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20 Fabulous Books Under $20

November 28, 2014 | John Elmslie | Comments (6) Facebook Twitter More...

In my job at the library I see new books every day, so I decided to make a list of recent and classic books that cost less than twenty dollars.

Note for shoppers: click on pictures/titles below to go to the library catalogue and a link to "Buy your own copy". If you buy the book through the link the library gets a portion of the sale price. More information.



Fifth Avenue, 5 AM: Audrey Hepburn Breakfast at Tiffany's and the Dawn of the Modern Woman by Sam Wasson. More than just about the movie, this is a social history of the end of the 1950s, when the censors still ruled Hollywood, and the liberation that was to take place in the 60s was bursting to happen.


Pretty Things

A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy by Sarah Lazarovic. For one year, Lazarovic decided not to buy anything. She painted pictures of the things she wanted instead, and meditated on the meaning of wanting and owning. The result is delightful and full of anti-comsumerist insights perfect for this time of year. See some of her work.



The Chairs Are Where the People Go: How to Live, Work and Play in the City, by Misha Glouberman with Sheila Heti. Do you have a friend who is so brilliant and entertaining that if you could only write down all the things they say you'd have a book? This is what Toronto author Sheila Heti did with her friend Misha Glouberman and the result is a minor classic. My favourite chapter answers the question "Why do computers only last three years?" I'll never forget Glouberman's answer. 



The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing, by Marie Kondo. This was recommended to me by a friend who swears it changed her life. And her apartment. Tips on how to organize and declutter my home? Count me in. At the very least it will be an entertaining alternative to actually doing it. ;-)


Young Neil

Young Neil: The Sugar Mountain Years by Sharry Wilson is a biography of the first 20 years in the life of one of Canada's National Living Treasures.



Nicolas is Quebecois artist and writer Pascal Girard's first graphic book. It is a work of mourning -- a tribute to his younger brother who died in childhood.


Shambling Guide

 The Shambling Guide to New York City by Mur Lafferty. From the publisher: "A travel writer takes a job with a shady publishing company in New York, only to find that she must write a guide to the city - for the undead!" Now have a closer look at that book cover.



Go: A Kidd's Guide to Graphic Design by Chip Kidd. Remember the dinosaur skeleton on the cover of Jurassic Park? That was Chip Kidd's work. He has done iconic work for David Sedaris, Augustin Burroughs, Oliver Sacks and many, many others. Go is his how-to-do-it book for kids of all ages. I love Kidd's work. Can't wait to get my hands on this.



On Beauty and Being Just by Elaine Scarry is a philosophical, moral, asthetic and political defence of our pleasure in the beautiful. Published in 2001 it is a perfect gem of a book. Never feel guilty for enjoying beauty again -- it's good for you.



Tender Buttons: The Corrected Centennial Edition by Gertrude Stein. That's right, the most enigmatic text of the modern era was first published 100 years ago in 1914. This is the new standard text of Tender Buttons, based on Stein's own corrections of the first edition. Simple English words have never been used this way before or since. They don't write books like this anymore.



The Unrest-Cure and Other Stories by Saki. Illustrated by Edward Gorey. A selection of some of Saki's most hilarious stories first published in the early decades of the 20th century. Saki's dry pessimism never stales.



Eyewitness Travel Guides: The Italian Riviera. At this time of year do your thoughts turn to warmer climates? Mine do. And I think there are no better guides than Eyewitness Travel, for both actual and armchair travel. Count on them for state of the art photos, drawings and maps.


Food Wine Rome

Food, Wine, Rome (The Terroir Guides) by David Downie was published five years ago, but it is still the best guidebook to the superb restaurants of Rome, in all price ranges. I would love to have the time and means to eat my way through this book, one restaurant at a time.


Traditional Shops Restaurants London

The Traditional Shops and Restaurants of London: a guide to century-old establishments and new classics. This lovely little book covers shops from the 1600s to the present. Also lists websites for armchair shopping.


Film Locations Toronto

World Film Locations: Toronto. Plan your own tour of Toronto locations that have been featured in major motion pictures. Photos with essays on the movies featured. (Cover: Robert Pattinson in David Cronenberg's Cosmopolis, 2012.)


Guest Cat

The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide. A stray cat transforms the lives of a Tokyo couple. This novel is noted for it's moments of exceptional beauty and poetry.



The Map and the Territory by Michel Houellebecq. Do you know the French writer Houellebecq? (Pronounced "well-beck") A friend recommended this to me. "You're a photographer. You'll find it interesting. There is a lot of talk about art." He went on to say that this book shows a new maturity in Houellebecq, that he can no longer be considered a "bad boy". I've been wanting to get into Houellebecq's work, so this looks like a good entry point.



The Polysyllabic Spree: a hilarious and true account of one man's struggle with the monthly tide of the books he's bought and the books he's been meaning to read. A Collection of Fourteen Months of his Essays from The Beleiver Magazine, by Nick Hornby. A candid and absorbing memoir of one man's reading. Hornby is interesting on every page.


Northwest Coast

Northwest Coast Indian Art: An Analysis of Form by Bill Holm. First published in 1965, this book is a classic.



The Flying Creatures of Fra Angelico by Antonio Tabucchi. I'll end on this wild card. I came across this by accident when I was looking for books by Tim Parks, who is the translator. I don't know anything about this but the blurb in the library record makes me want to read it.

*  *  *

If you want to see more fabulous books under $20, here is the list I posted last year.

Tailor Made

November 18, 2014 | Muriel | Comments (8) Facebook Twitter More...

                                     "Clothes make the man."
                                      ~Attributed to Mark Twain

Mark Twain may not have been entirely serious in the above quote,
but men's clothing is certainly making serious money today.  According
to the Toronto Star, "The global menswear market has been wildly
outpacing womenswear, the traditionally dominant portion of the
industry...This is no small potatoes, since the U.S. menswear market
alone is estimated to be worth $60 billion. Internationally that figure
is $400 billion."

  Beau Brummell         Bespoke the Men's Style of Savile Row         The Perfect Gentleman

I grew up admiring men's tailoring, associating it with my father's suits,
and the exquisite illustrations in my favourite Beatrix Potter story,
The Tailor of Gloucester

Beau Brummell (1778-1840), an English Regency dandy, is credited
with introducing full-length trousers to menswear.  Prior to that, men
wore knee breeches, or shorts, and stockings.  Beau Brummell went to
tailors near to Savile Row, a street in Mayfair, London, which is now
renowned for its men's tailors.  Closer to home, Walter Beauchamp Tailors,
here in Toronto, "work in a glass-walled room...and they are the first
thing travellers see if they exit the Bay subway station on Bellair
St. in
Yorkville and look up." - "Toronto retail sector undergoes major facelift", Toronto Star

There are so many details which must be attended to with skill in a
"bespoke," or made-to-measure, suit.  I watched a fascinating video
one afternoon at the Royal Ontario Museum in the Patricia Harris
Gallery of Textiles & Costume. The video was of Toronto tailor
Stavros expertly and swiftly taking measurements for a new suit, 
and of
his employees crafting it, and I was entranced.  See above
for a snippet from the video.

With a Sun Life Financial Museum + Arts Pass you can go for free
to the Royal Ontario Museum.

"Men of the Cloth" is a documentary film I am looking forward to
watching.  It is about three Italian master tailors aged 91, 67 and 66
who reflect on their craft and the lifelong learning it demands.

100 Years of Menswear      Artist Rebel Dandy      Sharp Suits
I come from a family of talented needlewomen who shared their skills and
knowledge of fabric with me, and I have a fascination with all textiles. 
I was interested to learn that Harris Tweed, a handwoven textile from the
Outer Hebrides in Scotland, is protected by a 1993 Act of Parliament,
The Harris Tweed Act!  I remember my father's Harris Tweed jackets,
and how beautiful the wool fabric was, both in texture and colour, and
I am glad its heritage is being safeguarded.

 Patternmaking For Menswear       Harris Tweed      The Victorian Tailor

 History of Men's Fashion            The Cut of His Coat            Vintage Menswear

Well-tailored Hollywood stars have influenced men's fashion, and
Gregory Peck, Cary Grant and George Clooney come to my mind as
exemplifying classic tailored movie star style.  Modern trendsetters
such as Ryan Gosling, Pharrell Williams with his marvellous
Vivienne Westwood hat, and soccer star David Beckham, truly are
men who make the clothes memorable.

         Icons of Men's Style      Cary Grant      George Clooney


       Ryan Gosling    Pharrell    David Beckham     

Canzine 2014

November 17, 2014 | Brent | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Zine culture is in the middle of a surprising boom in the city. Canzine was just over two weeks ago and in addition to Zine Dream in August and the Toronto Queer Zine Fair in October, there are scores of zine events and small press fairs all over the city. The Beguiling has a collection of locally published indie comics on their front counter and even my local gluten free bakers, Through Being Cool, have a wall of zines just to the right of the pastry.

It's a good time for independent and underground print media.

But first, some long overdue thanks. Chelsea Watt and Youth&Rust had an awesome show this summer at the Black Cat gallery. The Toronto Reference Library now has a great collection of their work documenting the punk scene in Hamilton. My own favorite is “heavy” a wordless fold out that’s not only a great document of the mosh pit but also ironically a beautiful (even fragile) paper object .

Chelsea Watt

The second round of thanks goes to Aaron Manczyk who supplied us with a replacement copy of his comic “No Nookie in the North.” As you might guess from that title, Aaron’s comics are the definition of "Not Safe for Work" and (as you can see by the reception for his latest comic) awesomeness.

And now to some of the new additions from Canzine:

Sam Noir has made a name for himself doing pitch perfect mashups of cartoon greats. His Sergio Aragonés tribute, Holmes vs Moriarty, will be joining our Arthur Conan Doyle Collection. JS Longstreet is responsible for the flawless visuals which join Mad magazine and steampunk.

Sam Noir

Julie Agro was a new name to me but her Hockneyesque drawings of a sleeping poodle are *really* impressive.

Julie Agro

Shuster award winners Matthew Daley & Cory McCallum bring a 50s retro vibe to their indie comic Errol Dynamic: all right angles, arcs and rounded corners. And not only is it stylish, it also has its own promotional Youtube video:


Superheroes in St. James Town? Originally published as a "subscription comic" Kat Verhoeven's Towerkind joins humble materials with mad drawing skills to produce a 13 part superhero serial complete with a mysterious object hurtling towards earth.


Last year the library was able to pick a slew of zines produced by Oasis Skateboard Factory. This year we were able to score two volumes of the West Enders from West End Alternative Secondary School.

West Enders

That's just a fraction of the new material on the 5th floor of Toronto Reference Library. Look for our expanded zine collection just beside our Graphic Novels in the Arts Department.

We honour Remembrance Day with vintage WW 1 aeroplane airplane postcards

November 9, 2014 | Bill V. | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

On Remembrance Day we respectfully pause to reflect on the sacrifice of the military, their families, the victims, casualties and society as a whole make during War.

It's hard to understand today, 100 years after the start of "The War to End All Wars", how much technological changes radically influenced battles. The tank, poison gas, faster and longer reaching artillery and hand guns, trench warfare and the airplane were either introduced or exploited in World War I.

Below are several vintage WW I era aeronautics postcards from the collection of the Toronto Reference Library. 


French Military Aeroplane vintage WW1 postcard by International News Service of NY mailed 1915

This French military aeroplane colored lithograph was mailed in 1915 from Fredericton by George Elliott to his "Mamma" Mrs T. J. Elliott in St John New Brunswick.  The copyright is International News Service of NY but it has an acronym on the back W.C.A 145.

George sent the "German Dirigible Hansa arriving at Potsdam Harbor" to his sister Gertrude at the same time.  It's copyright is Underwood and Underwood and it has the same acronym W.C.A 145. I think there must have been a packet of different cards sold together that young George bought. 

The dirigible (more commonly known as Zeppelin) as a weapon was another WW I era innovation.

German Dirigible Hansa arriving at Potsdam Harbor by Underwood & Underwood circa 1915


The dogfight was new in WW I with the advent of airplane duels in the sky and quickly caught the imagination of many. 

La Nation Glorieuse French postcard WW1 dogfight in air
La Nation Glorieuse 1914 - 1915 Nos valeureaux Aviateurs combattant dans les airs. WW 1 postcard.

This French postcard from WW I shows a dogfight between a French aviator and a losing German pilot.   It's published at the time by E. Brocherioux of 33, rue du Docteur-Blanche Paris.  The artist is E. Ploix. 


I end with this comic card dated January 1st 1918, sent from a convalescent soldier, Reg, to his mother-in-law Mrs Charles Earl of 576 Pape Avenue, Toronto. It's published by J. Salmon of Sevenoaks England. We previously know Reg from his Silk postcard sent to Miss Nellie Earl, of the same address, in 1917.

Look Ma, I've caught a German Aeroplane.

Look Ma, I've caught a German Aeroplane back January 1st 1918
Dear Irish, just a few lines trusting they will find you ... a bon? as they leave me ... a loo. Righto well Irish I am at a Convalescent Hospital at present but expect to leave here soon on my sick leave so hurry up and come over and we will have a time taking in the sights together. I expect to be on my way home soon. I have not heard from Eddie lately. Nighty Night your loving son in law Reg.  January 1st 1918 Kent England. Addressed to Mrs Charles Earl 576 Pape Ave. Toronto.


The new technology of airplanes caught on in Canada as well.  Below is a photo from 1916 of the Curtiss Flying School Toronto, showing a graduating class of young airmen - this image is from the Digital Archive of Toronto Public Library.   There is further information about the Curtiss school at this PDF.

Curtiss Flying School-Class of July 1916-Toronto.; Also inscribed in the photograph with names of individuals.


If you're interested in Canadian aviation history you would likely enjoy the free program on Billy Bishop happening at North York Central Library on Tuesday November 11, 2014.  Join aviation historian Keith Hyde speaking on the life of pilot William Avery "Billy" Bishop, V.C. war hero and legend..6:30-8 pm.

Captain William A. Bishop, seated in the cockpit of his Nieuport Scout, on August 6, 1917


The current show on at the TD Gallery, Main Level, Toronto Reference Library is called Four Families, One War from November 1, 2014 to January 15, 2015. It has a section on pioneer Canadian aviator Edward Rochfort Grange (1892-1988). When war broke out, he had just completed his degree in civil engineering, and was finishing up his summer job. He quickly returned home to Toronto, completed his aviation training, and signed on with the British Royal Naval Air Service. Rochfort served as a pilot until 1916, when he transferred to the newly formed Royal Canadian Air Force, becoming one of Canada’s first flying aces.  The show is a real treat to see. 

There is also a virtual exhibit that you can view online. The show features many World War One Canadian military posters. If this is an area of interest you can also see one of our earlier blog posts on this subject.  If you would like to see a broad selection of our WW1 posters please look at our Pinterest page - otherwise you can also look at our digital archive.   We also have an extensive collection of World War II posters.


For other Toronto Public Library blogs done to honour Remembrance Day see:

You may also enjoy the virtual exhibit of World War II posters and ephemera from the 2005 show "Canadians on Guard: The Home Front 1939 – 1945".


About 65,000 Canadians died in World War I. Canadian soldiers distinguished themselves in many military battles including Somme, Ypres, Vimy and Passchendaele.  Most of our dead are buried overseas in France. When the War was over soldiers returned to a warm welcome but the society they had left had changed and the scars they carried from the War often stayed with them.

WATERS, PERCY, florist, Danforth Ave., s. side, betw. Hampton & Logan Aves.

Percy Waters florist, Danforth Ave., between Hampton & Logan Aves circa 1918.




Prince performs at Toronto Public Library (sort of)

November 5, 2014 | Bill V. | Comments (4) Facebook Twitter More...

Now that I have your attention ..... Toronto Public Library has CDs, music scores and biographies on Prince all for free and you don't have to stand in the rain.

Prince by Matt Thorne


I would die 4 you Why Prince became an icon by Toure      Prince  inside the music and the masks by Ronin Ro

This is one of Prince's newest albums. If you saw him recently on SNL you would recognize the glasses. We have a wide range of his music and albums available on CD and also as e-music through Hoopla!


3121 (CD) by Prince  Musicology (CD) by Prince


There are several sheet music collections featuring the music of Prince. 

Ultimate (Sheet Music) by Prince    The very best of Prince (sheet music)


There are even some of his performances live on DVD:    

Prince live at Las Vegas (DVD)   Prince Purple Rain (DVD)

And then there is 21 Nights by Prince with photographer Randee St Nicholas. This multimedia volume explores one tour through photogrpahy, lyrics, poetry and text.

21 Nights Prince - book and CD photography poetry music and lyrics










Vinyl: digging in the crates at the Toronto Reference Library

October 30, 2014 | Beau | Comments (5) Facebook Twitter More...

Did you know the Toronto Public Library (TPL) has a collection of vinyl records? Up on the 5th floor of the Toronto Reference Library there are over 15,000 LPs available for patrons to listen to, although they can't be signed out and taken home. Back in the day, every branch in the city used to lend out records the way they do CDs and DVDs now; when I'm out looking for vinyl I still see them in thrift stores from time to time, with the branch name stamped on the cover and due date slips attached.

Records at Toronto Reference Library

 The library's collection includes a treasure trove of classic rock:

Bachman Turner Overdrive - Not Fragile

Spoken word:
The Jack Kerouac Collection


Various plays

Folk music from every corner of the globe:

Music Of The World's Peoples

Documentaries and experimental music:

Glenn Gould - The Idea Of North                        

And classical and opera:

A Hundred Years of Italian Opera

But I'm a jazz guy, so that's what I came to have a look at. And there was no shortage of it, from swing to bebop to free jazz to '70s jazz-funk:

 Count Basie - On My Way and Shoutin' Again Assorted jazz records

McCoy Tyner - Expansions  Airto Fingers

So if you've got an interest in music or vinyl, or both, come on over and sit down with a record or three at one of our listening stations, also located up on the fifth floor:

Listening station at Toronto Reference Library

If you’d like to dig through the TPL’s digital crates to see what we’ve got, here is the complete list of our vinyl collection.

How I spent an enjoyable afternoon with Blow and Guinness.

October 27, 2014 | Bill V. | Comments (3) Facebook Twitter More...

I bow before the fashion genius and daring that was stylist Isabella Blow. Her friend and fashionista Daphne Guinness used some of her own family fortune and influence to buy the entire clothing estate of the late Blow (who sadly died of suicide in 2007). 

Toronto you have a rare, free and very short window (until November 1st) to see some amazing modern couture fashion - never again to be seen in person or this close up. I spent Saturday afternoon gazing in wonder in "The Room" at the Bay's Queen Street location (3rd floor) which is showing 55 items from Isabella Blow's personal collection.

Ah "The Room"...... it is no longer the staid but expensive "St Regis Room" your grandmother might have frequented for that something special back in the 1960s courtesy of Margery Steele. It's now full of vintage Alexander McQueen and sliced leather.

Isabella Blow  a life in fashion

There are many iconic and couture dresses as well as some amazing accessories including shoes and hats. As well, Daphne Guinness has added some pieces from her own personal substantial collection.

Blow by Blow  the story of Isabella Blow written by her husband Detmar Blow 

Toronto has a smaller exhibit than the original show at Somerset House London but it still has many choice pieces (you can see the catalogue for the full show below). You may well know the pictures of the pink chiffon burka but to see it in person is something very different. They have intentionally been kept as they were during Blow's lifetime - so there are stains and rips which make them only that much more real in my mind. She had a small figure so I was especially struck by the rips in one lace sheath along the back zipper and edges (exactly where you would sit and where the pressure would be greatest). It's hard not to be touched by the well worn Manolo Blahnik pumps that have the broken heel.

Isabella Blow Fashion Galore! The original catalogue of the show from Somerset House London - published by Rizzoli Press
A beautifully photographed insider’s look at the highly influential personal style and wardrobe of Isabella Blow. She had a gift for spotting fashion genius—her discoveries included Alexander McQueen, Hussein Chalayan, and Sophie Dahl.  Isabella’s ...boundaries-pushing aesthetics, and her willingness to wear the outrageous made her into a fashion icon. This elaborate volume to accompany the fall 2013 exhibition—is an exhaustive survey of Isabella’s personal collection. With over 100 gorgeous full-color and black-and-white photographs.

The hats by Philip Treacy are quite spectacular. While many images of her in the hats are quite ubiquitous, the single eye patch with feather and Swarovski crystal and the variation of bird feathers as spears are really quite something else. For the serious milliner or lover of hats it's worth going just to see these.

Philip Treacy by Kevin Davies    Philip Treacy When Philip Met Isabella

The show at The Bay is part of wider fundraising initiative by The Isabella Blow Foundation & Daphne Guinness that will see a Canadian student sponsored at the Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design (including fashion). Additional money raised will be going to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health / CAMH. 

Daphne Guinness


New Music 101: New Adventures in Sound Art and Christina Petrowska Quilico

October 20, 2014 | Brent | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

New Music Ganner

On Monday, November 3rd, New Music 101 finishes its Fall season with guests from New Adventures in Sound Art, and pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico. The music series features the best in new classical and contemporary music.

New Adventures in Sound Art recently kicked off its month long SOUNDplay series with a special presentation of Hive 2.0 by Hopkins Duffield (Daniele Hopkins and Kyle Duffield) as part of Scotiabank Nuit Blanche.

[This is from an earlier version Hive 1.0]


Now in its 13th year, the series includes multi-media performances, installations, and screenings. Most of the events will take place at NAISA Space—part of the Artscape Wychwood Barns at 601 Christie St #252--but be sure to check out their website for the full schedule.

For their performance at Toronto Reference Library, NAISA will utilize Audio Spotlight, directional speakers, in a mobile performance walk using the acoustics of the branch.

The loudspeaker produces ultrasonic waves that are very narrowly focused. They only become audible once they are dispersed through the atmosphere (or bounced off a surface). There’s a fuller explanation in an article at the Canadian Electroacoustic Community website


A child prodigy, Petrowska Quilico played a wide rage of the cannon from Bach, Beethoven and Chopin to Boulez but decided to specialize in Modernists like Stockhausen and Messiaen. She has introduced more than 100 new works over her career including the first performances of over 16 piano concertos

She has more than 30 CDs to her name and has appeared at  prestigious New York venues such as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center.

   Gems    Gems with an edge

    Pondlife   Portraits

Petrowska-Quilico is closely associated with the piano music of Ann Southam. Her 2011 recording of Southam’s work Glass Houses Revisited, received  four stars reviews from both the Toronto Star and Globe and Mail.

Here’s an excerpt from Glass Houses #12


She created over 100 paintings during the creation of her double album, Visions: Rhapsodies & Fantasias, featuring the music of composer Constantine Caravassilis. The title refers to Caravassilis’ synesthesia (in other words he can *see* music as colours) and remarkably many of the pianists’ paintings were similar to the composers.


Please join us for this free program at 7 PM on Monday, November 3rd at the Hinton Learning Theatre on the third floor of Toronto Reference Library. 

  image from

Library Books at Home 5

October 9, 2014 | John Elmslie | Comments (6) Facebook Twitter More...

 Every week I look forward to sitting down with a new stack of library books.

1 Library

It was sunny last Sunday, so I turned off my phone and settled in for some private time.

2 Library

I've already had a quick flip through these. They are all real goodies.

3 Library

Nature Morte: Contemporary Artists Reinvigorate the Still-Life Tradition. Wait 'til you see!

4 Library

This fish by Jed Quinn caught my eye. It is called The Myth of Metals, (oil on linen, 2012).

5 Library

The little glazed stoneware sculpture on the left is by Klara Kristalova. The text says, "Her sinister Black Pansy is wholly lacking the cheerful delicacy of this familiar flower." They've got that right, and what a hilarious way to say it!

6 Library

Christopher Williams, the photographer of Rittersport (above), says he prefers to stand beside the camera rather than behind it. What this means is he hires studio professionals to take the pictures he wants to see. How interesting.

7 Library 

One more still life. Rabbit with Curlers, 2010, by Nancy Fouts. Yes, that is a taxidermy rabbit. 

8 Library

If you like French painting you may feel you've seen all there is to see from Montmartre. Esprit Montmartre: Bohemian Life in Paris Around 1900 surprised me. It is full of art I've never seen before.

9 Library

Like these paintings by Ramon Casas from 1890/91. I don't know Casas. I'll certainly look for more from him.

10 Library

And these paintings jumped out at me as being quite fresh. That's another Casas on the left (from 1891). That's Santiago Rusiñol's Sacré-Coeur in Construction, from about 1890.

11 Library

Nice Picasso sketch -- La Buveuse d'absinthe (The Absinthe Drinker), 1901. Looks like Colette.

12 Library

That's a painting by Kees van Dongen on the left, and by Alexis Mérodack-Jeanneau on the right.

13 Library

Auguste Chaubaud is new to me as well. These paintings from 1908/09 (on the left) and from 1907 give me a powerful impression of walking around Montmartre at night. You can hear the music pumping out of those clubs.

14 Library

Inventing Abstraction 1910-1925: How a Radical Idea Changed Modern Art was a hit show last year at the Museum of Modern Art. This is the catalogue and, again, it is full of wonderful work I've never seen before.

15 Library

I love these paper-collage endpapers by Sonia Delaunay-Terk, 1914. So simple and yet very strong and fresh considering they are 100 years old.

16 Library

And how about this watercolour, gouache and pencil drawing on paper by Francesco Cangiullo. Great Crowd in the Piazza del Popolo, 1914. I'd love to see the original but it's in a private collection.

17 Library

Ivan Kliun: Studies in Colour, c. 1917. Oil on cardboard. There is something very satisfying about these shapes and the way they have been placed in the frame. Nice.

18 Library

I'll end with these unusual paintings by Aleksandr Rodchenko: Pure Red Colour, Pure Yellow Colour, Pure Blue Colour, 1921. I find this both restful and intense. So simple.

19 Library

OK. Now back the real world. Thanks for joining me.


More: Library Books at HomeLibrary Books at Home 2Library Books at Home 3 and Library Books at Home 4.

Subways, Subways, Subways

October 3, 2014 | Bill V. | Comments (8) Facebook Twitter More...

All the talk about subways has gotten me thinking about books, books, books. There is a vibrant publishing and artistic culture around international subways including:


New York:

 The city beneath us building the New York subway    New York's forgotten substations the power behind the subway   

      Subway by Bruce Davidson

Helvetica and the New York City subway system  the true (maybe) story


Subway Art  25th anniversary edition by Martha Cooper Art and the Subway New York Underground Meet Miss Subways  New York's beauty queens 1941-1976

Subway style 100 years of architecture & design in the New York City subway

Many are called by Walker Evans (vintage photographs of New York City subway passengers from the 1940s)  Life below  the New York City subway



Paris underground the maps, stations, and design of the Métro

Metronome A History of Paris from the Underground Up  Discover Paris by Métro  Metrostop Paris History From The City's Heart

Passengers photography book by Chris Marker




    London Transport Posters A Century of Art and Design see also Frank Pick's London : art, design and the modern city.  The moving metropolis  a history of London's transport since 1800

The tube station to station on the London underground

Underground  keeping London moving, 1863-2013   The subterranean railway  how the London Underground was built and how it changed the city forever

London underground  architecture, design and history




Underground Travels on the Global Metro

The Great Society subway  a history of the Washington Metro  Metro  the story of the underground railway

Transit maps of the world


For a different approach you may want to read the Book Buzz blog post Subways, Subways, Subways which talks about Toronto's subways in fiction.













The library's blog devoted to the discovery of diverse artistic and cultural works in the library and Toronto. For more information on what the library has to offer please see our Theatre & Performing Arts page