Our Favourite Resources

Our (My!) Favourite Resources in the Collection

I was excited to write this blog post, as I do a lot of reading for fun/interest (about 150 books/year), and many of those books I would recommend are included in our collection.

I read pretty widely, so this post will cover many different topics (hopefully something of interest for everyone). So, for this post, I would like to recommend things I’ve actually read! (Future posts may include books that I’ve not yet read.)


Calgary Herald. The Flood of 2013: a Summer of Angry Rivers in Southern Alberta. Toronto: Greystone, 2013.

This tells the story of Calgary’s flooding in 2013, but a good portion of the “story” is told through the photographs included. There is more text in the first and last chapters (The Raging Waters and Hell or High Water) but the middle chapters are almost all photos.

The chapters tell the story starting with the flood itself, then the damage and devastation, then the cleanup and the amazing number of people volunteering to help out afterward.


Cullen, David. Columbine. New York: Twelve, 2010.

Published ten years after the Columbine shootings happened, Dave Cullen, a reporter at the time of the  shootings, looks deeper into everything connected to it: many of the people involved, including kids at the school, teachers, families, Eric and Dylan and all the planning, their families, and the entire investigation.

This goes into a lot of detail to relate what really happened. That is, the book debunks a lot of myths and rumours. It will catch you up on survivors: what’s happened with them and others, including victims’ families, since.


Dallaire, Roméo, and Brent Beardsley. Shake Hands with the Devil: the Failure of Humanity in Rwanda. Toronto: Random, 2003.

Dallaire was a Canadian peacekeeper sent by the UN as commander of the peacekeeping effort in Rwanda a few months before the genocide in 1994. This provided the perspective of the people on the ground who were trying with what (very) little resources they had (not nearly enough) to find peace in the country before the genocide and civil war broke out.


Skloot, Rebecca. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. New York: Broadway, 2011.

Henrietta Lacks was only 31 when she died of cervical cancer in 1951. Before she died, though, the doctors at Johns Hopkins, the only hospital she could go to because it was the only one close by that would treat poor black people, took some of the cancer cells from her, without her knowledge. Those cells produced results in all kinds of scientific testing for decades after Henrietta died, and they continue to be tested on. Her family, meanwhile, continues to live in poverty and cannot afford their own health care.

This book is a little bit biography, a little bit science, and a little bit ethics. This includes both Henrietta’s bio and her family’s. Most of the scientific/medical info is explained so that it is fairly easy to understand.


Stockett, Kathryn. The Help. New York: Berkley, 2011.

It is the early 60’s in Jackson, Mississippi. There is still segregation in the South. Skeeter is a young woman, just home from school, and she wants to be a writer. In secret, she plans to meet with some of the black maids in her town to interview them, and write a book about their experiences.


Weisman, Alan. The World Without Us. New York: Picador; Thomas Dunne; St. Martin’s, 2008.

In this book, Weisman takes a look at what would happen to the Earth if all humans suddenly disappeared. For no reason… we are just gone. He also looks back at what we have done, partly to compare to things we are doing now and partly so he can look forward in time based on what we’ve done to see what could happen with those things (i.e. nuclear reactors, petroleum refineries, all the plastic we’ve manufactured that has ended up in the oceans, etc.) if we all disappeared.


White, E.B. Charlotte’s Web. New York: Harper, 1952.

Wilbur is a pig and was the runt of his litter. When the farmer wants to kill him, his 8-year old daughter, Fern, won’t let him. She insists she’ll raise him. When Wilbur gets older, though, he is sent to Fern’s uncle’s barn, where Fern visits daily. Wilbur makes friends with many of the other animals in the barn, and his closest friend is a spider, Charlotte. When the other animals warn that Wilbur won’t be alive come Christmas, Charlotte comes up with a plan to save Wilbur’s life.


Blog Post Written By: Cindy Wiebe, Cataloging &  Collections Specialist

Cindy has been working at St. Mary’s since 2001, mostly in the back room as the STMU Cataloguer Extraordinaire. She has three cats and volunteers for the MEOW Foundation. She is on LibraryThing, GoodReads, and she reads a lot!

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