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October 2012

The Future is Scary: Dystopian Reading

October 31, 2012 | Soheli | Comments (6)

Have you burned through the Hunger Games trilogy, attacked Veronica Roth's Divergent and Insurgent, and are left still wanting more? Check out some other great dystopian reads for teens and adults!

UgliesUglies by Scott Westerfeld
Great for teen readers

Beginning with the first book, Uglies, Scott Westerfeld draws us into a sickly-sweet world of physical perfection where everyone is plugged in, drugged up and made surgically beautiful on their sixteenth birthdays.
If you're one that goes against the norm, things can get ugly pretty quickly.

This is a gripping series - read on with:
| Specials | Extras


FfordeShades of Grey by Jasper Fforde
Great for older teen and adult readers

No, this isn't that other book you're thinking of.

Rather, this is a logically illogical book about a world where your ability (or lack of) to perceive colour determines your ranking in society, starting with where you live to who you marry. So, what happens when you fall in love with a lowly 'grey' and start to question the conformity you've known all your life? Well, all of a sudden, life doesn't seem quite so rosy anymore...


MatchedMatched by Allyson Condie
Great for teen readers

in Cassia's world, the Society dictates it all: what you wear, where you go, and who you end up marrying too. She's happy when she is matched with her best friend...but another boy's face shows up for a split second on her match screen too. Is this just a glitch, as the Society says? Or is there more to it than Cassia can even begin to imagine?

If you like Matched, read on with Crossed, also by Ally Condie.

Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Great for teen readers

Life is cheap and survival is hard. In a lawless future, Saba and her family live in a secluded shed, with only a drying lake to count on. Saba is reckless and wild, the total opposite of her twin brother, Lugh, whom she adores. When a gang of armed riders arrive one day shortly after the twins' 18th birthday, killing her father and kidnapping Lugh, Saba knows that it is up to her to rescue her brother and save the remnants of her family.


ShattermeShatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Great for teen readers

Juliette is a girl stuck in a poisonous body.

Her touch is fatal, and as a result, she has been ostracized or locked up her entire life. In exchange for her freedom, an ominous post-apocalyptic dictatorship called The Reestablishment, wants her to use her horrific abilities on their terms. But, maybe, she could be more warrior than weapon, if she only figures out how.


TomorrowTomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden
Great for teen readers

A group of Australian teenagers head out on a camping trip, only to arrive home a week later to a place much different than what they had left behind.

When they discover that they have been invaded, they have to use everything they know to fight and survive.



ChildrenofmenChildren of Men by PD James
Great for adult readers

In an infertile future, the last generation of children have grown to adulthood.
Without children, the fate of humankind is inevitable: there is no future ahead.

When an apathetic historian is approached by an ambitious and spirited woman, he finds himself in the company of a group of unlikely revolutionaries. While he may be more focused on his past than his future, a chance for humanity might still be alive.

You may want to also check out the film adaptation of this book (which strays a bit from the original) but still offers a great story.

 WindupgirlThe Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
Great for adults

Food shortages and bioengineered plagues have created a future where calories are the new currency. In this weak economy, Anderson Lake, a "calorie-man" working for a corporate giant, is in search of whatever nature has left behind in Thailand. In Bangkok, he meets the abandoned Emiko, a genetically-engineered New Person. Their encounter will spark a series of catastrophic events. This is a dark, violent and complex novel with sharply-drawn characters and well-paced writing.


There is a lot of fiction out there that takes us into dizzying dystopian futures and haunting societies that really challenge our ideas of freedom and choice. Liked any of these titles? Have some gems of your own that I missed? Be sure to leave a comment!






All Families Have a Little Bit of Crazy In Them.

October 29, 2012 | Soheli | Comments (4)

If there's one thing I can't seem to get enough of in the books I read, it's nutty families. Whether the stories are heartbreaking or hilarious (or a bit of both), there is something kind of re-assuring about reading about other people's dysfunctional families and maybe relating to them just a little bit....(love you, mom!)

Here are some reads you might want to check out next time you're in the mood for some family antics.

GlasscastleThe Glass Castle: a Memoir by Jeanette Walls, 2005

This deeply personal and moving memoir is probably as gripping as you can get. This title received quite a bit of attention when it first came out in 2005, and for good reason: it's sad but beautifully hopeful. It would have been really easy for Walls to completely attack her childhood (and her parents), but she has such a deep affection for her mother and father and that shines through despite some of the most depressing situations she lived through. If you haven't read this yet, you should.



ThisbookwillnotThis Book Will Not Save Your Life by Michelle Berry, 2010

I had the pleasure of hosting author Michelle Berry last year in a discussion of this memorable book. This Book is zany, funny, and sometimes just downright unnerving - which is, of course, what makes it great. The characters are strange and always just a tiny bit off (ok, maybe more than a tiny bit...) and when you see where their lives lead and just how interconnected they are, you can't easily dismiss that the bonds of family often run so deep, we can't escape them. Berry's fictional family in This Book lives in Toronto too, so you'll notice some familiar backdrops to their odd antics.


GreeneyedGreen Eyed Thieves by Imraan Coovadia, 2011

I vaguely remember recommending this book before (so, forgive me if you've already read it!) but it really deserves to be recommended twice. Coovadia writes about a 'clan of skilled criminals' including a university lecturer mother (who also happens be an accomplished shoplifter), her master thief of a husband, and their distinctive twin sons. This family gets into all sorts of trouble, with Coovadia bringing it all to life with a witty and memorable writing style.


DinnerattheDinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler, 1982

This is an older book, but when it comes to writing about families in disrepair, Anne Tyler does it timelessely. The characters in this book aren't all that lovable, but that's probably part of the point. This story is more about understanding how familes can break apart, and just how vividly different each member can remember the same events.



Read a good book about a dysfunctional family lately, whether lighthearted or serious?
Share your favourites!

Thirty days and nights of literary abandon!

October 24, 2012 | Erin | Comments (0)

That's the slogan of National Novel Writing Month.


What is that, you ask?

Run by the The Office of Letters and Light, is a NaNoWriMo (as it's known for short) is "a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved." Heavy pencil graphic

Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000-word (approximately 175-page) novel by 11:59:59 PM on November 30. 

Published novels that have come out of NaNoWriMo include Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus and Sara Gruen's Fying Changes, Water for Elephants, and Ape House.

Anyone can join. Your starting point is creating a login on the website. Here you can get tips, pep talks, have other authors help you edit, the list goes on. Don't forget to check out the Toronto NaNoWriMo group while you're there.

Nov 1 is a week away. Start those creative juices flowing! Here are some good places to start:


IndexAround the Writer's Block

So stop blaming yourself and start harnessing the power of brain science to overcome resistance and develop a productive writing habit. Bane uses the latest breakthroughs in brain science to help you understand where writing resistance comes from and her three-part plan rewires the brain's responses to the anxiety of writing, and thus helps you develop new, reliable writing habits, leave stress and anxiety behind, and become the writer you've always wanted to be.


 Mastering Creative Anxiety Index

Here are 24 lessons for writers, painters, musicians, and actors from "America's foremost creativity coach," Eric Maisel. Maisel shares various strategies, including artist-specific stress management; how to work despite bruised egos, day jobs, and other inevitable frustrations; and what not to do to deal with anxiety. Implementing these 24 lessons replaces the pain of not creating with the profound rewards of free artistic self-expression.



IndexThe Everything Creative Writing Book

Writing well enough to get published takes hours of practice, the ability to take criticism, and expert advice. This easy-to-use guide teaches you the basics of the writing craft.




Inspired Creative Writing Index

52 fresh techniques for putting thoughts into words. For aspiring authors planning an epic novel, plotting a screenplay, or wishing to bare their poetic soul, this books offers tactics and exercises to get imagination flowing from the first line to the final word.

Halloween Fun!

October 22, 2012 | Soheli | Comments (0)

One of my neighbours a few streets down goes all out for Halloween. For a few weeks each year, his normally pleasant looking home is transformed into a ghoulish scene straight out of a horror movie!

While you may or may not end up with a haunted house of your own, why not check out some craft ideas to get you geared up for Halloween?

Halloween1 Halloween2 Halloween3

And don't forget that there are tons of Halloween programs going on at different library branches in the Scarborough area:

Albert Campbell Branch is hosting a pumpkin carving contest on Wednesday, October 24 at 5 PM for kids aged 10 and up, so bring a pumpkin and some awesome ideas! Find out more about that contest!

Malvern Branch is having a Halloween party on Wednesday, October 31 at 6 PM with candy, music and more! Find out more about that party!

Burrows Hall Branch is having a scary story, song and craft time on Saturday, October 27 at 2 PM for kids aged 4 and up, so get ready for some creepy fun! Find out more about that story time!

Eglinton Square is screening the movie Where the Wild Things Are on Saturday, October 27 at 2 PM, so be sure to get there half an hour earlier to get your free tickets! Find out more about that movie!

Have a safe and Happy Halloween!

Speak Up About Bullying

October 19, 2012 | Soheli | Comments (4)

The recent death of Canadian teen, Amanda Todd, has brought on a huge wave of anti-bullying advocacy and awareness. It's sad that it takes a tragedy for a story to be told, and it's even worse when it's not even the first case of a young person taking his or her own life as a result of bullying.

If you or someone you know is being bullied - online or offline - it's serious. If you have a parent, teacher or trusted friend to confide in, please make sure you let them know what's going on. If you're not sure who to turn to, call the Kids Help Phone - someone is there to help you.

TeenhealthBullying is nothing to stay quiet about. Even if it is not happening to you, it may be happening to someone close to you, or someone you know. You may not even realize it until it's too late.

If you want to learn more about anti-bullying approaches,find out what you can do as a parent or educator, or learn more about why bullying happens, check out some of the resources below.

 Bully1 Bully2 Bully3 Bully4

As always, the Toronto Public Library is a welcoming and inclusive space for all users, so if you feel threatened or bullied when you're here, let us know.

If you need more help finding other resources about bulling and harassment, speak to a librarian in the Cedarbrae branch, or give us a call at 416-396-8850.

Striking it rich

October 18, 2012 | Erin | Comments (0)

It's Small Business Month once again, and there has been (and still is) a lot going on at the library. For the first time this year we have an Entrepreneur in Residence, Miriam Tuerk, who is offering talks throughout Oct and Nov.

If you can't make it to one of the programs, or are just interested in learning more, there much that the library has to offer...

There are also lots of books on stocks, trading and investing, as well as our business and personal finance blog.


Here's great resource, now in its 2nd edition:

Teach yourself investing in 24 easy lessons

Index"Smart investing couldn't be easier!: get to know the basic tools of investing and how they work; learn to identify and use key investment numbers; review your full-service, discount, or online broker options; research and choose stocks to buy; understand how to use bonds in your portfolio; educate yourself to make wise mutual fund choices; review the pros and cons of exchange-traded funds; fine-tune your investment strategies; learn to allocate your assets."


Or if you'v been looking for Rich Dad, Poor Dad or Think and Grow Rich but your local branch's copy is checked out (I know customers have asked for these a lot lately), try one of these:


Cold Hard Truth : on Business, Money & Life

Index2Advice from the much-feared and revered Dragon on the immensely popular show Dragons’ Den who started his company in his basement with a $10,000 loan from his financially savvy mother. A few years later, Kevin sold that company for more than four billion dollars.


 The Millionaire in the Mirror by Gene Bedell

IndexThe subtitle of this one says it all - how to find your passion and make a fortune doing it-- without quitting your day job.







Thinking, Fast and SlowIndex

"Kahneman's singularly influential work has transformed cognitive psychology and launched the new fields of behavioral economics and happiness studies. In this path-breaking book, Kahneman shows how the mind works, and offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our business and personal lives--and how we can guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble."


Don't forget to check out the Online Resources as well. These professional business resources contain the latest information and are available free of charge from any computer with your library card.

If, after all of your reading and research, you feel that yes, maybe you do want to start your own business, check out the diverse range of library services that can help, including: free workshops and wireless Internet access, and rentable meeting rooms.

The Easiest $20 You'll Ever Save.

October 17, 2012 | Soheli | Comments (0)

Girls TalkingI overheard this the other day, while putting out some new books in the Cedarbrae Teen Zone:

Teen 1: "Hey, that girl at the desk said you can get a coupon for your fines."
Teen's Friend: "Serious? Wait, what do I have to do? Do I have to, like, read 10 books first or something..."

Although I'd LOVE to have all of you read ten books (or twenty, or, really, even just ONE awesome book) - you don't have to do much if you wanna wipe out up to 20 bucks off your fines.

If you're between 13 and 19 years old, and have old fines sitting around on your library card, don't let it stop you from enjoying the library. Here's what you can do:

1. Print off the Teen Fine Forgiveness Coupon and fill out the info near the bottom.
2. Bring the completed coupon and your library card to a local library branch. (Remember, if you can't find your card, bring something with your full name and address in Toronto - a recent report card will do.)
3. See a staff person at the checkout desk and present your coupon and card.

Just keep in mind - the coupon is only good for your teen library card (sorry, Mom, Dad and little siblings!) and you can't use it to clear fines on other library cards. Once you've used the coupon once, you can't use it again, so think of it as a fresh start to using your card again and avoiding fines from now on!

After all, there's a whole lot you can do with the money you'll save by using this coupon and steering clear of future fines...

If you're still not sure where to start, head into a library and just ask a librarian for some more info and we'll be glad to get you set up. See you soon!

Then & Now: The History of a Brand

October 15, 2012 | Soheli | Comments (0)

Left: old logo. Right: new logo.Maybe you've already seen it, or have read about it, but Wendy - of Wendy's Hamburgers, that is - is getting a makeover. The cute redhead has stepped out of her traditional box on the old Wendy's logo and stepped onto a cleaner, brighter white background with updated lettering.

Updating a logo is just one way organizations begin building and updating their brand, or what they want to be associated with.

If you're on this website, or have glanced at anything library related recently, you'll most likely recognize our beloved Toronto Public Library logo. But did you know it had a long ways to go before it ended up looking like what you see today?

TPL logo, circa 1978



...and now.

Before the Toronto Public Library was one large system, there were actually a group of smaller library boards that were based in different parts of the city. The East York Library Board was created in 1967, along with boards for the York Public Library, Etobicoke Public Library and Metro Toronto Library. Recognize any of these logos below?

1967-east-york-public-library-logo 1967-etobicoke-public-library-logo 1967-york-public-library-logo Mtrl-logo-1987-sm

And, yes, there was a Scarborough Public Library too which would've included the Cedarbrae area!

Almost 30 years later, all these individual libraries teamed up - and the Toronto Public Library we know and love today came to be.

Updating a brand can begin with revising an old-fashioned looking logo, and sometimes, it can begin with the idea to bring together like-minded individuals to better the whole.

Have you placed an item on hold today? Or maybe you've returned a book you borrowed at one branch to another on the other side of the city. These are just some of the basic features that came around when the Toronto Public Library broadened to include all parts of the city.

Interested in more history of the Library? Check this out!

And - don't forget: October is Small Business Month, so be sure to consider some books that discuss brands, logos, marketing and more.

BRAND1 Brand2 Brand3

We also have a great display of business-related books on display at the Cedarbrae Branch, so drop by and talk to us in person too!




Get your game on

October 12, 2012 | Erin | Comments (0)

Did you know that Cedarbrae has monthly Arcade NightsImage_preview

All children and teens are welcome to try their hand at:

  • Xbox 360 with Kinect
  • PS3
  • Wii

And games like:

  • Streetfighter
  • FIFA

The next Arcade Night will be Oct 19, from 6:00-8:00pm in the FCCR Program Room.

Film Fridays at Cedarbrae

October 5, 2012 | Erin | Comments (0)

In case you haven't heard the news, Cedarbrae Library has started playing movies on the second Friday night of each month.

Started, you ask? Hasn't Cedarbrae has been playing movies for ages? Well, yes, but mainly for children's and teens. Film Fridays is geared towards our adult and senior patrons. These movies are all award winning or nominated, and many of them are rated PG13 or 14A (children are still welcome with parental permission, of course).

Another plus? All of the films are recent ones that typically have long hold/waiting lists. Here's your chance to skip the line!

Past films have included Crazy Stupid Love, Water for Elephants, The Help,and Hereafter.

Come join us for the next upcoming set of films:


Oct 12 - A Better Life

A better life


In this 2011 Oscar-nominated film, a gardener in East L.A. struggles to keep his son away from gangs and imigration agents while trying to give his son the opportunities he never had.

Starring Demián Bichir and José Julián. Directed by Chris Weitz.





Nov 9 - The Tree of Life The tree of life

Focusing on a family in Texas in 1956, this three time Oscar-nominated 2011 film follows the eldest son as he witnesses the loss of innocence, and struggles with his parents’ conflicting philosophies.

Starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn. Directed by Terrence Malick.




 Dec 14 - The Conspirator

The conspirator

This 2010 tells the story of Mary Surratt, the lone female charged as a co-conspirator in the assassination trial of Abraham Lincoln. As the whole nation turns against her, she is forced to rely on her reluctant lawyer to uncover the truth and save her life.

Starring James McAvoy, Danny Huston, Kevin Kline, and Robin Wright. Directed by Robert Redford.




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.