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October 2011

Check Out Cedarbrae's Human Books!

October 28, 2011 | Andrea | Comments (0)

Sometimes, reading a book for the first time is exactly like making a new friend. Here's your chance to sit down with a human book and meet some fascinating folks - fighters, survivors, amazing people all. The Human Library program returns to the Toronto Public Library on Saturday, November 5, bringing a slate of new speakers to share their rich and diverse life experiences with you. Use your library card to borrow a human book for half an hour and engage in a stimulating, one-on-one conversation with someone you don't get to meet everyday!

Presenting Cedarbrae branch's human book collection:

Haille Bailey-HarrisHaille-bailey-harris
“Bullied But Not Defeated”

Haille Bailey-Harris may be only 17, but his life experiences have given him the wisdom of someone much older. He grew up in a small town the only black kid in his school and suffered from frequent bullying. His mom, a sole support parent, moved with him to Toronto to help him escape the racism and the low expectations of a school system that expected him to fail. Haille struggled without a father figure in his life, but he challenged the stereotypes through a network of support and a love of books. This human book will share with borrowers his family’s strategy that helped him cope.

He recommends:
Bullying : Deal with It Before Push Comes to Shove by Elaine Slavens
Full of ideas about how to encourage understanding of bullying and the roles of bully, target and bystander.


Eldon Comfort Eldon-comfort
“Fighting Battles as a Peacemaker”

Dr. Eldon Comfort, 98, was a lieutenant in the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals in World War II, serving in France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. He has also been a teacher and a politician, so he knows how to fight his battles. This human book, however, is not about war; he's all about peacekeeping and explains in amazing detail how his experience with military conflict turned him into a peace activist.

In one of his later chapters, this human book talks about the first time he went to Nicaragua in 1984 to satisfy a curiosity about the conflicting perceptions of that country's new socialist government. He returned each year for the next six years on a variety of humanitarian projects and in 1990, he was an official United Nations observer for the national elections there. This is just one of the incredible journeys this award-winning book will share with his borrowers.


Yasmin Hartung
Appreciating Life Even When It’s Painful”Yasmin-hartung

Yasmin Hartung and her brother were inseparable. She left home at 17 to join him in Switzerland where the siblings lived, worked, and travelled together. In 2004, Yasmin joined her brother in Montreal to study at Concordia University. While in Montreal, their lives took an unexpected turn when Yasmin’s brother was diagnosed with an acute form of leukemia. At 21, she became his primary caregiver and was even his stem cell donor while continuing her studies and helping her brother live as normal a life as possible. Despite their valiant efforts, Yasmin’s brother died; his body had had enough, she says. This human book will be able to share her strategy for navigating the health care system and appreciating life even when it’s painful.


Heather Jopling Heather_jopling
“Modern Families”

This human book defined ‘modern family’ long before the television sitcom became so popular, and she helps people feel more accepting and open to differences. Heather Jopling’s husband was a sperm donor for their lesbian friends and she was a surrogate for their gay friends. While pregnant as a surrogate, she began writing diversity-friendly children's stories to give reading alternatives, not only to same-sex families, but to families like her own; open-minded and eager to share inclusive ideas with their children. “We have split families, bi-racial families and so-called ‘traditional’ families in our own incredible family tree,” Heather says. In 2006, she formed her own publishing company, Nickname Press. And, as if she didn’t already have enough chapters, this human book has also performed Shakespeare as a clown, and written four one-woman shows, several screenplays and the libretto to a vampire rock opera.

She recommends:
And Baby Makes More by Susan Goldberg and Chloe Brushwood Rose
What happens when would-be dyke moms or gay dads ask a friend or acquaintance to donate sperm or an egg, or to act as a surrogate? A quirky, funny, and occasionally heartbreaking collection of personal essays, this book offers an intimate look at the relative risks and unexpected rewards of queer, do-it-yourself baby-making, and the ways in which families are re-made in the process.


Jenypher Lanthier (@YorkMuayThai) Jenypher-lanthier
Fighting Words”

Jenypher Lanthier’s story is for anyone who feels intimidated by the unknown and wants to learn how to find the courage to take a leap of faith. Jenypher was looking for a new adventure, something different in her life, she says. “To challenge myself, I tried my first Muay Thai (a combat sport from Thailand) class. The rest is a story about an organic progression towards personal fulfillment.” Although new territory for her, she became hooked on Muay Thai and decided to open up her own school - York Muay Thai Inc. - two years ago. This human book looks forward to sharing all the challenges she encountered, not only as an entrepreneur, but also as one of the only women trying to survive in a male-dominated martial arts industry.


Scott Mills (@GraffitiBMXCop) Scott-mills
Fighting Crime with Facebook”

This human book is a textbook case for using 140 characters to get your message across. Scott Mills has been a police officer for 21 years, from 1990-2002 with Peel Regional Police in Mississauga and Brampton, and from 2002-present with the Toronto Police Service. He has a background in all types of policing, from gang investigations to schools, and is widely known for his work using relationships and technology, in particular Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, to help prevent and solve crime together with the community. Borrowers of this human book will discover a new, cyber approach to law enforcement and crime prevention.


Diana Provenzano Diana-provenzano
Navigating Life's Challenges”

This human book has travelled around the world, visiting over 30 countries and filling its pages with wonderful memories. Diana Provenzano is also a chartered accountant operating her own practice in Toronto, prepares tax returns for low income people and new immigrants pro bono, and a very active volunteer with a variety of organizations. She particularly enjoys volunteering with the Canadian Diabetes Association. Diana leads a full, outgoing life in spite of the fact she has lived with Type One Diabetes for the past 30 years. “Diabetes or other chronic illnesses don’t have to stop you from doing anything you want with your life provided you understand the disease and manage it well,” she says.

She recommends:
The Discovery of Insulin by Michael Bliss
When insulin was discovered in the early 1920s, even jaded professionals marvelled at how it brought starved, sometimes comatose diabetics back to life. In this now-classic study, Michael Bliss unearths a wealth of material, ranging from scientists’ unpublished memoirs to the confidential appraisals of insulin by members of the Nobel Committee.


John “Ozzie” Sequeira (@OSequeira79155) John-sequeira
“Surviving on Faith”

John “Ozzie” Sequeira has depended on his faith to survive advanced prostate cancer and quadruple blocks in his heart for the past dozen years. He has now made it his mission in life to educate others about early detection so people get treatment and the best chance of survival. Ozzie is an active volunteer with the Canadian Cancer Society, working with Wendel Clark to promote awareness. His first book, The Alpha and Omega, was published a year and a half ago. This human book, which is available in multiple languages (including English, Hindi, Kannada, Konkani and Urdu), will help you believe in miracles.

He recommends:
The Purpose-Driven Life by Richard Warren
This 40-days guide to a spiritual and temporal journey, if followed diligently, promises to help the reader to overcome the obstacles of life and lead a happy, peaceful and successful life. Human Book Ozzie Sequeira highly recommends this book that sheds new light on God, religion, and how they can make a difference in anyone’s life.


You can place a hold on any one of Cedarbrae's human books by visiting the upstairs reference desk or by calling the branch at 416-396-8850. Save the date: Saturday, November 5 starting at noon!

The eh List Author Series: Randy Boyagoda at Cedarbrae

October 22, 2011 | Andrea | Comments (0)

Have you met Sam Kandy, the self-made tycoon dubbed "a postcolonial Gatsby" by The Globe and Mail? Read his epic story in Beggar's Feast, the new book from Randy Boyagoda, whose first novel, Governor of the Northern Province, was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2006. The author behind the antihero will be at Cedarbrae branch on Thursday, October 27 at 7 p.m. to discuss his work. Don't miss this latest session of the eh List Author Series!


Plot description:

Beggar's Feast is a novel about a man who lives in defiance of fate. Sam Kandy was born in 1899 to low prospects in a Ceylon village and died one hundred years later as the wealthy headman of the same village, a self-made shipping magnate and father of sixteen, three times married and twice widowed. In four parts, this enthralling novel tells Sam's story from his boyhood—when his parents, convinced by his horoscope that he would be a blight upon the family, abandon him at the gates of a distant temple—through his dramatic escape from the temple and journey across Ceylon to Australia and Singapore, before his bold return to the Ceylon village he once called home. There he tries to win recognition for his success in the world—at any cost.



The Globe and Mail
The National Post
The Toronto Star

Michelle Berry kicks off Cedarbrae's eh List line-up!

October 13, 2011 | Soheli | Comments (0)

2077Just last Thursday, October 6, Cedarbrae welcomed its very first author as part of the eh List author series. Amid the buzz of Election Day, British Columbia native, Michelle Berry read select passages from her novel, This Book Will Not Save Your Life, and talked a little about the process of creating a story. She discussed some of the things that inspire her, her feelings surrounding publishing and putting written work out there to be read by both fans and critics.

If you’ve read This Book, you’ll know that it includes a number of complex, but unsavoury characters and situations, which makes it all the more interesting when you meet Michelle. She’s got an easy laugh, and is immensely approachable – nothing like some of the characters she writes!

The evening ended with book signings and a chance for our audience to speak a little more with our author. It was an entertaining evening, and we were glad  to have such an enthusiastic and talented Canadian writer to start off a great fall line-up here at Cedarbrae!

If you missed Michelle Berry’s visit, but hope to catch the experience of the eh List, be sure to droBeggar_s_Feast_30.08.2011_19_40_10p by for our next two authors: we’ve got Randy Boyagoda, author of Beggar’s Feast, on Thursday October 27th at 7 PM, and then Marina Nemat, author of After Tehran, on Thursday November 24th, also at 7 PM. Remember, there is no formal registration for these events, so be sure to come early to get your seat. If you have any questions about any of the events, leave a comment, or call us at 416-396-8850.

See you there!

Got Questions About Employment Insurance?

October 8, 2011 | Andrea | Comments (0)

Find the answers at the library! A guest speaker from Service Canada will be conducting a free workshop to help you navigate the mysteries of EI benefits. Come to Cedarbrae branch on Thursday, October 13 between 10:30 a.m. and noon for more information, including:

  • how to qualify for benefits
  • how to apply
  • how long it takes to receive your first payment
  • and the answer to your specific question!

And for those who wish to apply for their SIN card for the first time, please stick around after the EI session for the Social Insurance Number clinic from 12 to 1:30 p.m. - just remember to bring your original documents to show your legal status in Canada. SIN numbers can be issued at the clinic! If you have any questions about the workshop, call 647-338-6300.

Please register for the program either in person at the upper level reference desk or by calling 416-396-8850. Mark the date on your calendar - Thursday, October 13!

The eh List Author Series: Michelle Berry at Cedarbrae

October 3, 2011 | Andrea | Comments (0)

The title of this book claims it won't save your life, but why not try calling its bluff? As part of the eh List Author Series, readers have the opportunity this coming Thursday to hear an award-winning Canadian author speak about her latest book. Join us at Cedarbrae branch on October 6 to hear Michelle Berry discuss her novel This Book Will Not Save Your Life.

Plot description:

Too big for regular medical equipment, Sylvia Swamp is on her way to a veterinary hospital for an emergency procedure. While the ambulance workers try to keep her alive, Sylvia contemplates her life and her place in the dysfunctional family that she both idolizes and detests. Sylvia's mother, Ruth, is obsessed with the common sense advice in the book, Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care, but common sense is exactly what eludes her. Sister Sadie wants to follow in her mother's footsteps as an assistant to a magician. But once Sadie dons the sequins, Ruth must learn to share not only the applause but also the erotic attentions of Marvellous Marvin. Meanwhile, the somnolent Mr. Swamp turns to TV and booze for escape. Who in this misfit family will crack first?

Read reviews of the book here and here! And then head on over to Cedarbrae on Thursday, October 6 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. to meet Michelle Berry. Hope to see you there!

Welcome! This blog is written by the Cedarbrae Library staff and we want it to become a place where you can find out what's going on in the branch and in the community. But not just that - we plan to write about all things we might find interesting.