Book Review: Barkitecture

By , February 28, 2013

Barkitecture
By Fred Albert

 

Barkitecture features doghouses you never dreamed were possible.   This book takes whimsy to the next level. From the shell mosaic doghouse to the dog biscuit log cabin; each page features yet another clever creation.

 

 

You’ll have to check it out to believe it!

 

- Karen

 

 


Music review: Meet Glen Campbell

By , February 27, 2013

Well this one caught my eye and ears and has passed my car listening test (as soon as the last track ends I want to hear the first one again…). A somewhat ironic title as this is a 2008 release of nicely selected material from some great artists – Tom Petty, Lou Reed, Paul Westerberg, Jackson Browne, John Lennon, U2 and even Green Day. Yes, Glen Campbell singing Green Day makes sense – like when Johnny Cash plaintively did Hurt by Trent Reznor.

Suffice to say there are some great songs here (10 solid ones, really) and Campbell’s wistful, ragged voice does them justice. Production is both intimate and lush – a mix of fuzzy folk and non-schmaltsy but sometimes punchy countripolitan the Rhinestone Cowboy championed in his Hey Day. He slips in a line about not doing much rambling or gambling somewhere – may be in “Angel Dream” but these songs just flow into one another.

Along with the above mentioned, this brings to mind some other gems for me like George Harrison’s Brainwashed, Warren Zevon’s Sentimental Hygiene and some of the better of Johnny Cash’s American Recordings. Clearly as Campbell winds down his performing career he is reaching out to younger, more hip generation of listeners.

This disc makes it really easy for anyone to hear his best qualities and to appreciate him.

-Phil

Legends of Film: Ted Kotcheff

By , February 24, 2013

Legends of Film is proud to present an interview with director Ted Kotcheff. Mr. Kotcheff has directed such movies as First Blood, North Dallas Forty, The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, and Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?

Book review: 1,000 Artists’ Books: Exploring the Book as Art

By , February 21, 2013

1,000 Artists’ Books: Exploring the Book as Art

By Sandra Salamony

 

This is a very exciting find,  the title says it all 1,000 Artists’ Books: Exploring the Book as Art  this book is an absolute dream for anyone interested in book making or altered books.

 

1,000 Artists’ Books is broken down into four sections Codex Books “books with pages joined to make a spine,” Accordion and Foldable Books “books with multiple-folded pages,” Single Sheet Books “books made with single-sheet pages” and Sculptural Books “books made from objects and objects made into books.”

 

The book features large color photographs, an Image Directory with detailed information about how each piece was made and a Directory of Artists with artist contact information and website listings.

 

Check it out from the library, and then buy a copy for your home collection, 1,000 Artists’ Books: Exploring the Book as Art is just that good.

 

 

-Karen

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book review: The master of us all Balenciaga: his workrooms, his world

By , February 17, 2013

 


The Master of us all: Balenciaga his workrooms, his world

by Mary Blume.

It is somehow fitting that the new biography of Cristobal Balenciaga presents itself as just a whisper of a book.  A mere 221 pages with a dusty pink spine and a soft  black and white photo on the cover, this little tome provides an inside look behind the creations of Cristobal Balenciaga (1895-1972). An inside look as recalled by Florette Chelot, the house’s first employee.

Balenciaga led a famously secluded life with not a publicity seeking bone in his body. The Spaniard entered the world of fashion in the 1930s. A major force in haute couture during the 50s and 60s, the House of Balenciagia remains relevant today.

Dramatic silhouettes and sculptural forms defined the Balenciaga look. The designer relied on stiff fabrics for defining their structure.  Among his famous creations; the classic suit jacket with the slight fullness, the restraining band. The dresses; the balloon dress, the Chou dress, the sack dress, the envelope dress, the “Infanta” dress 1939. The melon sleeve, the twin-seamed sleeve… oh, his obsession with the sleeves! He   famously tore off sleeves that didn’t suit him or his exacting standards.

Unfortunately the book‘s illustrations barely do justice to the creations. Just 8 color pages of illustrations and perhaps 50 b&w photos interspersed among the text,  you will need to look elsewhere for examples of the fashions. For the most inclusive look into the collection, see http://world.balenciaga.com where you can visit the current collection as well stroll through the history of the house under the sites “Heritage” section.

The influence of Balenciaga continues today. As a teenager, Karl Lagerfeld is said to have seen an Irving Penn photo of Penn’s wife in a Balenciaga gown in the 1950 September issue of Vogue. That photograph let Lagerfeld know there was a place for him in fashion. Oscar De La Renta worked as a sketch artist for the house when it was located in Madrid during the 1930s. In March 2012 he served as president for the exhibit “Balenciaga and Spain,” curated by Hamish Bowles, at San Francisco’s de Young Museum. Last November, WWD reported that Balenciaga will be headed by Alexander Wang, replacing Nicolas Ghesquière. Carine Roitfield, former editor-in-chief at Vogue Paris, and longtime Wang supporter, was rumored to be joining Wang as a stylist at Balenciaga.

laurie

“Haute couture is like an orchestra, whose conductor is Balenciaga. We other couturiers are the musicians and we follow the directions he gives.”—–Christian Dior

Book review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

By , February 13, 2013

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I recently finished Gone Girl (just in time for Valentine’s Day!) and agree it was quite the read. Very gone girl indeed!  Absorbing and twisted with well thought out yet surprising developments and excellently depicted characters – with a unique play it back journal entry style and point of view alternate takes.(Grammatically incorrect – thanks Amy). I especially enjoyed the pair of detectives -Boney and Gilpin, who may have been in over their heads with this one!

I was thinking about movies and couldn’t place a female lead until I listened again to the year’s best  Podcast and heard a library colleague mentioning Reece Witherspoon. That would be a great fit (I think of her in Election). Some other movies that crossed my mind while reading this were: High Fidelity, American Beauty, Basic Instinct, Magic and, maybe most of all, The Game (w/ Michael Douglas). And maybe the play Deathtrap.  I couldn’t help think of Nancy Grace circa the Scott Peterson case as well with the Ellen Abbott character. But with any great book it’s the nuances and thoughts of the characters you are privy to and the acute descriptions that make this one to read (before a movie based on it comes out).

The story opens in Carthage, Missouri where Amy and Nick Dunne, displaced (from NYC) and unemployed ex-writers have returned to reside in a McMansion near the Mississippi, enabling Nick to tend to his ailing parents and work at a bar he owns with his twin sister, Margo. From here, on their fifth wedding anniversary Amy disappears in an apparent abduction; possibly a set up…

But this book is so much more and truly is a masterpiece of psychological intrigue; with a  marriage gone really wrong, a what is going on here?!  and what may possibly develop next?  plot that tumbles ever forward.  It is hugely absorbing and the characters are very believable – from Nick’s sister Go and her stark directness to Amy’s annoyingly alike parents, Rand and Marybeth,  both psychologists who have been living off the royalties of the  Amazing Amy series, children’s books that may have run their course. Other characters have memorable bit roles while Amy herself gives new meaning to  terms for a clever, manipulative spouse.  Anniversary treasure hunts with disguised clues are just the tip of the iceberg here with the games she plays.

I haven’t heard anyone who has not been impressed by this book, which is unforgettable and merits its praise as one of the year’s best (and probably a rereading by me).  This story is gripping and diabolically twisted with a sharp, modern edge (and really funny at times too).  Maybe a disclaimer is in order:  not for everyone – adult situations, sexual content and language  and an addicting plot that will not let you down easy while confounding and surprising.

A whirlwind of a novel.

-Phil

Book Review: The Man Who Quit Money

By , February 11, 2013

Man Who Quit Money

The Man Who Quit Money
by Mark Sundeen

Daniel Suelo has lived without using money for twelve years. Raised as an Evangelical Christian who explored many other religions as a young man, Suelo seeks to shed what he sees as the hypocrisy of living a spiritual life in a consumerist society. Far from being a hermit, Suelo has a large network of friends, remains close to his family, and gives freely of his time and labor at homeless shelters and community farms. He survives off the generosity of his friends and neighbors, as well as what he can scavenge from other people’s waste – of which there is plenty. Suelo has realized that he does not need a house full of things to make him happy.

Mark Sundeen tells Suelo’s story, not to prescribe a particular lifestyle all should aspire to, but instead to relate the life of this amazing man. Tales of Suelo’s life are intertwined with religion, philosophy, and the history of consumerism and banking in the United States.

- Katherine

Survey Graphic Magazine and the Harlem Renaissance

By , February 10, 2013

 

While helping some high school students research the Harlem Renaissance, I discovered that Nashville Public
Library owns the March 1925 “Graphic Number” of
The Survey magazine.  This volume was a showcase that quickly made the rest of the country aware of the burgeoning cultural movement happening in Harlem, especially the literary achievements.

 The “Graphic Number” was a special issue printed yearly of The Survey, a magazine about social issues in America.  The 1925 Survey Graphic issue was devoted entirely to Harlem and to the “New Negro Movement” that later became known as the Harlem Renaissance. 

African American scholars Charles S. Johnson (who eventually became the first black president of Fisk University) and Alain Locke were the guest editors for this special issue.  Locke later turned the magazine into a book anthology titled The New Negro: An Interpretation.

The magazine includes articles by Locke, Johnson, and other scholars as well as stories by W.E.B. Dubois and Rudolph Fisher.  Most of the art pieces are black and white drawings by Winold Reiss, a German immigrant. They include portraits of Harlem residents and other notable figures of the Harlem Renaissance movement. The significant poets of the Harlem Renaissance are also represented in this issue:
              • Claude McKay
              • Anne Spencer
              • Jean Toomer
              • Countee Cullen
              • Langston Hughes

You can see this influential magazine by visiting the Periodicals desk on the 3rd floor at the Main library.  To learn more about the Harlem Renaissance and some of the figures showcased in the March, 1925 Survey Graphic, check out these materials from Nashville Public Library:

Book Review: Dearie

By , February 9, 2013

Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child
By Bob Spitz and Kimberly Farr

For someone whose first introduction to Julia Child was Bill Cosby teaching his fictional son Theo to carve a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner, I’ve become somewhat obsessed. And I mean that in a good way. I mean, the woman was 6’3″ tall, didn’t get married until she was 34, and could debone a duck with a flick of a wrist. What’s not to love?

Sometimes big biographies like this one can be scary because they are long and there is always a chance you’ll get stuck in the boring middle part. Well the good news here is that there is no boring middle part. Even though it got a little sad towards the end, I still wasn’t ready for the Julia fun to be over. I was simply amazed at what Julia was able to accomplish in the later part of her life. For someone who basically wasted the first 30 years, she certainly made something of herself.

Also, I was so impressed with her scientific method for breaking down and improving recipes. I can’t even imagine the stamina and dedication (not to mention cost) that took. It made me go upstairs and actually check out Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Now…I’m not gonna pull a Julie and Julia and cook every recipe, but it would be nice to find one or two good ones to add to my repertoire. Guaranteed NOT to be that winner: deboned duck (not gonna touch it) or anything with aspic (umm…boiled hooves? no thanks. I’m not even the biggest fan of Jello).

Bonne lecture!
(Happy reading and then hopefully eating…)
:) Amanda

 

Love Letters

By , February 7, 2013

Valentine’s Day is next week and there is nothing that inspires romance like beautifully written love letters.

Love Letters of Great Men
Edited by Ursula Doyle

Request it

Who doesn’t remember the scene from the Sex and the City movie where Carrie reads aloud to Big from a book called Love Letters of Great Men.  As fans of the movie discovered, the book did not actually exist. Ursula Doyle complied all of the letters referenced in the film in this one slim volume.

 

Love letters of Great Women
Edited by Ursula Doyle

Request it

“As a companion to Love Letters of Great Men, this anthology gives the other side of the story: the secret hopes and lives of some of the greatest women in history, from writers and artists to politicians and queens.”

 

 

Love Letters, Lost
By Babbette Hines

Request it

“Love Letters, Lost is a collection of amorous letters whose fates were, alas, scattered to the wind. Salvaged from flea markets, garage sales, swap meets, and Internet auctions by Babbette Hines, they are here paired with vintage photographs of love-struck couples holding hands, laughing, smiling, dancing, and otherwise mugging for the camera.”

 

The 50 Greatest Love Letters of All Time
Selected by David H. Lowenherz

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“If a picture speaks a thousand words, a love letter speaks a thousand more . . . Even in this age of e-mail, faxes, and instant messaging, nothing has ever replaced the power of a love letter. Internationally renowned collector David Lowenherz sifted through hundreds and hundreds of historical and contemporary epistles and selected the most ardent, witty, whimsical, sexy, clever, and touching letters for this inspiring collection.”

 

Love Letters: an Anthology
Chosen by Antonia Fraser

Request it

“Here are 135 wonderful love letters – dashed off, through the centuries, by a glorious variety of lovers, passionately expressing their ardor, ecstasy, jealousy, pique, despair, adoration, utter enslavement and amazed joy.”

 

A Love No Less: More Than Two Centuries of African American Love Letters
Edited by Pamela Newkirk

Request it

“A delightful tribute to African American love, this treasury of fifty letters written by well-known figures and ordinary folk alike resonates with the joy and tenderness of romance, and offers glimpses into the social, literary, and political lives of black Americans throughout the last two centuries.”

 

-Karen

 

 

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