick’s perspective, creating a fictional account including what those tender moments may have been like between them.  I think the most compelling thing about White Houses is what some of the poorer reviews fault it for – Amy Bloom has taken something that many have reported on as salacious and using empathy and imagination has probably brought it closer to the truth – a deep love between two powerful women in a time and circumstance that would challenge anyone’s relationship. Whatever their private moments entailed, Eleanor and Hick were two formidable women with a keen interest in social justice and integral involvement in FDR’s New Deal, and both ahead of their time accomplished great things. I like to read these kinds of fictional books alongside their nonfiction source material. White Houses would be great paired with the digitized collections found online at the FDR library, or with Empty Without You, Roger Streitmatter’s annotated compilation of 300 of Eleanor and Hick’s most intimate letters. Fictionalizations of history, while they still need to be treated as fiction, can humanize historical figures and allow us to empathize with them across time.
15818107Sherrill Sherwood, Collection Development Coordinator: The Orphan Train Movement was a supervised welfare program that transported orphaned and homeless children from crowded Eastern cities of the United States to foster homes located largely in the countryside of the Midwest. The orphan trains operated between 1854 and 1929, relocating about 200,000 orphaned, abandoned, or homeless children. This relocation of children ended in the 1920s with the beginning of organized foster care in America. Christina Baker Kline’s novel Orphan Train is an unforgettable story of friendship and second chances that highlights this little-known but historically significant movement in America’s past. Seventeen-year-old Molly Ayer is close to “aging out” out of the foster care system. A community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse. As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance. Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life—answers that will ultimately free them both. Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.
Reading fiction books or watching movies based on real people or events can bring a level of understanding to a topic that may not be reached in any other way. Many movies these days are marketed with the phrases “based on a true story” or “inspired by real events” – this catches people’s attention. That’s it for this week’s Library Moments, thanks for listening here on 100.9 Canoe FM.

*Originally aired March 2018 on 100.9 CANOE FM.

Library Moments: March Online Book Club

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.


The theme for March’s Online Book Club is experimental fiction. Experimental fiction goes outside the bounds of traditional literary fiction, might cross genres, and may incorporate non-prose elements for dramatic effect. Selections for March’s online book club include a book that incorporates eerie pictures, another that bends space and time, a book that prompts the user to visit online content, and a book that is a book about a book about a film about a house that is a labyrinth.

On this episode of Library Moments, Sherrill Sherwood and I will each talk about one of this month’s online book club selections.

Sherrill Sherwood, Collection Development Coordinator: The summary of Night Film from author Marissa Pessl’s webpage reads: On a damp October night, beautiful young Ashley Cordova is found dead in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Though her death is ruled a suicide, veteran investigative journalist Scott McGrath suspects otherwise. As he probes the strange circumstances surrounding Ashley’s life and death, McGrath comes face-to-face with the legacy of her father: the legendary, reclusive cult-horror-film director Stanislas Cordova—a man who hasn’t been seen in public for more than thirty years. For McGrath, another death connected to this seemingly cursed family seems more than just a coincidence. What makes this novel unusual is that there are screen shots of hidden websites, there are blog postings and anonymous user comments, and sprinkled throughout these illustrations there is a secret, very discreet bird symbol. If you download the Night Film Decoder app and scan the illustration that has this bird symbol, you will get extra content on your tablet or phone. The author explains that ideally you will read the book, and if you want to continue the experience, that’s when you find out about the app, and you can get additional content in that way. But it is not something that you need to do while you’re reading the book so you can still get that immersive reading experience, without interrupting it with technology, unless you want to.

9460487Erin Kernohan-Berning, Branch Services Librarian:  In Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, a box of strange old photographs and a family tragedy lead sixteen year old Jacob to a mysterious orphanage where he discovers his grandfather’s tall tales weren’t so outlandish after all. Well, they were outlandish, but also true. He finds an invisible boy, floating girl, and a headmistress that turns into a bird at Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Ransom Riggs peculiar fantasy novel was inspired by his collection of vintage photographs. The book contains 44 photographs from various collections. The photos lend a creep vibe to the novel – Riggs having come to realize that all pictures of children from 80-100 years ago are universally creepy in some indefinable way. The photos serve as inspiration, plot device, and atmosphere.  

Anyone can participate in Haliburton County Public Library’s Online Book Club by choosing to read one or more of four books selected each month. You don’t even have to read from a particular month’s selection you can go online and make comments about books and reading in general. Just go to  and click on the “g” for Goodreads. That’s it for this week’s Library Moments. We hope we’ve inspired you to experiment and try reading something a little bit different from what you usually would. Thanks for listening here on 100.9 CANOE FM.

*Originally aired March 2018 on 100.9 CANOE FM.


Library Moments: Try It Again Part 3

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.


When people think about “making”, most think about something new and high tech like 3D printing or laser cutting. But while those things are really, really cool, and certainly add to “making” as a whole, “making” is so much more than the high tech gizmos we keep hearing about. In fact, “making” can be incredibly low tech – and is probably something you’re engaged in already!

Today on Library Moments, Noelia Marziali and I will talk about something that is “making” that you might be doing already.


Did you sow seeds for your garden this year?  Congratulations!  You’re a Maker!

Noelia Marziali, Community of Making Animator:  Have you planted a garden, cooked dinner, fixed a leaky faucet? You’re a maker. Have you picked up a hammer, scribbled a note on a piece of paper, fashioned a pair of duct taped sandals? You’re a maker! What I love most about the Maker Movement, is the way it celebrates learning by doing across an enormous spectrum. From knitting to soldering to that science experiment you’ve made in your fridge, anything goes. When I watch a laser engraving a piece of wood, I think of the chisel. When I see a 3D printer building up a form layer by layer, I think of hand-built clay pot. Debating the virtues of low tech or high tech making is beside the point. At the heart of making is to choose for yourself how you wish to express an idea or produce a product. So look around you and spot all the making going on right under your nose, then roll up your sleeves and get making!


Bake something yummy recently?  Congratulations! You’re a Maker! 

Erin: We have a wide variety of books on making in the Haliburton County Public Library. The usual suspects about circuits and programming are all there. But did you know that we have books about building your own tiny house or garden shed? We also have books about making things that we might buy everyday, never thinking about how they came to be – how to make bacon, crackers, pickles, and beer.  From going off-grid to home décor, we have books to get your living space the way you want. We have books on making clothing. And heck, if you want to build a hovercraft we have a book on that too. Making isn’t about high tech or low tech. It’s about going from idea to thing, in whatever manner you use to get you there.

Do you have a skill you want to share with the Haliburton Highlands? Get involved in our Try It Fair as an exhibitor!  Visit or follow us on Facebook for details, or give Noelia a call at 705-457-2241.

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

*Originally aired in March 2018 on 100.9 CANOE FM.

Library Moments: Try it Again Part 2

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.

pexels-photo-413879.jpegWe are in the thick of planning for our Try It Fair on May 4th, and are looking for exhibitors to showcase their skills so that others can try their hand at something new. Today on Library Moments, Noelia Marziali and I will tell you a bit about Try It! And how you can get involved!

Noelia Marziali, Community of Making Animator:  To tell you about the Try it Fair, I have to mention a term coined “The Maker Movement”. Back in 2005, publisher Dale Dougherty launched MAKE magazine which provided a catalyst for a tech-influenced, DIY community that became identified as The Maker Movement.

A year later, The first Maker Faire was held in the States. This event is part science fair, part county fair, and part something entirely new.  Maker Faire is an all-ages gathering of tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators and more. These events have exploded globally since and in 2017 alone there were over 190 independently organized mini faires.

Last December, HCPL and community partners launched Haliburton’s very own Maker fair. We called ours The Try it Fair! It was an exciting showcase of invention, creativity, and resourcefulness.

emarts-emarts-68775-unsplashThe Try it Fair! had everything from 3D printing to body art to drumming to horseback riding to fly tying.

So this May join us at the Haliburton Highschool’s athletic complex for Try it Again! We are expanding by offering outdoor space – So all you kite or drone aficionados come on out. Not to worry if you have a particularly messy demonstration like concrete mixing or a loud demo like fog horns. Maybe you need a bit of height and space (unicycles and stilts come to mind). Whatever it is, we can accommodate you. We invite the Makers of Haliburton to show and tell and try something new.

I bet you’re bursting at the seams with ideas now. To be an exhibitor call Noelia at 705-457-2241 or visit and link to our Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest pages.

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

*Originally aired in February 2018 on CANOE FM

Book Talk: Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson

8034188In Where Good Ideas Come From, Steven Johnson explores the ideal conditions in which ideas flourish. Everyday innovations we take for granted – the printing press, the pencil, the flush toilet, and the battery all came from a great idea – but how did that idea come into being? Was it in the oft expressed epiphany, lightbulb or eureka moment? Johnson challenges the notion of the flash of genius and argues that really good ideas are spawned from slow hunches, chaotic environments, and the free exchange of ideas between people of various expertise. Whether in the coffee houses of the enlightenment or around the conference room table – or even your local maker hub – Johnson traces the conditions that bred innovation across history and disciplines, and tries to find the commonalities that appear at moments of originality.

Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson is available to reserve at the Haliburton County Public Library. You can also check out his TED Talk online. Check it out and be inspired to share your ideas.

*Originally aired in February 2018 on 100.9 CANOE FM.