Book Review: Dead Space: Martyr

By , April 26, 2015

Dead Space: Martyr
By Brian Evenson

The Earth is dying, the human race is circling down the drain, and something has been found in the Chicxulub crater, under the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. This incredible discovery has the ability to change the course of human existence, but are people really prepared for the consequences it will bring?

“Dead Space: Martyr” is a prequel to the popular horror video game, “Dead Space”. “Martyr” delves into the founding of a new religion, Unitology, and the Marker, mysterious object that the practitioners worship. The novel mainly follows Michael Altman as he investigates the alien artifact found in the Chicxulub crater, the impact Altman has on the world after making his discovery, and how he feels about his role towards both.

The book is well written, and the author does a superb job, pulling together numerous elements from “Dead Space” video game to create a fluid story. There are several nods to the game that might go over some readers heads, though they never take away from “Martyr’s” intensity. I really appreciated the sense of dread, confusion, paranoia, and terror that many of the characters experience. The feelings that I got from the book were not exactly the same as what I got from the video game, but it was close enough to send a chill down my spine.



Legends of Film – William Lustig

By , April 25, 2015

Ipcress_File_British_quad_posterDuring this episode we talk to filmmaker, William Lustig. Lustig’s directing credits include the cult favorites Maniac, Maniac Cop, and Vigilante. While Mr. Lustig has served in just about every film-making capacity – from actor, to producer, to writer – Lustig also has a passion for film restoration. The Ipcress File is one of the many movies he has restored.

Join us for a free afternoon screening of The Ipcress File on Saturday, May 9, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. in the Main Library auditorium.

Popmatic Podcast for April 22nd, 2015: Hip Hop Falcon Crest aka the Musical Episode

By , April 22, 2015

Rocky Horror Picture Show Original SoundtrackEmpire is a media phenomenon that topped both tv ratings and Billboard charts. Mike begged not to do a hip hop show. Bill begged to do a hip hop show. A compromise was reached and we decided on a musicals episode. Discussion of Empire (and QVC) comes at the very end.



Empire Original Soundtrack from Season 1

Kinky Boots original Broadway cast recording CD | Freegal

Kinky Boots film

Little Shop of Horrors Frank Oz version

Little Shop of Horrors Roger Corman version

Cabaret DVD | Hoopla | Overdrive

Cabaret original Broadway cast recording

Joel Grey the original MC

Berlin Stories by Christopher Isherwood


Moulin Rouge

Rocky Horror Picture Show

Rocky Horror Picture Show original soundtrack


Broke with Expensive Taste by Azealia Banks

Dirty Gold by Angel Haze

Lip Sync Battle

North 40 by Aaron Williams & Fiona Staples

The Fade Out by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips


Transcripts of the show are available upon request.

Book List: Baseball Stories

By , April 21, 2015


by Michael Chabon

Mythology and baseball merge in this fantastical tale by Pulitzer Prize winner Chabon. In order to save his father, Ethan Feld, plays baseball with his friends, travelling on a strange road trip through Summerland.




The Heart of a Champion
by Carl Deuker

One boy has all the potential, while the other has all the need. Jimmy has been playing his whole life. One day he is out playing with his dad when Seth comes by. The two boys could almost be brothers, except that Seth is bearing a heavy sorrow. A story of the way a game can bring out the best parts of ourselves.



Calico Joe
by John Grisham

In the summer of 1973, “Calico Joe” Castle is dynamite at the plate, hitting home runs at his first three times at bat for the Chicago Cubs. Until he is hit by a pitcher and injured so badly that it ended his career. Thirty years later, a ten-year-old baseball fan, Paul Tracey, tries to discover the truth of this errant pitch, and how it has affected his own life.



The Art of Fielding 
by Chad Harbach

At 17, Henry Shrimsander plays shortstop for an amateur team in South Dakota. His near-mystical talent for fielding attracts the attention of a player from Westish College, Mike Schwartz. Under Mike’s protective wing, Henry thrives, attracting attention from Major League scouts. Until one day, one bad throw, and Henry completely loses his stride.



The Contract
by Derek Jeter

We meet eight-year-old Derek Jeter when he is selected to play with Kalamazoo’s Little League Tigers, but not in his preferred position of shortstop. With the help of his parents, who have Derek sign a contract promising that he will maintain a positive attitude, Derek finds a way to transform his disappointment into success.




Heavy Hitters  
by Mike Lupica

Longtime sports writer Mike Lupica is the author of many gripping sports novels, such as those in the Game Changers series. Each novel in the series focuses on a different sport: Heavy Hitters, seen here, focuses on baseball. Eleven year-old Ben is off to a rough start when he’s hit by a pitch in the first game of the season. But more challenging problems lie ahead when the best hitter on the team begins behaving erratically. Other baseball novels by Lupica include Heat  and Travel Team


The Natural
by Bernard Malamud

There was no stopping the meteoric rise to baseball fame of nineteen year-old Roy Hobbs. The kid could pitch and hit as if he were born to do nothing else. But his career is stopped abruptly after an encounter with the wrong kind of woman. Expect some strange and dark humor in Malamud’s first book, originally published in 1952.





Book review: The Art of the Simon and Kirby Studio

By , April 19, 2015

The Art of the Simon and Kirby StudioThe Art of the Simon and Kirby Studio
by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby; selected and edited by Mark Evanier ; afterword by Jim Simon

The impact and influence of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby on comics cannot be overstated. If they’d stopped working in the ‘40s after creating Captain America that would have been enough, but these two men pivoted as their industry changed post-World War II. Kirby produced art at furious clip, filling pages and pages and even more pages while other artists were still sharpening their pencils.

Kirby, of course, became the King, the co-creator of the Fantastic Four, X-Men, Hulk, and countless other characters. That work tends to obscure his early collaborations with Simon, but this book goes a long way toward changing that. It contains stories published in the late ‘40s and early ‘50s by the Simon and Kirby studio

Simon, no slouch at the art desk himself, had a head for business, and helped the studio become one of the premiere producers of content for America’s comic book industry. In addition to their own work, the Simon and Kirby studio produced work by some of comics’ most famous names: Mort Meskin, Steve Ditko, Al Williamson, and Jack Davis.

Instead of reading finished comic pages, this book is filled with beautiful scans of original art. The pages are gray and yellow and speckled with age, but the art remains as sharp as ever. There are half-finished covers, scribbled text acting as placeholders for copy, and rivers of correction fluid winding through the panels.

Reading this book is like entering the offices of Simon and Kirby and rifling through their files, scouring the slush pile, even breathing in the smoke from one of Kirby’s cigars. It’s a museum in miniature, and like so much else these two artists touched, it’s a wonder to behold.


Popmatic Podcast for April 15th, 2015: Buy Me Some Peanuts

By , April 15, 2015

The Art of Fielding by Chad HarbachThe Nashville Sounds’ first home game in the brand spanking new First Tennessee Stadium is this week. Special guest Sarah joins the Popmatic crew to pass the time with books and movies about America’s favorite pastime. Keep an ear out too for the best local film, comedy, and music festivals happening soon. Tickling Bryan’s Cagian fancy this week is the sound of ice in someone’s water bottle which is featured heavily in the second half of the show.


Nashville Sounds

adieu Greer Stadium

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach


Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine starring Avery Brooks as the baseball loving Captain Benjamin Sisko


Nashville Film Festival

Make It or Break

The Hundred-Foot Journey

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Rites of Spring

Forecastle Festival

Moon Taxi

The Doug Benson Movie Interruption: Footloose

David & Jerry Zucker present AIRPLANE!


Transcripts of the show are available upon request.

Audio book review: The Bedwetter

By , April 14, 2015

The Bedwetter: Stories of courage, redemption and pee
By Sarah Silverman, read by the author*

If someone would have ever told me that Sarah Silverman would teach me a usable tenet in my life, I would have laughed at them and then walked away because they were obviously crazy, right? Don’t get me wrong, I love Sarah Silverman. She was hilarious as the overbearing wife in School of Rock and I loved her hooker with a heart of gold in A Million Ways to Die in the West. Even though she loves poo (a lot), I still think she’s smart and funny. But I never expected her to teach me a solid life lesson.

This book came out in 2010 and it haunted me from the new Nonfiction shelves in Popular Materials until it went to its permanent home on the third floor. Why didn’t I read it right away? I think because of the title. I was never a Bedwetter and I always thought that whole concept was yucky, so I just assumed this was Sarah being her potty-humored self. Something made me download it from Overdrive, though, and listen to it on my smart phone (now that I’ve finally joined the 21st century and have one).

*Dear Famous People who Write Books About Your Lives,
If an audio book is ever recorded, you need to read it. That makes the book so much better. Seriously. The ones I’ve listened to that the author reads are ALWAYS better than ones who pawn it off on someone else. Sarah reading her book makes her voice and sarcasm so clear that it doubles the humor.

Anyway, it turns out that Sarah actually had a problem with wetting the bed until she was in high school. She’s brutally honest about it, but there is still some humor. Glad it wasn’t me, but also glad that the title had more meaning that just a crude potty joke. I did like, though, that she and her editor had a long back and forth about the use of Pee vs Pee Pee in the subtitle. For my two cents, I think Sarah’s simple Pee is funnier.

So what was this great life lesson that Sarah taught me? Make it a treat. You know, things you shouldn’t necessarily do every day, but when you do them you should enjoy them. She applied it to partaking in a certain semi-legal substance, but I think you can apply it to just about anything. Pie. Donuts. Reality TV. Once in a while makes it something special, but getting bogged down in it all the time takes all the fun away.

I really enjoyed this book – especially the fact that the audio version was read by Sarah. We also have print versions or the actual book on CD if you don’t do downloads. If you’re looking for something a little lighter as we head into spring, definitely check this one out.

Happy reading/ listening/ making it a treat!

:) Amanda

Book review: Broken Open

By , April 13, 2015

Broken Open By Lauren DaneBroken Open
By Lauren Dane

Broken Open is the second book in Lauren Dane’s  Hurley Brothers series. The story deals with Ezra Hurley and Tuesday Eastwood. Ezra has lived a rock-n-roll lifestyle, so he is trying to find balance within his life. Tuesday has suffered a loss and is trying to regain her bearings. Both are trying to learn how let go of past issues and relationships, while trying to build new ones. The book also delves into the lives of the people around Tuesday and Ezra. This sneakily sets the reader up for book three, but it also adds meat to the overall story.

Because this is a Romance novel, the audience is well aware that the two main characters connect with one another. Lauren Dane, however, has a tendency of adding realism to her books which can shake up the typical Romance-arc. Similar novels have instant chemistry and a happily ever after.  This novel will give the reader most of that, but s/he is also  shown how and why these two have a genuine bond.

Tuesday and Ezra have a prior connection with each other, so there is a basis for  their relationship. They are beautiful and successful people who acknowledge that they need time to get to know each other as partners. They have both had life experiences that have made them mature adults, and their actions towards each other have legitimate consequences.

The reason this book is such a good read is because while this book is definitely a  romantic fantasy, it is not outside the realm of possibility. The realism that Dane brings to this novel made me accept Tuesday’s and Ezra’s relationship ten times more than I would have otherwise. Plus, Tuesday is not a woman to be walked on, and the Hurleys are not people who will let you walk on loved ones!


Historic Nashville Inc. Downtown Survey

By , April 13, 2015

Historic Nashville, Inc., (HNI) documents and preserves the cultural, historical, and architectural heritage of Nashville. HNI has been instrumental in saving some of Nashville’s most iconic and historic buildings, like Union Station and the Ryman Auditorium, and can be credited with jump-starting the revitalization of downtown in the early 1980s.

Historic Nashville Inc. Downtown Survey

One of HNI’s projects, undertaken around 1980, is the Historic Nashville Inc. Downtown Survey. Today, this is a popular resource for individuals researching downtown building histories. It contains information on over 250 buildings in an area generally bounded by the Cumberland River on the east; by 10th Avenue to the west; by the State Capitol at the north; and by Demonbreun Street on the south. The origins of the project are not clear, but generally the focus seems to be on buildings that were 50 years old or older and still standing in 1980.

Many buildings remain familiar parts of the downtown landscape: historic churches like Downtown Presbyterian or St. Mary’s; hotels like the Hermitage Hotel; or iconic buildings still bearing their original names, if not their original use, such as the American Trust building, Southern Turf, or the Silver Dollar Saloon. Other buildings include less well-known structures, though ones you still may pass every day, like the Berger Building or the Weil Block. Yet others have been torn down in the decades since 1980, and this collection is especially useful for the documentation it provides on these sites.

Each file typically includes three types of materials: photographs taken of the building’s exterior in 1980; an architectural description; and a compiled listing of deed and/or city directory research for the individual property.

627-631 Church Street and Candyland

Let’s take a look at one of the files. I’ve chosen Property #101, for the address of 627-631 Church Street, part of the block where the Nashville Public Library is located today.


Most structures will have a photograph of the front of the building, taken from street level.

View of front of building, corner of Church St. and 7th Ave. N.

Sometimes there will also be photographs of architectural details, such as these windows.


Photograph of details of windows


Architectural description

The survey provides a detailed description of the architectural features of the structure. The compiler also noted interior use and layout, and condition of the building.

Architectural description of building


 Deed Research

The file also includes this sheet, showing property transfers based on research in deed records, dating all the way back to 1845!


Deed research worksheet

The researcher in this case also added a sketch of the property and adjacent lots that were described in the will of George W. Smith in 1885.


Sketch of building plan


Not all of the properties covered in the Downtown Survey have as much detail; some have less, some have more. But this should serve as an introduction to this collection if you wish to know more about historic buildings downtown.

Learn more:

View the list of properties included in the survey, arranged by address, or read the formal finding aid which provides an overview.

See what other collections or materials we have that were produced by Historic Nashville, Inc.

Historic Nashville Inc Downtown Survey – Property 101 (pdf)

View selected photographs from a related collection, the HNI Sacred Sites Survey Project. This project was conducted from 1999-2003, and documented local churches that were fifty years old or older.

- Linda

Music review: Belgian musician Stromae

By , April 10, 2015

Promo stromaeThere is so much music out there in the world, my friends.  As residents of Music City, we can sometimes forget to explore beyond the musical borders of our beloved Nashville.  To make new music discoveries, I follow some of the big music happenings, like the South by Southwest festival in Austin.  Every year when I read about artists who wowed folks at SXSW, I happily discover a new musical obsession.  See the cutie in the picture to your left?  That’s Stromae, the Belgian pop star who has a bazillion views on Youtube!  Music fans all over the world already appreciate his artistry.  It’s about time we join in.

You might be wondering just how to pronounce his name.  Say the words “my strobe light.” Now reverse the words, and remove the be and the lightStromae has said it’s a play on the word “maestro.” Get it?  If you’ve never heard any of his music,  Stromae is an artist smartly influenced by the melodies and rhythms of the world.  Many of his songs make dancing a necessity.  Stromae sings and raps in French but you can easily find English translations of his lyrics online.  Do watch his videos – they reveal the tone and intent for those of us who don’t speak French.  Take his hit song Papaoutai.  In the video you see a young boy trying in vain to connect with his father.  Stromae’s father abandoned his family in Belgium to return to Rwanda, and was killed in the  genocide of the 1990′s.

I gotta give a shout out to the folks at NPR Music who hosted Stromae at their 2015 SXSW showcase.  You can watch his performance here.  Check out his music on Hoopla.  And let’s start a campaign to bring him to Nashville!!


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