Let’s Swim!

This return of warmer weather has me thinking about swimming – dipping my feet in a lake,* seeking out a pool. I’m still feeling cautious about being in proximity to people, even as pandemic precautions wane, which means that while I scope out swimming spots I’m also finding books to satisfy my urge.

Waterlog: A Swimmer’s Journey by Roger Deakin
Originally published in Britain in 1999 and now being published for the first time in the US, Waterlog is Deakin’s thoughtful reflection on swimming in wild places. Inspired by John Cheever’s story “The Swimmer,” Deakin began with a dip in the moat behind his farmhouse, and then conceived of a plan to swim the waterways of Britain, pristine and polluted alike. Swimming in seas, springs, rivers and ponds, he reflects on the history and geography of the waterways he visits, and on the general responsibility of environmental stewardship and maintenance of natural places that are open to all. Deakin’s work launched an international “wild swimming” movement; it’s good to see it published on our shores. (For a fantastic, in-depth review, check out Anelise Chen’s story in The Atlantic).

Continue reading “Let’s Swim!”

Staying Healthy with Your Library: Search the Catalog for Health Topics

In this Shelf Talk consumer health series, we’ve covered a variety of ways of accessing health information through Library databases, but what about the Library’s bread and butter, materials in the online catalog? Don’t worry, we’ve got you. In addition to discovering much of the material in some of our databases, you’ll find hundreds of health-related books, audiobooks, music CDs, and DVDs in the online catalog.

To access The Seattle Public Library’s online catalog from your own device, sign in with your library card number and PIN, then navigate to the online catalog.

Once you’re in the Library’s online catalog, you have a few options. You can start with a simple keyword search, try a more specific subject search, look for a list compiled by other users and librarians, or construct a more complex advanced search.

screenshot of keyword search results for "anxiety and kids" Continue reading “Staying Healthy with Your Library: Search the Catalog for Health Topics”

Rest and Retreat

I know solitude seems like the opposite of what you want to do right now, but solitude with a purpose such as rest could be highly beneficial, especially after this difficult year. There are also many forms of rest. Resting the mind for better sleep, retreating to rest and recharge, and finding solitude to create or come to terms our season of winter. 

Here are a few books in our collection that bring that idea of rest to mind:

Nothing Much Happens: Cozy and Calming Stories to Soothe your Mind and Help You Sleep by Kathryn Nicolai

While my insomnia has been more pregnancy related than not, I’ve been finding tools to help slow down my overthinking brain to make it not so miserable: heartburn tea, putting my phone away an hour before bed, and the most important tool, reading a physical book at bedtime. Based on the podcast this collection includes soothing new stories and adorable illustrations to help you sleep. Continue reading “Rest and Retreat”

Deep Dives: The Natural World

Sometimes, when the world and news cycle seem really fragmented, I take great solace in diving deep on a particular topic. While this can be done on the internet, for me the most satisfying method is to sit down with a book and just let myself sink into the minutia. If you’re craving that same feeling, here are three books that dive deep into elements of the natural world.

Why We Swim by Bonnie Tsui
Beginning with the unlikely survival of an Icelandic man who survived six hours in freezing winter waters after his boat capsized and who became an accidental celebrity for his feat, Tsui examines the human relationship with water and swimming. Broken into five sections, Tsui looks at how and why humans swim for survival, well-being, community, competition, and “flow,” reaching back into human history, evolution and mythology to explain our human history with water. Along the way she weaves in her own experiences visiting the beach in New York and swimming in the Bay Area. I confess I’ve always loved swimming and reading about swimming (such as in Leanne Shapton’s Swimming Studies), but I think most people will enjoy this dip in the water. Continue reading “Deep Dives: The Natural World”

Staying Healthy with Your Library: LGBTQ History & Culture

With materials from hundreds of institutions and organizations, including major international activist organizations, local, grassroots groups, and governments, the database LGBTQ History & Culture (also known as the Archives of Sexuality and Gender) collects an incredible set of primary sources for the historical study of sex, sexuality, and gender. Use this resource to investigate how sexual norms have changed over time, health and hygiene, the development of sex education, the rise of sexology, changing gender roles, social movements and activism, erotica, and many more topic areas.

screenshot of LGBTQ History & Culture homepagge

To access this database from your own device, sign in with your library card number and PIN, then select LGBTQ History & Culture from our list of Online Resources. Continue reading “Staying Healthy with Your Library: LGBTQ History & Culture”