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October 2013

Free Science Events in Toronto for November 2013

October 26, 2013 | Jeannette | Comments (2)

PoppyThe Science and Technology Department of North York Central Library compiles a monthly calendar of free science and applied science events in Toronto. Applied science includes health, gardening, pets and food; all subjects found in the department's collection. Here is the November calendar.

November’s highlights include:

  • November 24: Downsview Park Nature Connection, Downsview Park staff will take you on a free indoor/outdoor park program based on nature-themed topics to get you exploring the natural world.

The Toronto Public Library also offers many free science and applied science events:

November's highlights include:

The scariest book I never read

October 25, 2013 | Maureen | Comments (8)

One night I went in search of a shiver up the spine and got more than I’d bargained for. I’d been deeply terrified by the movie The Exorcist years before. To this day, if I chance upon the movie while channel surfing my thumb murders the remote control in a desperate effort to exorcise The Exorcist. But that night, when I was alone in the house, I decided to 'man up' and read the book. How scary could a book be? I retired to bed, where I mummified myself in a shroud of blankets, and propped William Peter Blatty’s demon possession novel The Exorcist on my knees.

By page two I’d fallen into the grip of a fear so severe, I couldn’t move.  In my imagination, which had grown ten times its normal size, the book had become a conduit of evil that had summoned something terrifying which waited in the darkness outside the bedroom door. I listened hard. I didn’t want to hear even a tiny noise, not even a little mouse munching on toast crumbs in the kitchen -- yet the silence itself was horrible – it felt like a weight pressing against the dark chambers of my ears.

After long, torturous minutes of absolute paralysis, during which I clenched the book the same way New Brunswick man Gilles Cyr held onto the tongue of the black bear that attacked him, I uncoiled myself in slow motion, and inched my way to the dirty laundry pile, where I buried The Exorcist. I never got past page two. Good job scaring me, William Peter Blatty. Too good.

Here are some creepy books for the Halloween season. I left the classics (Dracula, Frankenstein, etc.) off the list in favour of twenty-first century horror.  I hope you find one of these books scary enough to bury under your dirty laundry.

Happy Halloween!


Haunted Haunted: a novel of stories, by Chuck Palahniuk. Book List calls this "an over-the-top gore fest."  If you've got a stomach of iron and are morbidly inclined, this is your book. From the author of Fight club.
A Dark Matter A dark matter by Peter Straub. According to Publishers Weekly, this novel "ranks as one of the finest tales of modern horror." Winner of the 2010 Bram Stoker award. From the author of Ghost story. By the way, did you know that Peter Straub and Stephen King collaborated on a novel called The Talisman?

The Girl Next Door The girl next door by Jack Ketchum. This quote from Stephen King says it all: "Who's the scariest guy in America? Probably Jack Ketchum."
Horns Horns by Joe Hill.  A guy named Ig Parrish wakes up one morning to discover devil horns on his head. Even worse, he is suspected of murdering his girlfriend. The secret's out: Joe Hill is the pen name for the son of the master of horror, Stephen King. (His real name is Joseph Hillstrom King.)
Dark Water Dark Water by Koji Suzuki. Suzuki is the author of The ring, which was made into one of the creepiest horror movies I've ever seen. The first story in this collection inspired another very creepy movie, Dark Water. Suzuki is known as the Stephen King of Japan. (I wonder if Stephen King is known as the Koji Suzuki of America?) If you find gore a bore, these "subtly disturbing horror stories" might be for you.
Demons: encounters with the devil and his minions, fallen angels, and the possessed. Winner of a 2011 Bram Stoker Award, this big book of demon tales has contributions from Neil Gaiman, William Peter Blatty (I won't be reading his story) and Richard Christian Matheson (not to be confused with his dad, Richard Matheson, author of I am legend.) A bit of trivia: Matheson junior played drums for The Rock Bottom Remainders, a rock band (now disbanded) whose members were authors. Guess who else was in the band? Stephen King.

Doctor Sleep Doctor sleep by Stephen King. Remember that creepy kid who kept saying REDRUM! REDRUM! in Stephen King's The Shining? In King's newest book he's all grown up and on a mission to protect a 12 year old girl with a powerful psychic ability, or "shining" from a group of evil old people who feed off special children like her. In an interview with CBC's Jian Ghomeshi recently, King said that for years people asked him what became of Danny, the boy from The Shining. King wondered the same thing, until inspiration for adult Dan Torrance struck in the form of a cat named Oscar, who has a knack for predicting when people will die. First time I heard of a fictional character being inspired by a real life cat!
Burial Rites Burial rites by Hannah Kent. Kent's "dark love letter to Iceland" is based on the true story of Agnes Magnúsdóttir, the last woman to be executed in Iceland (in 1830). If you'd like a little history with your horror, against a backdrop of bleak Icelandic landscape, this book's for you.  
Let Me In Let me in by John Lindqvist Ajvide. The inspiration behind the Swedish vampire film Let the right one in, this book tells the story of the unusual friendship between Oskar, a bullied twelve year old boy, and Eli, a child vampire. The first story in the author's new collection of stories, Let the old dreams die, continues the story of Oskar and Eli. Lindqvist is being hailed as Sweden's Stephen King.
The Ruins

The ruins by Scott Smith. This is Smith's first novel since 1993's A simple plan (the best suspense novel of the 1990s, in Stephen King's opinion.) I give up -- ALL scary roads lead to Stephen King. Horror fans, see if you can spot the red flags in this scenario: two American couples vacationing in Cancun set off for some Mayan ruins, using a hand-drawn map, in search of a guy who doesn't return from a day trip.

Tip: NEVER follow a hand-drawn map to Mayan ruins looking for a guy who hasn't come back! You WILL die!  

"I think that I shall never see

October 18, 2013 | Carolyn | Comments (3)

...a poem lovely as a tree". It may not be good poetry (Columbia University's Philolexian Society has named its annual bad poetry contest after him), but I must say I agree with Joyce Kilmer's sentiment. Trees are wonderful and amazing. They can feed us and shelter us, and they provide us with materials - from wood to paper - that we use every day. To my mind there isn't much in nature that can rival a majestic tree - unless it's a forest full of them.

These are redwood trees in Muir Woods National Monument in California. It's one of my favourite places. I've hiked in forests from British Columbia to Nova Scotia, and in many other countries as well, and to my mind nothing matches the beauty of our hardwood forests in autumn.

So far this has been a perfect fall. The sunny days, the mild temperatures and the changing colours of the trees are all good reasons to enjoy the season outdoors.
Fall-timeIt's not too late to plan a trip to see the fall colours. There are several planning tools available; try the Ontario Parks Fall Colour Report  or the seasonal reports on the Ontario government's tourism site.

And we're fortunate to have great parks here in Toronto, so we can enjoy the colours without even leaving the city. Check out Parks, Forestry & Recreation's Discovery Walks; several of the routes pass through our forested ravines, where fall colours are on full display.


 If you want to learn more about trees:

Trees: the balance of life, the beauty of nature

Seeing trees: discover the extraordinary secrets of everyday trees

The book of leaves: a leaf-by-leaf guide to six hundred of the world's great trees

Extraordinary leaves

The world of trees

The tree: a natural history of what trees are, how they live, and why they matter


For tree identification:
available as an eBook

An Introverted Way Of Living

October 14, 2013 | Ann | Comments (2)

Albert Einstein

I live in that solitude which is painful in youth, but delicious in the years of maturity.  ~Albert Einstein

What makes a person an introvert?  Many sources indicate Albert Einstein was an introvert from his preference for solitude.  Sources such as the Oxford English Dictionary, Encyclopedia of Psychology (TPL login required), and Wikipedia point to Carl Jung, as the first person to use this word for this personality type which means, "inward turning."

There is new information available to explain in detail this personality trait.  One popular bestseller on this topic is written by motivational speaker and author Susan Cain called, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking.


According to Cain, about one third of the human population fall into the introvert category.  Recently, books on introverts have become quite popular.   This personality trait explains why some people express difficulty while interacting in social gatherings.  Susan Cain explains how society have views and misunderstandings on introverts:

Introversion- along with its cousins sensitivity, seriousness, and shyness- is now a second-class personality trait, somewhere between a disappointment and a pathology. Introverts living in the Extrovert Ideal are like women in a man's world, discounted because of a trait that goes to the core of who they are. Extroversion is an enormously appealing personality style, but we've turned it into an oppressive standard to which most of us feel we must conform.

(Read other quotes from Quiet by Susan Cain on

Sophia Drembling is another author who published a (2012) title called, The introvert's way : living a quiet life in a noisy world.  This title aims to actively inspire introverts to harness their "quiet power."  

The Introvert's Way
Sophia Drembling actively participates on the website Psychology Today as a blogger with her own webspace called, The Introvert's Corner where she shares, with other forum members, thoughts on being and living as introverts.  In one particular blog entry, Sophia Drembling states:

Introverts aren’t delicate blossoms who tremble in a breeze. We can be plenty spunky when we need to, so there is no dream we can’t chase. Funnyman and introvert Steve Martin, for Pete’s sake. Warren Buffett, moneyman and introvert. Kristen Stewart, movie star and introvert. We just have to know ourselves, and know how to take care of ourselves. In the world. On the job.

There are newly-released titles for introverts to become successful in their jobs and careers.  Here is a brief listing of most recent titles available:

Success as an Introvert for Dummies on  Success as an Introvert for Dummies

Networking for People Who Hate Networking on  Networking for People Who Hate Networking

Self-Promotion For Introverts on  Self-Promotion for Introverts

The Introverted Leader on  The Introverted Leader

Finding a good career, for many, is of utmost importance.  For some though, finding themselves is even more important.  Introverts are no exception to this rule. 

Bill Watterson, who created the comic strip, Calvin & Hobbes, lives by this belief.  He would not have created this impressive collection of beautiful and innovative comic strips if he did not listen to his inner voice on what is right for him in terms of career, family, and what empowers him to be his very best.  Click the link below to read and enjoy his story:

A Cartoonist's Advice

Watterson has also given an impressive May 20, 1990 commencement speech called, Some Thoughts On the Real World By One Who Glimpsed It and Fled that is also worth reading. 

Link to Brain Pickings's website in tribute to Bill Watterson
Whatever personality type you are and whatever career you choose, the most important thing is to continue to learn and develop an understanding of yourself and those around you. 


Presentation on David Bowie at North York Central Library

October 11, 2013 | Maureen | Comments (3)

I was punching stations on the radio the other day, when a good song stopped my restless finger. I smiled when the announcer said the song was Valentine's Day, from David Bowie's new CD, The Next Day. He's still got it. Bowie hasn't resorted to cranking out past hits on autopilot, playing the same songs in the same old way, like a human jukebox. At the age of 66, he's still creating great new music. New York Times writer Simon Reynolds called The Next Day Bowie's "twilight masterpiece".


Photo credit: Masayoshi Sukita The David Bowie Archive, Photo credit: Jimmy King

Lately, a lot of attention has been paid to the visuals when it comes to the chameleon-like artist, no doubt because of the exhibition, "David Bowie is" from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, currently on display at The Art Gallery of Ontario. To be sure, the images over the years have been startling. But for me, it has always been about the music.

Try reading the quotes below -- see if they play in your head, rather than read in your head.

If they play in your head, hey -- I think you're a fan.

Popular music expert and York University professor Mike Daley will give a free presentation on David Bowie in the auditorium at North York Central Library on Tuesday October 22, at 7:00. Please call 416-395-5639 to register.

See you there.


"News guy wept and told us / earth was really dying/ Cried so much his face was wet / then I knew he was not lying" Five Years

"And these children that you spit on / As they try to change their worlds / Are immune  to your consultations / They're quite aware of what they're going through" Changes

"They can’t get enough of that doomsday song" The Next Day

"There's a starman waiting in the sky /
He'd like to come and meet us /
But he thinks he'd blow our minds" Starman

"Don't fake it baby, lay the real thing on me" Moonage Daydream

"You've got your mother in a whirl/She's not sure if you're a boy or girl" Rebel Rebel

"All the way from Washington/Her bread-winner begs off the bathroom floor / We live for just these twenty years / Do we have to die for the fifty more?" Young Americans

"We can be Heroes, just for one day" Heroes

For a bit of fun, watch David Bowie sing about not-quite-making-it actor Andy Millman (played by Ricky Gervais) on Extras.

Medicine in the medieval Islamic world

October 4, 2013 | Carolyn | Comments (0)

CL-Surgeon-Patient-150x185_18A5E08C7BA8406E8E8A6D9BA54883E0I've been reading a mystery series (the Shardlake series by C.J. Samson) set in Tudor England. One of the key characters is an apothecary and physican from Moorish Spain whose knowledge of anatomy, disease and remedies is far beyond that of his British contemporaries.

Great advances in science and medicine were made in the Islamic world during medieval times. To quote a 2010 Guardian article:

"...during the dark ages of medieval Europe, incredible scientific advances were made in the Muslim world...New disciplines emerged – algebra, trigonometry and chemistry as well as major advances in medicine, astronomy, engineering and agriculture. Arabic texts replaced Greek as the fonts of wisdom, helping to shape the scientific revolution of the Renaissance."


Dr. Ingrid Hehmeyer                 On Tuesday, October 8 the North York Central Library welcomes Dr. Ingrid Hehmeyer of Ryerson University for a discussion of Medical Practice in the Medieval  Islamic World. Learn about the most common illnesses of medieval times and the techniques and strategies used to keep them at bay. Dr. Hehmeyer is a specialist in the history of the medical sciences in the Islamic world.                                                                                                      

This lecture is the first in the Science in History series and is presented in partnership with University of Toronto Science Engagement.

Please join us in the Concourse at 6:30 pm on Tuesday, October 8 for Medical Practice in the Medieval Islamic World.


Thanksgiving Dinner

October 4, 2013 | Jeannette | Comments (0)

There are only 10 more days until Thanksgiving. Are you prepared for the big feast? I used to work at a grocery store and usually the day or two leading up to the holiday, there are always huge crowds and lineups at the checkout.

My uncle, aunt and cousins usually cook Thanksgiving dinner. We usually have turkey, stuffing, mash potatoes and ham. And boy is it delicious! Sometimes, we don’t have the traditional turkey dinner and opt to try a different cuisine. We’ve had a Korean style dinner with homemade kimchi and delicious bo ssam (roasted pork lettuce wraps, inspired by Momofuku), Japanese style dinner with homemade sushi and tempura, and Indian-Chinese style dinner with goat curry and chili chicken. And of course every meal is not complete without Vietnamese bún (rice vermicelli) and spring rolls and Chinese stir fried noodles (my favourite!).

After dinner, we usually sit around and play games together, like Icon Song Pop, twenty questions (family edition), Cranium and Guesstures and have Nintendo Wii and Xbox Kinect battles. Sometimes, we even have a boy band dance party with music from NKOTB, Backstreet Boys and NSYNC.

It really doesn’t matter what we eat or do. I love holidays just for the fact that it brings together my family and we get to enjoy each other’s company. I’m very lucky. I love my family.

If you’re still looking for Thanksgiving dinner ideas, here are some books to help:

Fine Cooking Thanksgiving cookbook  Thanksgiving 101  How to cook a turkey   Thanksgiving how to cook it well
Thanksgiving entertaining  New Thanksgiving table  Thanksgiving recipes for a holiday meal  Complete Thanksgiving cookbook

Don’t feel like eating turkey? Try a new cuisine:

Japanese food and cooking  Kimchi chronicles  100 easy Chinese suppers  Hakka cookbook
Vietnamese home cooking  Great Indian feasts  New Persian kitchen  Hungarian cookbook

Access online magazines from Zinio through the library’s website to find recipes and entertaining ideas. Available titles include:

Canadian Living  Family Circle  Food Network  Martha Stewart Living

Whatever you're having or doing, just make sure to be with and give thanks to those you love. Happy Thanksgiving!


Book Ends North Fall Book Sale

October 1, 2013 | Jane | Comments (0)




OCT. 3, 4, 5, 2013

All books 1/2 price (except special-priced (blue dot) books)

Mysteries; SciFi ; Romance; Children’s story and non-fiction books; Teen books; Graphic novels; History; Geography; Travel; Religion; Sciences; Philosophy and much more...

Pocket books - 25¢

Hardcover books - 50¢

HOURS:  Thursday, Friday, Saturday - 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

WHERE: North York Central Library

Concourse Level

North York Centre Subway Stop

5120 Yonge Street, Toronto

Parking off Beecroft Road

Welcome to North York Central Library. We're one of the City's most welcoming spaces, open to all for study, research, relaxation and fun.

Our extensive digital and print collections, programs and services are yours to use, borrow and explore. Expert staff are always on hand to help. Meet us in person or join us online.