Legends of Film: Ralph Bakshi

By , April 29, 2013

The Lord of the Rings

During this episode we talk to Ralph Bakshi, director of Fritz the Cat, Wizards, and The Lord of the Rings.   Mr. Bakshi discusses the importance of public libraries, his views on animation, and why he won’t watch Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films.

Book review: Big stitch cross stitch

By , April 28, 2013

Big stitch cross stitch : over 30 contemporary cross stitch projects using extra-large stitches

by Jacqui Pearce

Tired of knitting the same scarf over and over and over again. Feeling a little “dated” every time you reach for a counted cross stitch pattern? Felting leave you soggy? If you fancy yourself a needle crafter, hang on to your horses, here is a hybrid craft for you.

Using 7-count canvas and 4-ply tapestry wool, Big Stitch Cross Stitch by Jacqui Pearce introduces readers to oversize cross stitching. REALLY BIG cross stitch…imagine a love child of needlepoint and counted cross stitch. The author is drawn to graphic 70s patterns and uses plenty of brightly colored wools in executing her designs. The results are bold. Project finish beautifully rich and textured and are well worth your limited time.

As the wedding, graduation gift giving season approaches, consider these projects: Rainbow tea cozy, Russian doll pillow, Big Love picture, Mix tape table cover, thirty plus projects in all. You can start with a small BIG stitch project and in no time at all you will be a big stitch expert.


“You want to be a bit compulsive in your art or craft or whatever you do.” – Steve Martin

Book review: Horst Portraits: 60 Years of Style

By , April 25, 2013

Horst Portraits: 60 Years of Style

Selected and with an essay by Terence Pepper


Horst P. Horst was considered to be one of the “great classic photographers of the twentieth century.” During his 60 year career, he photographed actors, models, designers and socialites for French, American and British Vogue.


Horst Portraits: 60 Years of Style features unseen and unpublished works from the Horst archives as well his published iconic works. His compositions were masterpieces. His subjects cool, elegant, sleek and strong.


This gorgeous book would be of interest to anyone who loves fashion or cinema history.


- Karen




TV series review: Merlin

By , April 23, 2013

Seasons 1 2 3 4 5

If you’ve ever embarked on TV adventures with Xena, Hercules, Richard and Kahlan, the Charmed ones, or Brisco County Jr., Merlin is the show for you.

Loosely (and I do mean loosely) based on Arthurian legend, Merlin, as you’d expect from the title, focuses on the mythical character Merlin, only he’s  an awkward teen who’s coming of age, honing his magical talents, and discovering the destiny that ties him to Arthur Pendragon.  In each episode of Merlin you can expect comic relief, romance, sword fights, sorcery, dragons, and plot lines resolved at the end of almost every episode.  Merlin features a great cast, including John Hurt as the dragon, and Anthony Head as Uther Pendragon.  Let me put it to you truly, Merlin is perfect for when you want to be  easily entertained – it’s pretty much just straight forward fun.  Merlin lasted five seasons, and NPL has all of them!

Wild movies: Letters from the Big Man and more

By , April 22, 2013

Are you still coming down from Cheryl Strayed’s visit? Here are some movies that will definitely tickle your solitary, backpacking, nature-as-solace fancy.

Letters from the Big Man

Christopher Munch’s under appreciated Letters from the Big Man is about the spiritual transformation of fierce backpacker Sarah (Lily Rabe). When she takes a work trek in the mountains of southwestern Oregon, her solitude is disturbed by something big and furry that isn’t a bear. It’s Sasquatch. It’s hard to put into words the Bigfoot-as-third-eye-forest-angel concept of this movie. It is a recursive conundrum because ineffability is the very nature of Sasquatch. To ask, “where’s the body of this huge dead primate?” is to ask the wrong question. This mystical approach probably produces chagrin in both Bigfoot hunters and skeptics. Such daring is typical of the film. The only other human protagonist is a burly logger. Munch doesn’t shy away from society’s reliance on paper when framing the logging issue. Though audacious, Letters from the Big Man is also a story of empathy and tenderness. One of my favorite films in recent years.

The Hunter

Martin (Willem Defoe) is a professional sharpshooter hired to track and kill the last remaining Tazmanian Tiger. When he meets a family whose lives were destroyed by the same corporation that is funding his mission, he’s forced to question his values. Director Daniel Nettheim goes all Terrence Malick on the Tasmanian landscape. Sam Neill’s role as a scheming local functions as an evil doppelganger to Dr. Alan Grant. You could also check out the novel by Julia Leigh which the movie is based on.


Wendy and Lucy

Wendy (Michelle Williams) and Lucy, her beloved dog, have to figure out a way to get from Oregon to Alaska with only a little money and a lot of determination. Wendy’s predicaments closely parallel those of Strayed in Wild. What we get is a sort of hipster retelling of Ol’ Yeller that film nerds freaked over when first released. I know that Michelle Williams acting twitterpated and naive for ninety minutes pinged my heart. Williams so embodies the beleaguered Lucy I didn’t even know it was her, Michelle Williams – famous actress, until years later.

Take your DVD player on the trail.

- Bryan

For Fans of Masterpiece Classic: Mr. Selfridge

By , April 19, 2013

After watching the first few episodes of Mr. Selfridge, the new series on Masterpiece Classic, I ran to the Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature to see what I could find in our Periodicals collection about Harry Gordon Selfridge and his department store.

I was delighted to discover a series of articles in the Saturday Evening Post from 1935, written by Selfridge himself, describing his amazing career.  In this series, Selfridge describes his start in the retail trade with Marshall Fields and his reasons for leaving Marshall Fields, saying:

“I had no quarrel with Mr. Field.  He was a great man and a great American . . . He was straight as a plummet line.  He had confidence in me and I respected him.  But while he displayed many evidences of his affection for me, he was austere in manner and very conservative.  He had little finesse in the handling of men, brilliant as he was in running his business . . . It was ambition that brought about my rupture with Mr. Field.”

Selfridge goes on to describe the path that eventually led him to bring an American department store to London – Selfridge claims that he had once tried to persuade Mr. Field to establish Marshall Fields stores in London and other European cities, but Mr. Field “peremptorily ordered me never to waste his time in discussing such a crack-brained notion.”

Throughout these articles, Selfridge offers a fascinating look at his analysis of the existing stores and shopping environment in London, the obstacles he overcame in building his store, his theories of publicity and advertising, and his revolutionary practices in merchandising and sales that made his department store so successful.  You can read this series of articles in the Saturday Evening Post in the Periodicals section of the Main library (3rd floor) to find out more about:

  • The idea for the Selfridge’s Lift Girls
  • The introduction of the Bargain Basement
  • Selfridge’s unique publicity “stunts” – the 25 shilling fur coat, the display of the Bleriot airplane
  • Sefridge’s personal and business philosophies

Selfridge’s store opened on March 15, 1909 at 9 a.m. to the notes of a bugler and made about 3,000 pounds on opening day – Selfridge remarks that sales were slow because of how crowded the store was, with about 150,000 visitors on a cold and blustery day.

To read about Mr. Selfridge or to learn more about the history of shopping or the department store, check out these books from our collection:


Book review: The Oxford Book of English Verse 1250-1900

By , April 18, 2013

 The Oxford Book of English Verse 1250-1900

Chosen and Edited by Arthur Quiller-Couch


April is National Poetry Month and what better way to celebrate than revisiting some of your favorite poetry. I have always loved British poetry, and so it was quite a pleasant surprise to find The Oxford Book of English Verse 1250-1900.


This book was first published in 1900 compiling the best English verse found not only in England but  anywhere English was spoken hence the Edgar Allen Poe entries.


Arthur Quiller–Couch hoped “to serve those who already love poetry and to implant that love in some young minds not yet initiated.”  I think he more than succeeded, this impressive tome features 650 years of great poems and  includes  an index of Authors and First Lines for easy searching.






Book Review: Cheryl Strayed and Tiny Beautiful Things

By , April 13, 2013

Tiny Beautful Things
By Cheryl Strayed

Like everyone else in the reading world, I picked up Wild on the recommendation of a friend (Crystal, not Oprah). But…I didn’t like it (sigh). Something about Strayed bugged me, plus it made my feet hurt. So I was a little skeptical when another friend (Laurie this time, still not Oprah) recommended Strayed’s advice book instead. Since I could get it from NPL in ebook form, I figured why not?

This book is a compilation of Dear Sugar columns from TheRumpus.net. Strayed answered readers’ letters anonymously as Dear Sugar. I’ve never been much for advice columns mostly I don’t like other people telling me how to run my life. But something about this book just grabbed me. Maybe it was the heart-wrenchingly honest letters from readers. Or maybe it was Strayed’s pull-no-punches attitude. As Dear Sugar, Strayed often wrote that sometimes life gets rough and either you curl up in a ball or you deal with it.

I must admit that there was the teensiest, tiniest bit of tabloidesque voyeurism (wink) and a there-but-for-the-grace-of-God aspect to Dear Sugar, but that does not cheapen the message. Even if you don’t agree with her politics or theology, anyone would easily be able to feel the love behind the author’s words. If Wild didn’t rock your world, give Dear Sugar a chance.

On April 18th at 6:15, Cheryl Strayed will be speaking at the Nashville Public Library as a part of our Salon@615 series. She is specifically coming to promote Wild, but maybe you or I will be able to get a question in about her Dear Sugar days. See you there!

Happy reading…

:) Amanda

Book Review: The Sorcerer’s Apprentices

By , April 6, 2013

The Sorcerer’s Apprentices
By Lisa Abend

Food books are fun. I don’t know exactly why I’m so enamored with them, especially since I wouldn’t eat much of the food described (sea anemone anyone?). The latest entry in my culinary quest is called The Sorcerer’s Apprentices and it is about cooks who give up six months of their lives to work (for free) at the world’s best restaurant, elBulli, in Spain. I’m not exaggerating about being the world’s best. Restaurant Magazine voted elBulli it’s top restaurant for five years (2002, 2006-2009).

What makes elBulli so special? Innovation. Ever heard of molecular gastronomy? This is where it started, along with airs, foams, and spherification. Head chef Ferran Adria never serves the same meals during consecutive seasons and he is always tinkering and tweaking to make his food magical.

Each season, approximately 30 chefs head to Spain to start their six month stage as a stagiaires, working in incredibly strict conditions to perfect the molecular, gastronomical masterpieces that Adria has on his current menu. The process is brutal, rewarding, and captivating to read about.

In 2011, elBulli shut its doors as a restaurant while Adria retools it as a creativity center. It is scheduled to reopen sometime in 2014. If you need something to tide you over until then, check out this book. At least it won’t cost you the €250 Adria charged for each of his meals.

Happy Reading…

:) Amanda

Popmatic Podcast April 2013: The Fool in All of Us

By , April 3, 2013

In honor of April Fool’s Day, we celebrate funny things. In honor of National Poetry Month, we play a poetry game. Jane, from Limitless Libraries, makes a cameo appearance. All this and more on the Popmatic Podcast!


Sarah Vowell


Heartburn by Nora Ephron

Heartburn film version

When Harry Met Sally

Nora Ephron highly recommends having Meryl Streep play you.

House featuring an essay and cover art by Nashville locals

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

Duck Dynasty


“The Cathedral Is” by John Ashbery in As We Know

“Reflections on Ice-Breaking” by Ogden Nash

“Common Sense” by Ogden Nash

a soliloquy from Life is a Dream by Pedro Calderón de la Barca

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles


Edley’s Bar-B-Que

River’s Edge

Tim Hunter

Veronica Mars Kickstarter campaign

Gun Machine by Warren Ellis


The Awakening


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