Make mine a #50BookstoWellnessChallenge – Marilyn’s take

This is a guest post from Marilyn Marinus, one of the amazing staff members of the Pemberton and District Public Library. I love the library because, yes, I am a book nerd. Also, because, in all other aspects of my life, I try to practice some restraint, but in the library, one is not judged if one cannot resist borrowing 2 or 6 or 20 books, even if one isn’t possibly going to finish reading them in a reasonable period of time. I revel in the abundance. (Okay, confession. I usually eat candy by the bagfull, so I’m really just lying when I say I try to practice restraint. But at the library, going overboard is guilt-free.) Thirdly, as Karen Tomlinson, library board member, teacher, wellness challengee and past Citizen of the Year recently shared, the library is pretty much the equivalent of a time machine and rocket ship all rolled up in one. Through the library, you can go anywhere.

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And finally, because, when I first moved to Pemberton, knowing nobody, with roots so shallow (and an accent so strong) that a fierce wind would have blown me back to Australia, the staff at the library treated me like a member of the community. And they strive to do that to everyone. 

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Marilyn’s #50DayWellnessChallenge was one of my favourite approaches, and now, as a new mom, totally in over my head, and hoping desperately that through my kid I’ll be able to learn about lots of stuff that I don’t know and am not good at but really want to be good at, I’m so heartened. It’s okay that I’m not “ready”. Or “good enough.” We can work it out together.

We all are, right? And what safer place to take those questions, than the library, where the staff are champions for curiosity and totally respect what it means to go out of your comfort zone. Over to Marilyn:

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Lisa Richardson challenged me. #50DayWellnessChallenge she asked of all of us. I tweaked it a little bit: #50BooksToWellnessChallenge. I can do that!

I wasn’t a great reader when I was little. Every one of my report cards stated “Marilyn needs to practice her reading.” I just couldn’t get it! I became frustrated and embarrassed because the teachers kept calling on me to read out loud to the class. What a perfect way to make the shy girl who couldn’t read hide more inside herself.

My dad was a logger, who always encouraged reading but worked long hours. Mom was busy with all us five kids and keeping us happy and fed. It was my grandmother who encouraged me and had the patience and time to sit and listen to me read. I would walk across the lawn to go to her house and read ‘A fish out of water’ to her and her two cats. Without her I don’t think my life path would have been quite the same.

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I continued to struggle through elementary & high school but at least I was reading. I was feeling pretty good about it. I wasn’t fast, I wasn’t reading “literature” or “the classics” but I was happy I was starting to get it. I was proud of myself when I actually finished a book.

When I was 21 and a mom of a 6 month old, my mother encouraged me to apply for a part time job posted at the
library. I thought it was a crazy idea. Who would want to hire me? Me, who still wasn’t an avid reader. I couldn’t even name the top 10 books of the year at the time.



I didn’t get hired for the position but 8 months down the road, Jan Naylor called to see if I wanted to do a small 4 hour shift at the library. My world changed forever that day. All of a  sudden I was surrounded by books! My senses went on overload. Seeing, feeling, and smelling all those books, created a whole new world for me. My
limit was 30 items and I made sure I used up my whole card on children’s books & mysteries. My bag was never big enough, my arms never long enough. I was overflowing with beautiful books. I drove my husband crazy. 

“How many books do you need?” he would say. 

“All of them!” I would reply.

After all these years, I look back and am grateful that I got to read and learn along with my children. Days of being curled up on the couch together as we read ‘James and the giant peach’, summer holidays of reading ‘The wizard of oz’. My most enjoyable moments have been reading with my children. The simple pleasure of them curled in my lap, loving me, trusting me, comforting me as they helped me grow out of my shell and I showed them the love of reading. Life doesn’t get better then that!

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I’ve been with the library for 22 years now and I can’t imagine working anywhere else.

Thanks Pemberton Library for helping me continually grow to great wellness ❤️

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My list of #50BooksToWellnessChallenge are books that challenged me. Books that I connected with.  Books that literally fell off the shelf in front of me saying “Read me!”

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A fish out of water – Helen Palmer
Daring Greatly – Brene Brown
Robinson Crusoe – Daniel Defoe
Jacob Two-Two meets the Hooded Fang – Mordecai Richler
Alfred Hitchcock!
The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien
Go ask Alice -Anonymous
The Chrysalids – John Wyndham
Embraced by the light – Betty J. Sadie
Village of the small houses – Ian Ferguson
Grizzlies in my backyard – Beth Day
Into the wild – Jon Krakauer
Wizard of oz -Frank Braum
Romeo and Juliet – William Shakespeare
My fathers dragon – Ruth Stiles Gannett
Franklin’s blanket – Paulette Bourgeois
Angela’s Ashes – Frank McCourt
Missing Joseph – Elizabeth George
Still Alice – Lisa Genova
Families of the world – Helen Tremblay
Poldark series -13 in series – Winston Graham
Potato factory – Bryce Courtney
7 habits of highly effective people – Stephen R. Covey
What makes Olga run – Bruce Grierson
Cool water – Dianne Warren
Women’s bodies, women’s wisdom – Christine Northrup
Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
The bitch in the house : – Cathie Hanauer
Finnie Walsh – Steven Galloway
When the body says no : the cost of hidden stress – Gabor Mate, M.D.
Amphibian – Carla Gunn
Touch – Alexi Zentner
Absolutely true story of a part time Indian – Sherman Alexie
The heart does break – Jean Baird
Lobster king – Alexi Zentner
The bears embrace : a story of survival – Patricia Van Tighem
A yellow raft in blue water – Michael Dorris
28 : stories of AIDS in Africa – Stephanie Nolen
The Deptford Trilogy – Robertson Davies
Some become flowers:Living with dying at home – Sharon Brown
The fault in our stars – John Green
Uncommon will : the death and life of Sue Rodriguez – Lisa H. Birnie
Death on the ice: The great Newfoundland sealing disaster of 1914 – Cassie Brown
The beggars garden – Michael Christie
The story of Ferdinand – Munro Leaf
Anything by Bill Peet
James and the giant peach – Roald Dahl
The snow goose – Paul Gallico
The concubine’s children – Denise Chong
The Stranger – Albert Camus

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What are your top 10 books? How many of these have you read? What book challenged or inspired you? We’d love to hear your comments below.
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