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Taking Pictures of Dogs

March 28, 2014 | John Elmslie | Comments (8) Facebook Twitter More...

A woman came into the Reference Library last week and told me she wanted to take pictures of dogs. She was looking for inspiration.

Erwitts to the dogs

Elliot Erwitt's classic collection To The Dogs came immediately to mind.


We don't have William Wegman's Puppies at the Reference Library, but she liked the cover enough to put a hold on the book.

Wegman polaroids

We went to the shelf and found this collection of Wegman's oversized Polaroids. Are you familiar with Wegman's famous portraits of his dog Fay Ray?

Photographing dogs

On the "how to do it" shelf we found an entire book devoted to Photographing Dogs.


Back to inspirational books: The Silence of Dogs in Cars is a recent collection by Martin Usborne. Note: no dogs were left in cars longer than was necessary to take these unsurpassed pictures of pathos.


Here's another picture from The Silence of Dogs in Cars.


In Animal Farm Daniel Naudé evokes a proud and monumental mood.


 Andrew Knapp's Find Momo is playful and surprising.

Saw me

One last suggestion: Animals That Saw Me is a collection by Ed Panar of animals that, well... saw him.


Including these two sweet examples.


Inspired yet?

Need more art in your life?

February 28, 2014 | John Elmslie | Comments (3) Facebook Twitter More...

Ever feel that you've lost touch with the world of art? Here are trailers for five stunning documentaries that will help catch you up -- and the library has the DVDs.

Five reasons to get excited about art again.


Pina, DVDPina: the film and the dancers, bookPina by Win Wenders is full of thrilling dance from choreographer Pina Bausch's Tanztheater Wuppertal (Wuppertal Dance Theatre).

Note: Tanztheater Wuppertal is bringing a superb piece, Kontakthof, to this years Luminato Festival in June.



Gerhard Richter Painting, DVD. If you are not familiar with the work of Gerhard Richter, this documentary will show you why you might want to become better aquanted.



The Artist is Present, DVDThe Artist is Present, book. Performance artist, Marina Abramović made herself a household name with this solo show at the Museum of Modern Art.

If you would like to see Abramović performing seven canonic performance art pieces, I recommend this fine documentary: Seven Easy Pieces, DVD.



The Eye Has to Travel, DVDThe Eye Has to Travel, book. Diana Vreeland worked at Harpers Bazaar and Vogue magazine from 1936 to 1971. Bob Colacello quotes her "She would say, You are not supposed to give people what they want, you're supposed to give them what they don't know they want yet."



Bill Cunningham New York, DVD. Independant photographer Bill Cunningham is still taking fashion pictures on the streets of New York City. Cunningham says, "You see if you don't take money they can't tell you what to do. That's the key to the whole thing."  


Art:21 Season 6, DVDArt:21, DVDs and books. If you've read this far here's an extra treat. There are now six seasons of a very enjoyable series  of mini-documentaries called Art:21. The series features some of the best known and most exciting contemporary artists as well as fascinating artists who were unknown to me.  

2014 New Music 101 junctQin Keyboard Collective

February 26, 2014 | Bill V. | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Join us for this year's New Music 101 series with The junctQin Keyboard Collective at the Beeton Auditorium, Toronto Reference Library on Monday March 3 2014 from 7 - 8:30 pm.

This is a free event and all are welcome.


The junctQin Keyboard Collective


The members of junctQin will offer an exciting overview of their collaborative history, and the unique instrumentation they use in performance. The presentation will include score samples, and demonstrations of instruments such as music tables and punch-tapes.




The fourth annual series New Music 101: "Pushing the Boundaries of Sound and Performance" is an exciting and unique opportunity to explore new directions in contemporary music!


New Music 101 is a free public education event, presented by members of the Toronto New Music Alliance (TNMA) with the support of the Toronto Public Library.  Hosted by freelance Toronto Star music critic and active blogger John Terauds, the sessions will include engaging presentations that combine discussions, performances, and other demonstrations, in order to highlight different themes in contemporary music while also promoting local concert presenting organizations.

There are two more concerts later in March:



Read more  blog posts about New Music 101 series editions 2011, 2012 and 2013.


If you are interested in learning more about new music and all music - please visit us on the 5th floor of the Toronto Reference Library at the Arts Department. Some of our resources are:

  • Books and journals on all aspects of music
  • 45,000 music scores (classical, popular, musical theatre) - many can be borrowed
  • Over 20,000 LPs and 21,000 CDs for in-library listening
  • Clipping files on Canadian performers and organizations
  • Collection of Toronto area concert programs
  • Free online access to streaming classical music from Naxos Music Library -thousands of recordings (library card required)
  • Arts & Culture blog at
  • Arts reference desk: 416-393-7157 or


At the Reference Library you can also read the Musicworks Magazine (3 times per year) - Canada's new music magazine dedicated to experimental music,


Naxis Music LibraryIf you haven't used Naxos Music Library yet - the Library's streaming music database - why not give it a try. It is  great way to enjoy thousands of recordings at the convenience of your home, by a mobile device (there is a Naxos app that can be easily downloaded) or at any computer with Internet that allows you to login with your valid Toronto Public Library card.


Naxos Music Library JazzAnd attention jazz lovers! Naxos Jazz is here! We have just added one more Naxos edition to the long list of online resources that the Library is subscribing for its users - listen to a comprehensive collection of jazz legends and contemporary  jazz. Includes labels such as Blue Note, EMI, Warner Jazz and Fantasy  Jazz.




Vintage Valentine's Day postcards

February 12, 2014 | Bill V. | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

There is something a tiny bit voyeuristic in reading the messages on old postcards.

Last year I wrote a detailed blog post on vintage Valentine's Day postcards in the Toronto Public Library collection - showing two of my all time favorites - "My Heart Pants for You" and "Love in a Sausage". 

This year I share one charming image and one image with an interesting Toronto connection.

Below is a vibrantly colored postcard showing two children dressed as clowns or stock characters of pantomine and Commedia dell'Arte. 

Valentine clown

I find the back of this card as equally charming as the front. Hand written by a child in pencil: " To Franklin from Louis Hewer".   The Metropolitan Postcard Club of New York City has a very handy online alphabetical list of postcard manufactuers and they tell us about the maker:

International Art Publishing Co. Ltd.   (1895-1914) New York, NY  In 1895 Wolf & Co. and the Art Lithographic Publishing Co. founded this subsidiary (International Art Publishing Co.) to take over production of their holiday and souvenir cards. Samuel Garre, the manager of the Art Lithographic Publishing Company assumed management of this new entity. They would grow into an important publisher of artist signed cards, which were printed in Germany."  They also handily show us the clear mark for the company.

Valentine clown back jpg

More disturbing is the card below mailed February 1910.  A woman in the centre of a spider's net dangling a man on a string - is she the cliche woman ensnaring a man? An odd card to mail to someone - especially to a young woman. Anonymous, we can only imagine was it sent by her beau or by a friend as a joke?  It was kept though, so I like to think it was meant well.  It was produced by the company P. Sanders of New York is done in low relief and includes glitter highlighting the hearts and the figures.


Valentine spider web


The card was mailed to Miss Hazel Pursey of 399 King Street East in Toronto.  Using the online Might's Toronto City Directory you can look this address up and in 1912 find Mrs Susan Pursey (widow of Frank) living there with her daughters, Miss Hazel Pursey (student) and Miss Laura Pursey (stenographer with Jose & Withers - Real Estate and Insurance Brokers 30 Victoria Street). 


Valentine spider postcard back


The Toronto Reference Library and North York Central Library both provide in library only online access to Using this resource we can look into the 1901 Canadian Census and find that Frank Pursey, Hazel's father, was a druggist and of English background. A Francis J. Pearce married Susan (Beale) on August 5, 1891. The family name seems to change or have spelling variants.  Hazel is listed as being born in May 15 1894. By the time of this card it looks like her father has died (see Might's directory above listing Susan as a widow) although there is no firm record of his death.

Susan Pursey was born Susan Beale in 1868 and is listed as a daughter of Francis and Mariah Beale. Francis Beale is listed as Irish born and a bricklayer although builder might be more accurate as in fact he built the buildings at 399-401 and also 403 King Street East. In 1901 and circa 1910/1912 Susan (Beale) Pursey is still living in her family's home at 399 King Street East.  Hazel Pursey is Francis Beale's granddaughter.   In Ancestry Hazel and Susan's last name is listed as Deacy but I think this is a misreading of Pursey and it's been corrected by another user.  

Still using Ancestry we can discover that at age 28 Hazel Beatrice Pursey married Frank Archibald Hamm, a landscape architect, on June 24 1924. They were both Anglican.  Interestingly her sister Laura Pursey marries at age 30 to George William Jose, 39, in 1922.  If you recall she worked for the firm Jose & Withers so she either marries her boss or her boss' son.

If you're interested in Toronto's local history or genealogy then you'll really like the Toronto City directories digitally available from 1797 to 1899.


Having finished with the people what about the history of the actual building at 399 King Street East? Come, gentle reader, let's go on an architectural journey and admire this circa 1932 photo from our digital archive (photographer Dyce Chalmers Saunders).


King St. E., E. Of Jarvis St., s. side, e. of Parliament St.


This area of King and Parliament was part of the Corktown, one of Toronto's oldest areas and home to Irish working class settlements and part of the original City of York.

This rare Georgian architectural gem is quite discreet and elegant. It was built by Francis Beale circa 1852. To the right is 399 King Street East and to the left is 401 King Street East. They were semi-detached but built as one building and not exactly symmetrical or mirror images although the whole is very balanced.  They're built neatly of red brick with yellow brick highlighting the corners decoratively. The window and door lintels are solid stone. Bricklayer/Builder Francis Beale also later built 403 King Street East - a more substantial single family building.  They were originally commercial on the ground floor and residential on the upper floor.

Just east of here is Little Trinity Church and Manse.  Attached to 399 and due south, was the Derby Tavern (torn down in the 1980s and replaced by condos).

These lands are owned by the the Anglican Little Trinity Church Community.  In recent times there they were derelict.  There were several attempts to demolish the buildings that were repeatedly refused by the City of Toronto. Recently they've been part of a revitalization plan put forward by the Church and in 2014 finally realized.

There are extensive historical and architectural notes about the building and also the restoration process in a City of Toronto staff report on it.

Here is what they looked like boarded up.  There's been extensive writing about this project by blogTO , The Grid,  and also Christopher Hume in the Toronto Star.

photo from UrbanToronto article

And here is what they look like restored - the facade was kept - but all the rest behind is completely new. They now serve Little Trinity Church as offices, meeting spaces etc - not the residential / commercial use they originally functioned as.

 toronto beale

 photo from blogto - article by Chris Bateman.

What would Hazel Pursey, who received the Valentine's card in 1910, or Francis Beale, her grandfather and the original builder, think of what happened to her home? Could she imagine her postcard would be kept, donated to the Library and given a fresh life?

I hope she had a good Valentine's Day and I hope you do as well. 

Coffee, Beer and Mosh Pits: Celebrating the Toronto Music Scene

February 10, 2014 | Brent | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

IMG_7249 2

From February 8th to April 19th, The TD Gallery at Toronto Reference Library will feature Coffee, Beer and Mosh Pits a survey of the music scene in Toronto from the 1960s to the present. Posters, photographs, fliers, zines, CDs and underground comics—most taken from the library’s Special Collections and Arts Departments—help tell the story of Yorkville, Queen West, West Queen West and all the other venues that helped establish Toronto as a creative hotspot for popular music.

Interest in all aspects of Toronto’s historic music scene is at an all time high, whether it be the early days of Yorkville, historic concerts like the Toronto Rock and Roll Revival, early punk rock venues or the genre crossing Wavelength concert series. 

The Yorkville Scene of the 60s is represented by posters, photos and artwork featuring locations like the El Patio Café, the Flick and the Mynah Bird as well as artists such as Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell and Ian and Sylvia. Luckily albums by some of the key Yorkville bands like Kensington Market and the Paupers have been reissued on CD.


            114310045[1]   Kensington+Market+++avenue+road[1]

           PaupersVerveForecastLPMagicPeople[1]    Pauperstwo[1]


Linda Goldman and Henry Martinuk's DVD and Stuart Henderson's book on "Toronto's First Scene" are great places to start:



The Punk and New Wave movements that defined Queen Street West are represented by promotional materials from the Horseshoe, the Cameron, the Rivoli and the Bamboo as well as historic posters and fliers featuring bands like The Viletones, The Government, Rough Trade and Martha & the Muffins.



There's been a slew of recent books on the early punk scene in Toronto:

                        TreatMeLikeDirttCover[1]    Perfect Youth   

         GodsoftheH   Trouble-in-the-Camera-Club-Cover[1]   DirtyDrunk


Selections from the Zine Collection from the 5th floor Arts Department help round out the survey from the 90s up to now. Featured artists include Peaches, Broken Social Scene, Choclair, K-0SMichie Mee and Diamond Rings.



We have lots of releases from Toronto Bands in our Local Music collections and we feature lots of live musical events in our Make Some Noise concert series. And yes, there are lots of books:

   Have Not Been The Same    Drake Far From Over     What Are You Doing Here?

                    Army Of Lovers     This Book Is Broken

Join us at 7:00 pm on Monday March 3rd in the Appel Salon of the Toronto Reference Library for a special Star Talks celebrating the Toronto music scene with Murray McLauchlan, Lorraine Segato and Broken Social Scene's  Brendan Canning. Peter Howell from the Toronto Star will host. A gallery tour will follow. Order your tickets here.

Coffee Beer and Mosh Pits

Bob Marley's Redemption Song - the Canadian connection

February 9, 2014 | Bill V. | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

I was listening to Bob Marley's Redemption Song the other day.  I was struck by how different it is from most of his music.  It's only him on acoustic guitar and his singing has an old fashioned blues or spirituals quality to it that I find striking.  It reminds me of the early music by Blind Willie Johnson.

If you want more information about Bob Marley please see this blog post by John P.




"Redemption Song" originally appeared on Uprising and later on Legend and other collections including, for those who have children, Rockabye baby! Lullaby renditions of Bob Marley.


File:Marley film soundtrack.jpg     File:BobMarley-Legend.jpg


We also have many options available in sheet music / score for Bob Marley's music:


Legend the best of Bob Marley and the Wailers.     One love  the very best of Bob Marley & the Wailers.   



Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;
None but ourselves can free our minds."Emancipate yourself from mental slavery," because "None but ourselves can free our minds" Bob Marley Redemption Song the lyrics are partially based on a quotation from Marcus Garvey - there's a Canadian connection to this - see here - February is Black History Month - what are you doing to celebrate this ?

These are the most famous lines / quotation from the song.  It is a paraphrase from a speech that Marcus Garvey gave in Menelik Hall in Sydney (often stated as Halifax) Nova Scotia October 1937:

“We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery because whilst others might free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind. Mind is your only ruler, sovereign. The man who is not able to develop and use his mind is bound to be the slave of the other man who uses his mind, because man is related to man under all circumstances for good or ill." 

In doing research for this blog post I came across a lot of writing that speaks to how inspirational and important these couple of lines are.



If you are looking to learn more about Marcus Garvey the Library has a wealth of material for adults and kids.



If you're wondering why Black Nationalist / Pan Africanist Marcus Garvey would go to speak in Nova Scotia then you may want to explore the long and rich history of Blacks in Africville and the East coast.


If you are looking for more information on Black History Month then you would be very interested in the North York Central Library blog post How Black History Month Became A Canadian Tradition.

Mary Pratt at the McMichael Collection

February 4, 2014 | Brent | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...



The McMichael Collection is having a major exhibition of the work of Mary Pratt from January 18 to April 27, 2014.  Pratt is one of Canada’s foremost realist painters. It’s easy to see the reasons for her widespread appeal. Her portrayals of domestic subjects, often bathed in a warm amber glow, are virtuoso displays of technique. This  skill combined with the evocation of rural simplicity allows her work to  easiy live beside popular favorites such as Robert Bateman or Ken Danby.

She obviously loves a challenge. Her exacting representations of coloured lights, translucent and reflective surfaces bring to mind photorealists like Richard Estes. Bravura pieces like Silver Fish on Crimson Foil , which renders cellophane wrap draped over tin foil, truly are visual marvels. In a video accompanying the exhibition she describes her own laborious process as "ridiculous"

But like her fellow Maritimers Alex Colville and former husband Christopher Pratt, her work often creates a sense of unease. Punctuating the show are images of bonfires, fish heads, a splayed moose and yet another splayed moose.

There's a wry feminist humor beneath the surface of her paintings and often her quiet scenes of eggs, chicken and baked apples share an undercurrent of violence. The photorealistic detail of jagged surfaces, juices and bloody flesh makes clear how much effort (and sometimes brute force) is involved in creating the comforts of home.


This recalls early feminist video work like Martha Rosler's "Semiotics of the Kitchen". It's an ABC of kitchen utensils that gets progressively more agitated.




There's a similar sensibility operating in Chantal Akerman's film Jeanne Dielman which presents daily household tasks in real time to tell the story of a woman's mental breakdown. The numbing boredom of the physical tasks depicted onscreen creates the expectation that something dreadful will soon break the monotony.  Small details suddenly become fraught with significance.




Leah Sandals, writing in Canadian Art connects the labour of housework with the intense efforts necessary to create Pratt's work.

"Looking at the show and considering its themes, I couldn’t help wondering if housework—with its hours of repetitive labour grown out of or inextricably attached to the flashes of love and passion that characterize family life—might serve as an allegory for the process of Pratt’s still-lifes, in which a 1/60th of a second of intense feeling is translated via hours of meticulous, labour-intensive looking and brushwork."

Here's a recent interview with the artist by curator Mireille Eagan.



The Toronto Public Library has lots of books on Pratt ranging from career length retrospectives, to books of her prints, to a collection of her own essays:

  Substance of Light        Simple Bliss        Women Between

A Personal Calligraphy   Mary Pratt


The Arts Department on the fifth floor of the Toronto Reference Library also has vertical files of gallery announcements, post cards, magazine and newspaper clippings dating back to the beginning of her career in its Canadian Artists File. 




And be sure to visit the McMichael to see the retrospective:



The best Christmas song 2013 .... Jingle Bells... Batman Smells

December 24, 2013 | Bill V. | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Our power just came back on at home Tuesday afternoon, Christmas Eve, after being off since Sunday morning. We've been in the dark and cold, except for candles and a fireplace (and my year round wood gathering) and no Internet or TV. 

Until today I was unable to write my annual best Christmas song blog but in a small and thankful Christmas surprise the power has come back on and with it the heat, light, and Internet and so the tradition can continue.


In 2012 I thought  "Christmas Wrapping" by the Waitresses was the best.

In 2011 I thought "Christmas Is" by  Lou Rawls was the best.


But this year I'm going back to my innocent carefree (warm and with electricity but no Internet) childhood and suggesting "Jingle Bells, Batman Smells".


Which of us, of a certain age, will not have their own specific rhyme but below is what I remember:

Jingle Bells, Batman smells
Robin laid an egg.
The Batmobile lost a wheel
and the Joker got away (Hey!)




We both helped our neighbours during the the ice storm and were also helped by them for which we are very grateful.  I am reminded though of those who, even when the electricity comes back on, don't have enough heat, food, comfort or companionship.  The recent weather events reminds us how vulnerable we all are - and prompts the question: How are we called on to help others in need?

I wish you all a safe, warm light-filled Holiday Season.


If you're interested in scores about Christmas or Hanukkah my colleague Jorge at Barbara Frum Library has done a great blog post on these.   You might want to also consider the following:

Blues & soul Christmas  piano vocal guitar Happy holidays piano, vocal, guitar Christmas  anthology of Christmas songs  piano, vocal, guita Christmas piano, vocal, guitar


Awaiting the Return of Downton Abbey

December 2, 2013 | Muriel | Comments (8) Facebook Twitter More...


Downton Abbey Season 1  Downton Abbey Season 2  Downton Abbey Season 3

I am an unabashed fan of Downton Abbey, with its upstairs
and downstairs characters, sumptuous settings, period details
and constant cliffhangers.  I especially enjoy the bons mots
from Maggie Smith, who plays the part of Violet, Dowager
Countess of Grantham.  Of course, I am eagerly awaiting
the return of Downton Abbey, with the screening of
Season 4, starting on Sunday, January 5, 2014.  I have even
circled that date on my Downton Abbey page-a-day 2014

The World of Downton Abbey  The Chronicles of Downton Abbey   Behind the Scenes at Downton Abbey

I was very excited to read that costumes from the television
series may be coming to Toronto's own Spadina Museum
According to the Toronto Star, Spadina Museum "could be
considered Toronto's Downton Abbey."  You can visit Spadina
Museum with your family, for free, with Toronto Public
Library's Sun Life Financial Museum + Arts Pass program.  
If you would like to look, now, at fashion illustrations dating
from the early period of Downton Abbey, you might enjoy
the free exhibition on at the TD Gallery at the Toronto
Reference Library.  The exhibition, "The Gilded Age of
Fashion, 1890-1914," is on until January 4, 2014.  It includes
an exquisite empire-waisted dress for Eliza Doolittle, from
the 2004 Shaw Festival production of George Bernard Shaw's
Pygmalion.  There are some more lovely dresses, with
matching fans, on display just outside the exhibition, as well
as in the windows along Asquith Avenue.  These stage costumes
for the Shaw Festival's 2013 production of Oscar Wilde's
Lady Windermere's Fan are from an era prior to Downton Abbey,
but the influence of these styles can still be seen in the dresses
of Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham. 

  Secrets of Highclere Castle    Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey       Edwardian Cooking

Julian Fellowes, the creator of Downton Abbey, is a friend
of the Carnarvon family, whose home is Highclere Castle 
in England.  When Julian Fellowes was writing the television
series, he had Highclere Castle in mind for the setting.  Its
exterior, as well as its interior, has indeed been used for
filming the "upstairs" part of the story.  The "downstairs"
part was filmed at a specially-constructed set at the oldest
continuously working film studio in the world, Ealing Studios
in West London.  This posed continuity challenges since
Ealing Studios is some distance from Highclere Castle.


Over the holidays, you may even like to try some recipes
inspired by Downton Abbey's elegant meals, and treat
yourself and your guests as aristocrats.  Best wishes for
happy holidays, and enjoy Season 4!

20 Fabulous Books Under $20

November 28, 2013 | John Elmslie | Comments (7) Facebook Twitter More...

In my job at the library I see a lot of new books. I wondered what a list of twenty fabulous new books under twenty dollars would look like.

It looks like this.

I would try to buy these from my favourite independent bookstore. 

We can also get them through the library catalogue. 

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 here.

While supplies last.

Yorkshire 350

A Yorkshire Sketchbook by David Hockney. This is a facsimile of one of Hockney''s sketchbooks. Hockney does that hardest of things -- he makes drawing look easy.


Dreaming french 365

Dreaming in French: The Paris Years of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, Susan Sontag and Angela Davis by Alice Kaplan. Three formidable characters, one formidable town.



The French Market Cookbook: Vegetarian Recipes From My Parisian Kitchen by Clotilde Dusoulier. Vegetarian cooking, French style. For the latest templations, check Dusoulier's blog Chocolate and Zucchini.


Fatal touch 358

The Fatal Touch by Conor Fitzgerald. The most vivid Roman atmosphere of any mystery I've read in the past few years.


Seagull 361

Dance of the Seagull by Andrea Camilleri. One of a series of stand-alone mysteries set in Sicily. Great characters and hungry-making descriptions of meals.


Perfect liar 359

Everything is Perfect When You're a Liar by Kelly Oxford. Looking forward to reading this. Until then I'm judging it by its perfect cover.


Atkinson 378

Life After Life: a novel by Kate Atkinson. Atkinson just keeps getting better. If you like this be sure to check our her Jackson Brodie series of mysteries. 


  1980s 384

My 1980s and Other Essays by Wayne Koestembaum. A unique intelligence burns at the heart of each of these essays. After I finished My 1980s I wanted to read everything else Kostenbaum has written. 


Dear sugar 339

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar. Before she shot to fame with her memoir Wild, Cheryl Strayed gave unforgettable, gripping advice in a blog called Dear Sugar.


Augusten Burroughs

This Is How: Help for the Self: proven aid in overcoming shyness, molestation, fatness, spinsterhood, grief, disease, lushery, decrepitude & more -- for young and old alike by Augusten Burroughs. The author who came to fame for the  hilarious epics of dysfunction Running with Scissors and Dry has written an epic self-help book. Sincere, surprising and utterly practical advice that you won't find anywhere else.


Hafiz 354

The Subject Tonight is Love:  60 Wild and Sweet Poems of Hafiz. Translated by Daniel Ladinsky. Hafiz was a 14th century Sufi mystic. Ladinsky's translations are utterly fresh -- as if Hafiz had dashed these poems off last week. 


Jane jacobs 343

The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs. Fiftieth anniversary edition of her most important book. Toronto needs her now more than ever.


Beatles 364

Revolution in the Head: The Beatle's Records and the Sixties by Ian MacDonald. Every single Beatles recording described with an "encyclopedic wealth of biographical, musical and historical detail" (Kirkus Reviews).


Rome 366

A Day in the Life of Ancient Rome by Alberto Angela. A compelling evocation of classical Roman life with fascinating references to the modern city. 



Brice Marden by Eileen Costello. One of our best art book publishers has launched "Phaidon Focus" a new series of introductions to 6 artists -- all sumptiously illustrated. I'd been looking for a good overview of Marden's achievement and this one is superb. You'll have to google-image his name to see if you'll like Marden's stuff. Whole series recommended.


Rookie 400

Rookie: Yearbook One. Edited by Tavi Gevinson. Have you heard the story? 11-year-old starts blog that gets international attention...


Talk love 413

Let's Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste. Toronto's Carl Wilson uses the Celine Dion album to explore what it means to have "taste". What are we trying to say about ourselves when we love one thing and hate something else?


Ny drawings 342

Superb collection by graphic artist Adrian Tomine. New York Drawings: a decade of covers, comics, illustrations and sketches from the pages of The New Yorker and beyond.


Weiwei 400

Weiwei-isms by Ai Weiwei. China's most acclaimed artist produces a Little Black Book.



Life's a Beach by Martin Parr. A collection of British photographer Martin Parr's hilarious beach photographs. Must be seen to be believed. Here's a sample.



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

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