New Year Resolutions: Exercise in the Time of Covid

Coming to you from the cyberpunk dystopia that will not end, a series of New Year’s Resolution-themed posts, because the only way out is through.

My fellow apocalypse-sters, you and I both know the importance of exercise. It keeps your meat sack in working condition, helps you sleep better, gives you energy, and can even boost your mood, which we all need these days, so desperately.

Remember when we used to go walking at the mall with friends? Or logging an hour on the elliptical at Planet Fitness? When we could learn Tai Chi in the park? Or maybe you’re like me and never did any of that?? Because exercise is hard to make yourself do under the best of circumstances and these are not even mildly okay circumstances. I don’t know about you, but my body is trying to become one with my couch these days, so I’m willing to try something.

If you, like myself, have hit rock bottom fitness-wise, you’ll be glad to know that SPL has a lot of online exercise videos through Kanopy, Hoopla, and the lesser known Access Video. Exercise videos are great – you just follow whatever the people on your screen are doing until you collapse into a sweaty heap, zero brain work involved. You can do Pilates Essentials, Bollywood Burn, or Dance and Be Fit. Find out what Jeanette is blasting next, may her body rest in pieces. You could even transform your entire actual life with yoga, according to Dashama Konah Gordon. This last one isn’t exactly an exercise video, but I couldn’t sleep at night unless I shared this Super Swordfighting Series for how to do cool movie sword fights. I think that would transform my life. Continue reading “New Year Resolutions: Exercise in the Time of Covid”

Read Magazines for Free with Flipster

One of the downsides to grocery delivery, if you’re a magazine reader, is lack of access to impulse-buy reading material in the checkout line.  Those cover recipes on cooking magazines are a great way to get inspired in the kitchen. Celebrity gossip is an effective distraction on a rough day and can be a good conversation starter.

Don’t worry, you can fill this void through The Seattle Public Library with free, digital magazine access!

Introducing: FLIPSTER

This digital periodical collection offers access to 60 very popular magazines, always available, no need to place holds. Subjects include cooking, sports, politics, entertainment, history, science, health and more. Issues are always available and can be read on any web browser, or by downloading an app to your Android phone, iPhone, or Kindle Fire. Newsweek magazine is available in Spanish and English, and People en Español is also available!

To get started: Continue reading “Read Magazines for Free with Flipster”

Short Stories on a Theme

There are times when it may be hard to focus on a long novel, so a short story might be a better choice. You can pick up a book of short stories and read one or all. Many compilations feature different authors coming together to focus on one theme and giving you a selection of stories in varying styles and genres to choose from. Short stories can be a fun break from your normal reading or a long thoughtful pause about the meaning hidden inside the story. I’ve provided a list of different types of short stories you can find as an eBook. Hopefully one will strike your fancy!

Echoes: The Saga Anthology of Ghost Stories,Image of book cover for Echoes edited by Ellen Datlow

A short story collection can never be complete for me without one edited by Ellen Datlow. I’ve read anothologies by Datlow since junior high. This anthology collects ghost stories together for a deliciously creepy time. Either read it now or wait until closer to Halloween; it’ll be a treat either way. Continue reading “Short Stories on a Theme”

Pandemic Post-Apocalyptic Podcast

It was amazing, astounding, this loss of communication with the world. It was exactly as if the world had ceased, been blotted out. …With the coming of the Scarlet Death the world fell apart, absolutely, irretrievably.
The Scarlet Plague, by Jack London

Just a handful of years after the novella quoted above came out, the world was plunged into a global pandemic that claimed over 50 million lives. Jack London didn’t live to see it, but he had recently witnessed the ominous return of the Black Death, a startling outbreak of bubonic plague in turn-of-the-century San Francisco that is recounted in David Randall’s Black Death at the Golden Gate. What’s more, he had the foresight to know that worse – much worse – was to come:

Now this is the strange thing about these germs. There were always new ones coming to live in men’s bodies. …the more men there were, the more thickly were they packed together on the earth, the more new kinds of germs became diseases. There were warnings. Soldervetzsky, as early as 1929, told the bacteriologists that they had no guaranty against some new disease, a thousand times more deadly than any they knew, arising and killing by the hundreds of millions and even by the billion.  

While not all of the predictions in London’s vision of America circa 2013 ring true – personal dirigibles, anyone? – his pandemic prophecies have only gained force. In H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds, humankind is saved by micro-organisms; in London’s The Scarlet Plague, these same germs turn on us, and almost win. Looking back from the year 2073 on the devastation, an old man attempts to teach his grandsons how to relight the torch of civilization, with the aid of that most precious tool: books! Continue reading “Pandemic Post-Apocalyptic Podcast”

Magical Thinking

Sometimes we need a little magic in our lives, whether we create it ourselves or look to others to create it for us. Let these magic-makers offer you inspiration, wonder, and escape.

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman is a classic of the genre. It introduces us to sisters Gigllian and Sally Owens and their efforts to endure the Owen family curse. The sequel, The Rules of Magic is about the Aunts in the 1950s & 60s. Also look for Hoffman’s forthcoming book, Magic Lessons (out in October) to learn the origin of the Owen family curse. Continue reading “Magical Thinking”