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June 2011

Toronto Bike Month: Cycling in the city

June 10, 2011 | MRM | Comments (0)

Is your bike ready for this nice weather and Toronto Bike Month? Give your bike a quick tune up using the library's biking books, like some of these below, and you'll be good to go!

Bicycling guide


Big book of bicycling


Bike repair


Did you know the city is criss-crossed by a network of   Bike map
bike routes including off road bike paths?  Grab the latest Toronto Cycling Map, also at the library, which shows on and off the street bikeways, suggested routes and connections, bicycle locker, rental and shop locations, and other important information about cycling.  

Offroadpath small You can also try Ride the City, an online route planner, available as an Android app so you can double check your directions while you are out on your bike. It gives you the option of the most direct route, or a "safer" route, usually down quieter street.


Don't have a bike, but would like to see the city on two wheels? Bixi Toronto to the rescue . They have 100 bikes at 80 stations throughout the city.

Some gnarly books, bro

June 10, 2011 | Thomas | Comments (0)

North York Central has a great collection of skateboarding related material. From field manuals for those starting out to anthologies of photographs taken by some of skateboarding's best photographers.

"The skateboarding Field Manual" is a great introduction into the culture of street skateboarding. From setting up your first deck to learning some tricks. This book has loads of photos and skating from many talented skaters and photographers, including some from right here in Toronto. The author, Ryan Stutt, is currently the President/Publisher of, arguably one of Canada's best skatemags, The King Publication - whose headquarters are located in Parkdale.


(Darryl Smith - Ontario Native and Owner of Studio Skateboards - pops a big old shuvit on the Cover of the Skateboarding Field Manual)

TPL has subscriptions to Thrasher magazine - considered the bible of skateboarding - along with a selection of many skate videos.

Finally, if you're looking for a place to skate, the city has some great parks around town. The favorite of many skaters is Dunbat - located just south of the intersection of Dundas and Bathurst - right beside Sanderson Library. Or there is another temporary park setup in Dufferin Grove Park. For more information on skateparks have a look at this link for a more complete list of parks.

There is an endless amount of skate-related content online. Here are just a few of my favorite places to check:

Thrasher Magazine - as earlier stated, its the bible.

Slap Magazine - a former print magazine that has since gone completely digital.

Already Been Done - If you don't know, now you know.

Chrome Ball Incident - Archived skate ads/photos from the 80s and 90s.

Thrilling Tales Series snags Ava Homa

June 7, 2011 | Jane | Comments (1)

Ava Homa, author of Echoes from the Other Land will be reading selections from her short story collection on Wednesday, June 15, 2011 at 2:00 p.m., in Room 1 at North York Central Library.  Her reading is part of the Thrilling Tales series for adults.

 Echoes from the Other Land is one of seven Canadian titles that was just short listed for the 2011 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award.

Ava is a Kurdish-Canadian, writer-in-exile, with two Masters’ degrees one in  English and another in Creative Writing and English Language and Literature.  “Echoes from the Other Land” has a running theme of resistance by modern Iranian women under an oppressive regime.  The stories are told on a universal scale, depicting human endurance, desire and passion.  

Ava’s writings have appeared in English and Farsi journals, as well as the Windsor  Review and the Toronto Star newspaper.   She was a writer in Iran, and university faculty member. In Toronto, Ava writes and teaches Creative Writing, English, and English as a Second Language

Please join us to hear Ava Homa read her thrilling tales!


Echoesfromanotherland Ava homa
     Ava Homa

Great Books: Willa Cather's "A Lost Lady"

June 6, 2011 | Maureen | Comments (0)

University of Toronto Professor Alan Ackerman will talk about A Lost Lady by the great American writer Willa Cather at the North York Central Library auditorium, on Tuesday, June 7, 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Young Willa Cather Willa Cather is best known for her novels about pioneer life on the Nebraska prairie: O Pioneers!, The Song of the Lark, and My Ántonia. In A Lost Lady, Cather paints a portrait of Marian Forrester, the charming wife of wealthy Captain Daniel Forrester, and young Neil Herbert, who idolizes her, but is ultimately disillusioned. Some have seen this classic American novel as a requiem for a way of life that was fading in the face of a new, crass, capitalistic age. Here is an excerpt from the book:

"He had seen the end of an era, the sunset of the pioneer. He had come upon it when already its glory was nearly spent. So in the buffalo times a traveller used to come upon the embers of a hunter`s fire on the prairie, after the hunter was up and gone; the coals would be trampled out, but the ground was warm, and the flattened grass where he had slept and where his pony had grazed, told the story.

200px-WillaCather_ALostLady This was the very end of the road-making West; the men who had put plains and mountains under the iron harness were old; some were poor, and even the successful ones were hunting for rest and a brief reprieve from death. It was already gone, that age; nothing could ever bring it back. The taste and smell and song of it, the visions those men had seen in the air and followed,--these he had caught in a kind of afterglow in their own faces,--and this would always be his."

A Lost Lady. Part 2, Chapter 9

In 1986 Willa Cather was inducted into the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame

Hanging Out on Charlotte's Web With Wilbur and E.B. White

June 5, 2011 | Deb | Comments (2)


Hello Everyone,

Not Quite Miss Rumphius here ... Welcome back to the blog for the Children's Department at North York Central Library.

It would be hard to find many people out there who haven't heard of "Charlotte's Web," E.B. White's tale of the friendship between a pig named Wilbur and Charlotte, a small spider with a very big heart.

This book has one of the best opening lines I can think of -- "Where's Papa going with that ax?" said Fern to her mother -- and it only gets better after that.

Part of what makes this story so good is the down-to-earth, effortless way E.B. White tells his tale. It feels like he must have spun it off the top of his head and simply set down the words on paper as he went along.

But here's the thing: if you thought, like I once did, that E.B. White achieved all his great storytelling with the greatest of ease, you would be wrong. Completely wrong.

That's where the other "Charlotte's Web" comes in. This one:


This little known book, part of the Reference Collection here in the Children's Department, is a behind-the scenes, close-up look at E. B. White as he worked on "Charlotte's Web. As it turned out, E. B. White was a very exacting and demanding writer. He slaved over his words and story. He had to write eight drafts of his manuscript -- that's right, eight drafts, back in the days of the typewriter -- to get everything exactly the way he wanted.

Like the original "Charlotte's Web", the Annotated "Charlotte" is highly readable and hard to put down. But don't take my word for it. Perhaps you can take Charlotte the spider's word instead.

I like to think that, if Charlotte had been around when the second "Charlotte" was written, she might have summed it up like this:




Celebrate the best in Canadian business writing

June 3, 2011 | Teresa | Comments (1)

Most of us who work with business books and reference find nothing more fascinating than either a good business reference question or being able to recommend a good business book to our users.  Happily awards are handed out yearly recognizing outstanding achievement in business writing.  This year's winner of the National Business Book Award is Ezra Levant, author of the book Ethical Oil: The Case for Canada's Oil Sands.  This prize, worth $20,000, was recently awarded at a lunch hosted by Pricewaterhouse-Coopers LLP and Bank of Montreal. 

Check out the winner as well as the other finalists at NYCL:

Ethical oil    Saris on scooters    The great reset    Economyths

As you can see, the final selections are as varied and topical as today's newspaper headlines.

Stop by and check out a good business read.

Graphic novel on Hitler's rise to power

June 1, 2011 | Cameron | Comments (9)

ListenerIn a true story, David Lester's 312-page graphic novel The Listener reveals a tragic act of spin doctoring that changed the course of history. Complacency, art and murder collide in Hitler's terrible rise to power in 1933, and in the artist Louise Shearing's search for meaning in the art of Europe after the fictional modern death of a political activist.
North York Central Library invite you to attend a presentation by David Lester from his graphic novel The Listener (with Jean Smith and Mecca Normal). Tuesday, June 14. 3:30 pm-4:30 pm. 5120 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M2N 5N9. Tel: 416-395-5535. FREE.
Author David Lester is a painter, graphic designer, cartoonist, and the guitarist in the rock duo Mecca Normal (13 albums on K Records, Matador and Kill Rock Starts). His art has appeared in Magnet Magazine, Z Magazine, Reproduce & Revolt: A Graphic Toolbox for the 21st Century Activist (AK Press), Celebrate People’s History (Feminist Press), and The San Diego Reader.

Jean Smith is the author of two published novels and a two-time recipient of Canada Council for the Arts awards as a professional writer of creative fiction. Excerpts of her fiction and articles on culture have appeared in Village Voice, NPR online, The Globe & Mail, Rolling Stone, and McSweeney's.
LINK to The Listener (sample pages, film, author bio):

And here is what the critics are saying:  

"David Lester depicts the shadowy relationship between words and actions in The Listener. The black guilt that weighs heavily within Louise and the German couple seeps across each page like a Rorschach blot." -- Nicole Gluckstern, SF Bay Guardian (San Francisco, CA)

"I found it quite a compelling, honest, and provocative read, with highly cinematic illustrations done in a combination of pen and ink, watercolour, and acrylics." --Allan MacInnis, Alienated In Vancouver (Vancouver, BC)

"In this striking mixture of fiction and history. Along the way, of course, Lester also gives us a lot of great artwork, strong characterizations and a fascinating look into the way Hitler rose to power in Germany in 1933. Recommended." -- Brian Cronin, Comic Book Resouces (Los Angeles, CA)

"An achievement all the more remarkable because the author-artist of this book has managed to place himself within a female protagonist, with perhaps as much skill as the scriptwriters (one of them, later blacklist victim and my own late friend, Ring Lardner, Jr.) was to manage for his friend, that great actress of spunky women, Katharine Hepburn." -- Paul Buhle, ZEEK: A Jewish Journal of Thought & Culture (San Francisco, CA)

"These stories are all compelling, especially the depiction of the propaganda engine of the Nazi Party in the early 1930s..." -- James Fulton, Things I Like (Toronto, ON)

"This is an amazing book. I loved both the pictures and the text, but was most impressed with how the stories were interwoven. I think this would make a very interesting book for discussion groups." -- Sarah Batchelder, Masters in Library Science, Goodreads (Tuscon, Arizona)

"Lester’s monochrome panels are lovely, bringing an emotional payload to all that heavy subject matter." -- Adrian Mack, Georgia Straight (Vancouver, BC)

"Lester’s drawing is wonderfully expressive and the book is an intense and well-structured look at a forgotten pivotal moment in history..."-- BK Munn, Sequential (Canada)

"Lots of depth, lots of great imagery." -- Comic Attack (Los Angeles, CA)

"Just as Art Spiegelman juxtaposes his contemporary life and his father’s struggles during the Holocaust, Lester similarly contrasts the past and present." -- The Daily Californian (Berkeley, CA)

"The Listener is a good book for anyone who would be classified as either a history buff, an art buff, or a basic comic/graphic novel fan." -- Bernard C. Cormier (Nova Scotia)
"...this affecting and thoughtful debut belongs on any grown-up comic bookshelf that also includes, say, Art Spiegelman’s Maus, and Alan Moore and Joyce Brabner’s Iran-Contra history, Brought to Light." -- Adrian Mack, Georgia Straight (Vancouver, BC)

Review in the SF Bay Guardian:

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