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Mar 26, 2020

Shelf-Isolation (a.k.a. What We're Reading Right Now)

Reading is something that many of us loved as kids, but as we grow up and our days get busier, it’s often not high on our list of priorities. Yet there is something special about books...

Hayley Sellick | Marketing & Communications

When the world is full of trouble, books can give you a place to escape to, even just for a little while. Today, we’re sharing the books that the CCC Team are currently reading, as well as a list of independent bookstores in Calgary that are offering delivery, so you can get your reading fix in without even leaving your house.


I usually spend a decent chunk of time commuting into the office each day, which means I fly through audiobooks. Since I’ve been working from home, I’m not getting that listening time in as easily, so instead I’ve been dedicating extra time to reading the books I have on my shelf. As someone who is very motivated by numbers and stats, the Goodreads Reading Challenge is what keeps me on track. If you’re a booklover and haven’t heard of Goodreads, you’re missing out; it’s a reading tracker, book recommender, social media and review site, rolled into one. Definitely go check it out!

I’m currently reading ‘The Year of Living Danishly’ by Helen Russell. With Denmark regularly topping the lists as ‘the happiest nation on Earth’, this book looks at the secrets of their happiness and how we can benefit from living a little more Danishly ourselves.


When we graduated from high school, a friend of mine decided to move to Edmonton (?!) so we started a little book club to stay connected. We would meet twice a month via FaceTime to catch up and talk about our monthly read. A little while ago, she moved back to Calgary (!) so we could start meeting in person. We’ve since deemed the club “ultra-exclusive”, and it’s going to stay that way unless we find another person that can show the same amount of dedication we did when we both drove to Red Deer to watch Crazy Rich Asians in theatres together after reading the book. Or unless someone asks (none of our friends ever have).

Now is not the time to be meeting up at local coffee shops to talk about books (#PhysicalDistancing), so we’ve fallen back into our old rhythm of FaceTime chats. On the bright side, I didn’t have to get choked up talking about Still Alice in public. The story of Dr. Alice Howland’s devastating struggle with early-onset Alzheimer’s punched me in the gut more times than I care to admit, and I’m bracing myself to watch Julianne Moore in her Oscar-winning performance of this. Maybe I’ll just watch some clips of Jack Donaghy and Nancy Donovan instead.


Did you know I recently had cataract surgery? At the age of 40? True story. (I couldn’t see very well out of my left eye during this past year’s September Games. Surprise!) Due to what became a very advanced cataract in my left eye followed by surgery at the end of January/beginning of February on both eyes, I haven’t actually been able to read a book for a while. It’s only been in the past few weeks that I’ve regained the ability to focus on smaller print.

To celebrate the fact that I can finally read a book again, I’m jumping into an old favourite – George Plimpton’s “Shadow Box: An Amateur in the Ring.” This book starts with Plimpton getting in the ring with Archie Moore, the World Light Heavyweight Champion at the time. It then details his introduction and subsequent friendship with Muhammad Ali as he travels to Zaire to cover “The Rumble in the Jungle.” Anyway, for a former aspiring journalist (what could have been, Kamloops Daily News) this is great stuff!


Being pregnant during a global pandemic has been interesting, to say the least. Even before this new reality, as a first time mom, I was incredibly anxious about pretty much everything - do I get that sandwich without mayo? Is it bad to run to catch the train? 

While I’ve become somewhat accustomed to pregnancy, the anxiety still comes in waves. Some days are much better than others, of course. But as time goes on and I adapt to all of these changes, I’m working on taking in information and not letting it spin me into a nervous wreck. In the moments where I am at peace, I’ve been reading Expecting Better by Emily Oster. It’s not your typical pregnancy book; the author is a Professor of Economics. She breaks down the actual statistics of the advice given to pregnant people and gives the reader the chance to make informed decisions based on the research and data that exists. 

Local Independent Bookstores

Many of the bookstores in Calgary are now offering delivery so you can support local independent businesses and get your hands on a brand new read!

Shelf Life Books - Currently accepting phone or online orders for curb-side pick-up or home delivery, including free contactless delivery on local orders. You can inquire by emailing or by phone at 403-265-1033.

The Next Page - Offering free delivery in the Calgary area. You can order online or by phone at 403-452-6550.

Pages on Kensington - Sister bookshop to The Next Page, Pages is also offering free delivery in Calgary. Orders can be placed online or by phoning 403-283-6655.

Owl’s Nest Books - Calgary’s longest-established bookstore is offering free local delivery and curb-side pickup for online orders. 

What are you reading right now? Share your recommendations with us!