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Buy Your Candy, Pick Your Flicks

October 21, 2016 | Maureen | Comments (0)

This year Halloween falls on a Monday -- the worst possible day! I don't know about you, but I'm in no condition to get up before the sun has risen the morning after Halloween, with the work week ahead giving me the evil eye. If you've celebrated Halloween right, you've pushed your body and psyche to the limit with a horror movie, candy gorging bacchanal that leaves you so jazzed up on sugar, nightmare images and candy chemicals that you have to spend the next day detoxing body and mind. The day after Halloween should be a holiday! Why? 1) So we can stay up late watching horror movies on Halloween night. 2) So we can recover at home, flushing the sugar demons out with some kind of flower petal tea from a health food store, while nibbling leftover candy (following the hair of the dog that bit you principle...)

Listen: if you take your Halloween fun as seriously as I take mine, you'd better start working on your movie line-up. You won't be able to pick your flicks at leisure if you have to work all day Monday. And you'll be especially pressed for time if you have little ghouls and boys to take trick or treating. Even if you don't, consider that Halloween night is book-ended by two working days this year. That leaves you only a few hours (if you plan to get any sleep, that is.) I urge you to start a list of potential movie choices now, take a day or two to whittle it down, and you'll be all set for Halloween night. Procrastinate, and you might end up watching a full on shark-o-rama:

Sharkenstein Planet of the sharks 2-headed shark attack

I love comedy-horror mash-ups like Shaun of the dead and Zombieland, but on Halloween night, I want to be scared. I want movies that cut into my cranium like rusty saws, ripping into the trap door in my mind -- you know the one I mean, because you have one too -- the door you spend the rest of the year trying to keep bolted shut. That brings me to the third reason for making November first a holiday: 3) After letting the demons romp around on All Hallows' Eve, we need to round them up, wrestle them back into the shadows, and bolt the door. If we can. This is best done at home, in the soft glow of lamplight, preferably with a friendly fur ball on your lap.

The library is a veritable gold mine for movie lovers. In addition to DVDs, there are digital movies always available, accessed via Hoopla, and the Criterion Collection. Here's just a small sample of the many movies available from the library, for your Halloween viewing horror.

Currently available in Hoopla:

Spirits of the Fall Night of the Scarecrow
Tales of halloween Let the Right One In
Funny Games It follows

Currently available in the Criterion Collection:

Scanners The Testament of Dr Mabuse
Fiend without a face Eyes without a face


The Babadook The kill list
The-descent Youre next
The loved ones They live


There are some great horror movie suggestions in this blog post by my colleague: 20 Best Horror Films on DVD.

Have a look at these books, for more suggestions:

Essential horror movies: matinee monsters to cult classics

Monsters in the movies: 100 years of cinematic nightmares





The Trials and Tribulations of Self-Publishing

October 17, 2016 | Paula | Comments (1)


Last weekend, authors came out to share their stories about self-publishing at the first Toronto Public Library Indie Author Day celebration. Nearly 300 libraries across North America invited local writers to take part in the event. The day was celebrated at North York Central Library with an author panel, a self-publishing workshop and a book fair featuring the works of local authors.

The notion of creative freedom came up time and time again at the event, as authors described their experiences with self-publishing. Most talked about wanting to control all aspects of the publishing process -– from book cover creation to marketing.

Chris Grady, a member of the author panel, talked about his writing and how drawing web comics became a way of dealing with depression. Half a million Facebook followers later, Chris is the successful author of the web comic Lunarbaboon.


Tracy L. Ward, another author at the event, discussed treating her writing career like a business. Ward drew up a business plan that involved writing four books. It took three books before the series took off, but she is now an Amazon bestselling author of the Peter Ainsley Mystery series, books about a Victorian morgue doctor and his assistant who set out to solve crimes. In describing her books, Ward called them a mix of “CSI meets Sherlock Holmes, with a little Jack the Ripper thrown in”. Ward discussed choosing the self-publishing route because of her need to be true to the graphic nature of the morgue work, something she thought might be censored if she went with a traditional publisher.

Dead among us

Another common topic was the stigma of self-publishing. Authors discussed the difficulty of overcoming the resistance to unvetted works as the majority of readers are afraid to give something that hasn’t gone through a traditional publisher a try. For readers, the difficulty with self-publishing is how to distinguish quality writing from unedited messes. Quality writing can be found in self-published novels. Here are a few famous examples:

Once we were brothers Still Alice Martian Best laid plans

Once we were brothers – Not able to find a publisher, Ronald H. Balson created his own publishing company to self-publish his World War II legal drama about two brothers who ended up on the different sides of the war.

Still Alice - Lisa Genova, a neuroscientist, chose to self-publish after being rejected by several publishers. Her novel about a 50-year-old professor who develops Alzheimer’s disease went on to be made into a major Hollywood movie starring Julianne Moore. 

The MartianAndrew Weir used his science background to create the story of an astronaut who gets stranded on Mars. When Weir couldn’t find a publisher, he published his novel one chapter at a time on his website for free. When his fans begged him to release an eBook version, he began selling copies on Amazon for 99 cents.

The Best Laid Plans – Unable to find a publisher, Terri Fallis originally released his political satire in podcast format, a chapter at a time. Later he published the story in book form and it went on to win the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour.

The other authors on the panel included Sheila Dalton, Benjamin Gabbay, Sephera Giron and N.J. Lindquest. 

Stolen Wingheart House of pain Hot apple cider



Do You Have Radon in Your Home?

October 14, 2016 | Jeannette | Comments (0)

Radon is an odourless, colourless and tasteless gas. This radioactive gas is found naturally in the environment, produced by the breakdown of uranium found in soil, rock or water. Radon can be found indoors and outdoors. In the outdoors, it is diluted by the air to low levels so it is not a concern. Unfortunately, when radon is trapped inside a home or building, unsafe levels can accumulate causing severe health problems.

Exposure to radon increases the risk of developing lung cancer. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking!

Not to worry. There are ways to test the levels of radon in your home. There are do-it-yourself test kits or you can hire a certified radon measurement professional.

To learn more about radon, join us at the North York Central Library for an informative presentation by two industry experts. Mainul Husain, radiation specialist from Health Canada and Bob Wood, past president of Canadian Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists, will explain why you should be concerned about radon in your home and workplace and what you can do about it.


What: Do You Have Radon in Your Home?

When: Monday, October 24 at 6:30 PM

Where: North York Central Library, in the Auditorium

For more information: Call the Business, Science & Technology Department at (416) 395-5613

Registration not required.


For more information about radon, here are some online resources:

The library also has some books about the topic:

Controlling Indoor Radon   Indoor Radon Problem   Radon and the Environment   Strange Glow

How Music Heals

October 13, 2016 | Jane | Comments (0)

"I was born with music inside me. Music was one of my parts. Like my ribs, my kidneys, my liver, my heart. Like my blood. It was a force already within me when I arrived on the scene. It was a necessity for me -- like food or water."  - Ray Charles

Beyond the pleasure it gives, music is a tool for both formal and informal therapy. But can it be used to treat disease? Dr. Lee Bartel, an Associate Professor of Music at the University of Toronto, will be at North York Central Library to talk about his collaborative research in music and neuroscience, and his efforts to find ways to measure clinical improvements to health. 

Music Medicine: A New Frontier

Thursday, Oct. 20

7:00 to 8:00 pm

60 minutes

North York Central Library Auditorium

Bartel and his colleagues are working on music and cardio rehabilitation, rhythmic sensory stimulation and fibromyalgia, and studies that link music and the care for people with Ehlers Danlos syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease and depression. Here are some related titles. . .

HealingPowerofSound   MusicandCancer   MusicasMedicine    Musicophilia


  RhythmMusicandtheBrain   SingingNeanderthals    SoundMedicine   MusicandtheMind


. . . and sounds. 

RaySings   MusicasMedicinecd   Omsoundhealingmusic   

Esperanza      Harrow&theHarvest Arias&DuetstheAnniversary








North York Central Library Talk: The Art of Dale Chihuly

October 7, 2016 | Muriel | Comments (0)

North York Central Library Talk:

The Art of Dale Chihuly

7 to 8 p.m., Thursday, November 10, 2016

North York Central Library Auditorium

Please register for this free program

by calling 416-395-5639

Discover the art and career of Dale Chihuly, a pioneer of the studio glass movement and considered  to be one of the world's foremost artists working in glass today. Passionate, colourful, gravity-defying works of art by this internationally renowned artist will take your breath away!

Speaker: Dr. Sascha Priewe, Manager Director - Culture Centres, Royal Ontario Museum

          You and your family can go to the Royal Ontario Museum for free, with a Sun Life Financial Museum + Arts Pass.

The Art of Dale Chihuly    Chihuly 365 days    Chihuly in the Hotshop    

Chihuly Through the Looking Glass    Dale Chihuly A Celebration    Chihuly Garden Installations

 Chihuly Projects    The Essential Dale Chihuly    

Free Science Events in Toronto for October 2016

September 30, 2016 | Jeannette | Comments (0)

The Business, 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 October calendar (PDF).

October's highlights include:

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

At the library, October's highlights include:

Can't attend a program or want to read more about the topics covered? Try some of these books:

Sex in Your Garden   What to Expect When You Have Diabetes   Mosquito   Backyard Pharmacy

Marijuana   Bio-Guided Music Therapy   Indoor Radon Problem   Ancient Trees

Some We Love, Some We Eat: Our Complicated Relationships With Animals

September 23, 2016 | Maureen | Comments (14)

The infamous pig trial will begin again on October 3. In an instance of synchronicity seemingly arranged by Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals, World Animal Day is October 4. For those who haven’t been following the case, last summer Anita Krajnc stuck her arm through a vent in a truck stopped at an intersection in Burlington, and gave water to pigs bound for a nearby slaughterhouse. Following an ugly interaction with the truck driver, the police were called. Krajnc was charged with criminal mischief. The worst case scenario for Krajnc is years of prison time. The best case scenario is a fine. Krajnc says she will not pay the fine, and is prepared to go to prison.

Anita Krajnc giving water to pigs on their way to slaughter.
By Elli Garlin - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

The pigs on the truck were merely property to the pig farmer, but to activists like Krajnc, a vegan, and the founder of Toronto Pig Save, pigs are sentient beings with the ability to feel pain and emotion. The incident in Burlington is just one example among millions the world over showing how polarized we are when it comes to our feelings and beliefs about animals. Websites featuring news stories about the case have received hundreds of comments, showing widely divergent viewpoints and strong emotions.

In honor of World Animal Day, I considered offering you movies about cute and cuddly animals, like these:

Snow Babies Too Cute Kittens

But I changed my mind after I read the World Animal Day mission statement: “To raise the status of animals in order to improve welfare standards around the globe.” In the spirit of World Animal Day, I offer some thought provoking movies and books on animals, and our often troubled relationship with them.


The Cove
Give Me Shelter
Give me shelter
Cowspiracy: the sustainability secret
The ghosts in our machine
Peaceable kingdom: the journey home


Some we love sme we hate some we eat

Some we love, some we hate, some we eat

Book | eBook | eAudiobook


Beyond words: what animals think and feel

Book | eBook | eAudiobook


Project animal farm: an accidental journey into the secret world of farming and the truth about our food

Book | eBook | eAudiobook | Audiobook CD | Talking Book CD*


Finally, here's a book I think Anita Krajnc would enjoy:


Esther the wonder pig: changing the world one heart at a time

Book | eBook | eAudiobook

 *Please note: Talking Book CD and Talking Book DAISY formats are restricted to print disabled customers.


A Bug's Life

September 16, 2016 | Carolyn | Comments (0)

Male Photinus sp. in flight, emitting a light signal in hopes of attracting a female. Photo by Terry Priest. Used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.
Male firefly in flight, hoping to attract a female by sending out a light signal. Photo by Terry Priest. Used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.

Many children are fascinated by bugs. I remember my children's curiosity about the ladybugs and earthworms in our garden and the beautiful dragonflies at the cottage. My own favourite bugs when I was a kid had to be fireflies; watching them on summer evenings was a fun way to learn about bioluminescence. She might deny this, but I also remember that my sister loved to eat ants as a little girl - with all the interest in insects as a sustainable food source I guess she was ahead of her time!

Somehow, as many people grow up, that natural curiosity about insects turns into fear; some of the most common phobias involve insects.

Love them or hate them, if you'd like to learn more about the world of insects join us for Bug Basics on Wednesday September 28. Speaker Emily Macleod is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Toronto who has studied the mating habits of black widow spiders. She will discuss the behaviours, eating habits and secret weapons of the earth's tiniest creatures. School-age children are welcome to attend this talk, so bring your bug-loving youngsters.


Program details:

Bug Basics

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

North York Central Library Auditorium


There are lots of great websites about insects. Here are a few to check out:


 And here are some books about insects:



Henry Hudson and His River

September 12, 2016 | Ann | Comments (0)

Recommended websites on Henry Hudson
By Neemster (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

As schools begin their first full week of studies, this post will briefly examine the history, travel, and trials of Henry Hudson. 

Some Internet sources claim that September 12, 1575 was Henry Hudson's birthday which would make him 441 years old, but his actual birthday was probably near that date. September 12th is better spent commemorating his travel through the river that will eventually be named after him.

Henry Hudson traveled on four voyages on three different ships to try to locate a trade route through the Northeast and Northwest Passage to the Orient, but he never made it to this final destination. Instead, Henry Hudson located trade routes through Canada and the United States. On his third voyage on September 12th in 1609, he sailed down a river which will later be called the Hudson River.

Hudson's voyages across the seas from England to North America have not been smooth. His crew have endured limited food rations, changing temperatures and dangerous weather conditions. These conditions inevitably helped lower the crew's morale and they have threatened to mutiny on a few occasions.

The crew's frustrations culminated on June 22, 1611. With only a 14-day supply of food rations remaining, the crew refused to travel any farther in the freezing ice-filled waters of (what is now) James Bay.  Henry Hudson, his son, and a few fellow sailors too weak and sick to defend themselves were cast off the ship by the angry mutineers. The abandoned crew were placed in a small wooden boat to fend for themselves. The National Film Board presents Richard Gilbert's (1964) film, The Last Voyage of Henry Hudson.

Artist John Collier recreated that fateful moment below of the abandoned crew as they floated among the frozen icebergs. 

More Paintings by John Collier
John Collier [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The artist's portrayal shows a resigned look on Hudson's face as well as a sick crewman while John Hudson, his son, clutches Henry's hand for hope to survive this situation. Sadly, the abandoned crew were never found again and presumed dead at sea. Only through Hudson's discovered journal entries and the actual return of the mutineers to England to confess their crime was Henry's tragedy recognized.

To read more of Henry Hudson's travels and the history of the Hudson river, please refer to the following titles: 

A historical inquiry concerning Henry Hudson, his friends, relatives and early life, his connection with the Muscovy company and discovery of Delaware Bay Half moon: Henry Hudson and the voyage that redrew the map of the New World Fatal journey: the final expedition of Henry Hudson-- a tale of mutiny and murder in the Arctic
Henry Hudson: New World voyager The worlds of the seventeenth-century Hudson Valley Henry Hudson: doomed navigator and explorer

For more information on the Hudson River from past to present, the following titles offer a textual and virtual field trip through the waterway:

Bill Moyers on the Hudson America's first river (DVD) The Hudson Valley: a cultural guide (1st edition) The European invasion of North America: colonial conflict along the Hudson-Champlain corridor, 1609-1760
The Hudson River School: nature and the American vision The Hudson: America's river River of dreams: the story of the Hudson River

In Canada, Hudson's Bay and the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) are also named after Henry Hudson. Here are some books on this longstanding company to enjoy:

History of the Hudson's Bay Company 1670-1870 Empire of the Bay The bastard of Fort Stikine: the Hudson's Bay Company and the murder of John McLoughlin Jr.

The voyages of this brave man have greatly influence trade, culture, and history in Canada and the United States. Sadly, his efforts left him in a boat adrift on the freezing waters of James Bay and not rejoining his friends and family back in England. Still, North America has honoured and remembered him by name and by his historical achievements.

North York Central Library Talk: Miles Ahead, Portrait of a Changeling

September 9, 2016 | Muriel | Comments (0)


 North York Central Library Talk:

Miles Ahead:

Portrait of a Changeling

 7 to 8 p.m., Thursday, October 13, 2016

North York Central Library Auditorium

Please register for this free program

by calling 416-395-5639.

Miles Davis was the quintessential seeker living his life by the Dylan maxim,
"He not being born is busy dying." 
This lecture will explore various ways that Miles continued
to renew and reinvent his music and persona from the 1950s 
through to his death in September 1991.

Speaker: Dr. Rob Bowman from York University and

Grammy Award-winning music scholar.


Miles Davis The Complete Illustrated History    Dark Magus the Jekyll and Hyde Life of Miles Davis    Miles on Miles    

Miles to Go Remembering Miles Davis    So What The Life of Miles Davis    Clawing at the Limits of Cool

Its About That Time Miles Davis On and Off Record    The Miles Davis Lost Quintet    DVD The Miles Davis Story

Be sure to visit NAXOS, the online music library available through 
Toronto Public Library, and listen to great music spanning
to modern - classical, jazz, electronic, world music and
more, and 
find expert educational content. There is a free iPhone/iPod Touch app available in the iTunes App Store which can be used with the user's playlist login information.  The app will give you streaming playback access to the entire library of music and saved playlists.  A Wi-Fi or cellular data connection is required.


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.