All posts by Kasey K

Kasey K

About Kasey K

Kasey is a Youth Services Information Assistant at the Vellore Village Library. Kasey can be a bit all-over-the-place, but is especially interested in horror, science fiction, psychology, and social justice. They are also a cross-stitcher, an occasional gamer, and a parent.

Transgender artists you should check out today!

I’ve got to admit, I’ve been to come up with inspiration for things to write about here this last week. For starters, I really haven’t been reading, well, anything (except for the same picture books over and over again) in the last two months. I keep finding myself staring guiltily at the book I’ve left unfinished, without actually picking it up or opening it.

Cover image for Danial Mallory Ortberg's book, Something that May Shock and Discredit YouIt’s Daniel Mallory Ortberg’s Something That May Shock and Discredit Youa book I’d been anticipating for months before its release, since reading an excerpt in Slate (where Ortberg writes the Dear Prudence advice column). From what I have read so far, it both is and isn’t what I hoped it would be: a strange mix of niche literary analysis/satire (too niche for me and my only-a-minor-in-English-Lit, it turns out)  and autobiographical musings straight from the depths of gender transition.

If that happens to sound like its right up your alley, while we don’t have any digital copies available, as of this writing there is a copy sitting in each of our resource libraries, so you may be able to snag one with a curbside pickup appointment!

But today, as I stared at the book, I started thinking about many of my other favourite transgender artists (across many forms of media!), and I figured why not boost some of them? Continue reading

Feel-better reads (and listens) to keep you going

Although it looks like Ontario is approaching the hump on this wave of COVID-19, we’ve still got a while to go before social distancing begins to loosen up (and even then, it won’t be by much right away!) In the meantime, I know a lot of us are starting to feel the days drag, and it’s getting harder to feel motivated to do… anything sometimes. I’m not huge on self-help books in general, but I do read a ton of advice columns (which can often scratch a similar itch of providing a calming, positive perspective on life) and  back when I listened to audiobooks compulsively, I did hit upon a few self-help-like books that gave me a better view on life and the world.

Here’s a few that you can access with your VPL library card:

Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection

None of us is perfect (of course!), but most of us are also our own worst critics, magnifying our own flaws so much we forget about everything else. In this book, Brown provides 10 reframing tools for approaching ourselves with more kindness and compassion, and rediscovering our self-worth. Available in ebook form on OverDrive, but since I also find Brene’s narration of her books calming in and of itself, you might also want to check out Daring Greatly and Rising Strong.


Cheryl Strayed’s Tiny Beautiful Things

I can’t say enough good things about Cheryl Strayed’s approach to the advice column! When she took over Dear Sugar, she blew all conventions out of the water by meeting her advice-seekers with raw vulnerability of her own. This collection of some of her best and most widely relevant, evergreen columns is touching, heart-wrenching, and satisfying to read. Available in ebook or audiobook on OverDrive (and you get more of Cheryl’s great advice on the Dear Sugar podcast, where she partners with fellow former Dear Sugar author Steve Almond to give some more off-the-cuff advice.)

Alison Green’s Ask A Manager

Ok, this may not seem particularly relevant at the moment, but while Green’s advice is career- and work-focused, her no-nonsense additude and clear sense of what’s fair and just always helps me feel grounded, no matter what I’m struggling with in any given moment. Her column lately has been about as depressing as you might imagine under the circumstances, so that’s why its the perfect time to revisit this collection of classic advice, available to VPL users in ebook and audiobook through our partnership with Markham Public Library on OverDrive

I’d love to hear what your favourite advice writers or self-help experts are! Give me your recommendations in the comments 🙂

Top Five! Great movies from Kanopy

I know I’m not the only person who’s promoted this for VPL, but in case you’re not already aware, if you have a library card with us then that gives you free access to the video streaming service Kanopy! (Note: if you’re trying to log in to any of our online resources and can’t remember your PIN – it’s a common problem! – get in touch with us through Email Librarian, and we will get you set up ASAP)

I know, there’s a ton of streaming services out there there days, but listen, this extra one is FREE to you, so it’s definitely worth it. And Kanopy’s got some really great stuff. Here are some of my favourites:

Pan’s Labyrinth

This one is straight-up in my top five movies of all time (though don’t ask me to tell you the other four; I am really bad at top fives if I’m being honest!) A story about a little girl living in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, caught between the twin horrors of her dying mother and her abusive step-father, who starts meeting fairies (and a faun!), and inevitably winds up on a mission to combat Evil.

This film is a work of pure passion for Guillermo del Toro (who I love even when he’s doing the superhero-y Hellboy stuff!), and the contrast between the darkly gorgeous fairy tale settings, and the utter brutality of Ofelia’s ‘mundane’ reality is just… awe-inspiring? And endlessly satisfying.

Pan’s Labyrinth can be hard to watch – genuinely scary at points, and unflinchingly violent – but so worth it!

Continue reading