Legends of Film: Andrew Davis

By , July 30, 2013

During this episode we talk to the thinking man’s action director, Andrew Davis. Davis has directed such films as The Fugitive, Holes, and Stony Island. During the interview he discusses the importance of casting, his collaboration with actor Tommy Lee Jones, and why the Chicago ‘ L’ train is important to his movies.

CD review: Tomato Songs Vol.1

By , July 25, 2013

The Tomato Art Fest is back for its 10th year! Festivities will take place on Saturday, August 10th in historic East Nashville’s Five Points.

While you are crafting your entry for the Tomato Art Show or getting into shape for the Tomato 5k why not do it while listening to Tomato Songs Vol. 1.

Tomato Songs Vol. 1. features funny and clever songs performed by various artists, all singing their hearts out in celebration of the mighty tomato. “Pomme d’Amour” by Tom Mason is a jazzy little number, while Peter Cooper’s “Please Don’t Throw (Anymore Tomatoes at Me)” is more soulful. My two personal favorites are “Tomahter” by Pru Clearwater and the mournful ballad “The Day My Tomatoes Died” by Seth Waltenbaugh.

The Tomato Art Fest has been voted Best Festival by Nashville Scene reader’s polls since 2007…….don’t miss it or this CD.






Book review: Pati’s Mexican Table

By , July 23, 2013

Pati’s Mexican Table: the Secrets of Real Mexican Home Cooking
by Pati Jinich

Thanks to our diverse community of Nashvillians, we have so many wonderful and reasonably priced Internationally-flavored restaurants.  I particularly enjoy Mexican food, and  El Jaliciense on the East Side is one of my favorite establishments.  If you’re like me and love the flavors of Mexican cuisine and are curious to try preparing it in your home kitchen, Pati’s Mexican Table is a priceless resource.

Perhaps you know Pati from her PBS cooking show Pati’s Mexican Table.  She is also the official chef of the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington DC, and Pati often appears in the national media and at the Smithsonian to speak about Mexican culture and cuisine.  Her debut cookbook is so user-friendly, it will quickly put your fear of unknown spices and techniques completely at ease.  She explains traditional Mexican ingredients like queso fresco and jicama in special sidebars, and through detailed instructions Pati illustrates the tried and true cooking techniques of a Mexican kitchen.   My favorite recipe so far has been her smoky chicken potato salad (page 159.)  I’m looking forward to finding a ripe watermelon and some tomatillos to make her watermelon and tomatillo salad with feta cheese (page 53.) And I must attempt to create her guava cheesecake (page 256.)

If you’re already an experienced Mexican home cook, can I come over for dinner?  Just kidding, but I do want to let you know about this year’s James Beard Foundation‘s award winning cookbook of the year, Gran Cocina Latina: the Food of Latin America, by Maricel E. Presilla.  Presilla’s remarkable tome is beautifully crafted, authoritative, and I daresay will prove to be the ultimate resource on Latin American food.


Book list: Punk x 3

By , July 22, 2013

Punk: Chaos to Couture
by Andrew Bolton

Instant flame war: punk was a fashion movement that originated in the 1970s – discuss. If you need evidence to support one side of that argument  may I present Punk: Chaos to Couture, the accompanying volume to a recent Metropolitan Museum of Art show documenting the links between 1970s punk fashion and, well, all fashion. The gutter to the penthouse, the Sex Pistols were dressed by Vivienne Westwood. Puke stained carpet to red carpet, The Clash were dressed by Alex Michon. Introductions by Johnny Rotten and Richard Hell. So much for social justice.


Punk: The Best of Punk Magazine
by John Holmstrom & Bridget Hurd

It’s hard to argue that punk’s primary focus was social justice when flipping through the pages of Punk: The Best of Punk MagazinePunk was the seminal New York music zine. This coffee table sized, deluxe reprint proves definitely that punk music and punk fashion started in NYC, but also that punk was about beers and cars and casual misogyny in early days. Perhaps The Clash were good for something? The boneheadedness of Punk’s editors didn’t stop free thinking goddesses like Patti Smith and Debbie Harry from participating. Anyone who was anyone of the early days are interviewed: The Ramones, Television, Iggy, Suicide, etc, all with illustrious hand lettering. Who remembers was hand lettering was street and not boutique? This is the hard bound edition of the best magazine about the best thing that ever happened to rock-n-roll.


We Owe You Nothing – Punk Planet: The Collected Interviews
by Daniel Sinker (Ed.)

Punk was far more focused on social issues by the time Punk Planet was launched in 1994. Known for its lengthy and insightful interviews with musicians, artists, and social activists, it published for eighty issues before biting the dust. We Owe You Nothing is the best of those interviews. The library owns the 2001 edition which I read in 2010 and it still blew my mind. It’s chicken soup for the DIY soul. It was published by always stellar Akashic Books.

If you clicked to read this you’ll probably also be interested in Zines 101: A History of and How To Zine Workshop at the Main Library in the Teen Center, Saturday, July 27th, 1-3pm. It is in the Teen Center but open to all.

- Bryan

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith/J.K. Rowling

By , July 21, 2013


The Cuckoo’s Callingby Robert Galbraith/J.K. Rowling

The publishing world spent the last week catching up to the news that The Cuckoo’s Calling, a highly regarded first novel published this past April by first time novelist Robert Galbraith, was in fact written by J.K. Rowling. Bookstores and libraries are scrambling to replenish their stock of The Cuckoo’s Calling.

As the publisher,  Mulholland Books, restarts the presses here are a few titles to keep you mysteriously satisfied as we wait to read this summer’s surprise hit.

Before the world knew the famous author behind the pseudonym, reviews had come in singing the praises of the The Cuckoo’s Calling. Here are three astute authors who recognized the world class talent, hiding behind the veil of Robert Galbraith:

The Cuckoo’s Calling reminds me why I fell in love with crime fiction in the first place”, wrote Val McDermid, bestselling author of The Vanishing Point.

“…it’s hard to believe this is a debut novel. A beautifully written debut novel introducing one of the most unique and compelling detectives I’ve come across in years” - Mark Billingham, author of The Demands

“A remarkably assured debut. Robert Galbraith’s portrayal of celebrity-obsessed modern London is at once beautifully written and utterly engrossing, his characters so real you could eat dinner with them, his ever-coiling plot guaranteed to keep you up past your bedtime. I couldn’t put it down“,Owen Laukkanen, author of The Professionals.

Here are two world class mystery series to enjoy:

Check out Robert Crais’s series featuring  P.I. Elvis Cole, a Vietnam veteran, and his unusual partner, stone-faced mercenary Joe Pike.  This series is set in celebrity-obsessed Los Angeles.  The likeable Cole has a complicated personal life, as does Rowling’s protagonist, Cormoran Strike, a wounded Afghanistan war vet.  The award winning Monkey’s Raincoat is the title to start with here.

Jo Nesbo’s sophisticated crime series features Norwegian Inspector Harry Hole, a disorganized alcoholic who is nevertheless a brilliant crime-solver.  He often employees unorthodox methods to investigate crimes rooted in the modern social issues of Norway- including heavy drug use, prostitution, rape and organized crime- and Nesbo’s writing is superb.  The middle of a sultry southern summer is the perfect time to become acquainted with one of the leading crime writers of Scandanavia.  Start this series with The Bat.

Finally, two stand-alone, brand new mysteries to enjoy:  the nail-biting Silent Wife by S.A.Harrison  and the widely heralded Visitation Street by Ivy Pochoda.

“The true mystery of the world is the visable, not the invisible.”  Oscar Wilde

- laurie & julie

Book review: The Heist

By , July 20, 2013

The Heist
By Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg

To read or not to read. That is the question.

I’ve been a Stephanie Plum fan for a while now, but the rest of Evanovich’s book’s left me kinda flat. Plus I was worried about this one because it seems like she’s pulling the James Patterson trick and partnering with a less famous writer and letting them do all the work while she sips mai tai’s in Fiji*.

But I’m happy to say that you do not need to be worried about this book. It is a fun and page-turning read. It kind of reminded me of an episode of Burn Notice or Leverage – both of which I love.

So here’s the story: Kate O’Hare is a determined FBI agent chasing the ever-elusive con man, Nick Fox. Once she catches him, instead of locking him up for 87 million years like he deserves, the FBI determines that he’s better as an asset to catch even bigger thieves. And Kate has to help him. I really hope that we get to meet more of their team because it seems like the authors  have some great characters in development.

Theoretically, this would make a great beach read, but I can’t speak from experience because on the day I tried it was too windy. Every time I turned a page I got sand in my eyes. Sigh.  You’ll just have to do it for me.

Happy reading…

:) Amanda

*I don’t know if Evanovich likes mai tais or has been to Fiji, but both sound fun.

Man Booker International Prize Winner 2013

By , July 18, 2013

In May, American writer Lydia Davis was awarded the Man Booker International Prize for “achievement in fiction on the world stage.”

Lydia Davis’s writing style is a challenge to classify. Her work has been described as “stories, miniatures, anecdotes, essays, jokes, parables, texts, aphorisms, apophthegms, prayers or simply observations.” Her short stories range in length, from a single finely crafted paragraph to a couple of pages.


If you would like to try some of Lydia Davis’ stories the library has several of her collections to choose from:

The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis

By Lydia Davis (2009)

“Now, for the first time, Davis’s short stories will be collected in one volume, from the groundbreaking Break It Down (1986) to the 2007 National Book Award nominee Varieties of Disturbance. The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis is an event in American letters.”




Varieties of Disturbance: Stories

By Lydia Davis (2007)


“In her fourth collection, Davis extends her reach as never before in stories that take every form from sociological studies to concise poems.”




Samuel Johnson is Indignant: Stories

By Lydia Davis (2002)


Lydia Davis’s first major collection of stories, described as “a magnetic collection of stories” and “a strong, seemingly effortless haunting work.”





Almost No Memory

By Lydia Davis (1997)

“Philosophical inquiry, examinations of language, and domestic disputes are the focus of Lydia Davis’s inventive collection of short fiction.”










Popmatic Podcast July 2013: Cooking the Books

By , July 16, 2013

Bryan misses an episode of the Popmatic Podcast for first time ever. With grumpy librarian away, the rest of the team raids the refrigerator. They tell you about about their favorite cookbooks, food blogs, and individual recipes. Favorite local restaurants are named but you’ll have to listen for those. Is this the best episode ever? Probably.

Come In, We’re Closed: An Invitation to Staff Meals at the World’s Best Restaurants by Christine Carroll & Jody Eddy

No Reservations (film)

The $5 Dinner Mom One-dish Dinner Cookbook by Erin Chase
Check out the recipe for skillet shells and beef with peppers on page 133.

Man Tested Recipes  (blog)
Check out their recipe for liquid nitrogen cooled strawberry ice cream.

Big Night (film)

Smoke & Pickles: Recipes and Stories from a New Southern Kitchen by Edward Lee
Check out the recipe for bourbon-pickled jalapenos on page 175.

Edward Lee’s restaurant 610 Magnolia.


Music review: Golden, Lady A

By , July 13, 2013

By Lady Antebellum

The other day I was listening to the new Lady A CD and… Wait! We still have CDs? Freegal hasn’t taken over the world yet? Awesome.

So anyway, since Golden came across my path, I thought I’d give it a listen. I used to be a huge Lady A fan, but their last album, Own the Night, failed to rock my world enough for me to care about it. I am happy to say that this one falls somewhere in between. It wasn’t completely, mindblowingly awesome like their self-titled debut, but it was much better than it’s predecessor.

No tracks on Golden really rock hard (“Better Off Now” tries), but it does have a nice mellow groove. Better suited for kicking back after a hard day of work than dancing around the house. For some reason, it kinda reminded me of a sunset – ya know, when the sun turns golden? “Just sittin’ on the dock of the bay…wasting time…” except, ya know, by Lady A.

Ok party peeps. Take a minute to check this one out to relax through this summer heat.

Happy listening…

:) Amanda


Book review: Eating on the Wild Side

By , July 9, 2013

Eating on the Wild Side: the Missing Link to Optimum Health
by Jo Robinson

No, this book does not explain how to forage for and prepare wild edibles such as dandelion greens (although dandelion greens contain more vitamins than the super popular fresh leaf spinach.)   Eating on the Wild Side will save you money by teaching you how to select the freshest and most nutritious produce when shopping at the farmer’s market or grocery store, how to properly store them, and the best ways to cook for optimum nutrient content.  I used to consider myself somewhat knowledgeable about fruits and veggies, but I quickly discovered while reading Jo Robinson’s book I have a lot to learn! Perhaps you do too…  Consider the following true or false statements:

Thick asparagus spears are older and tougher than slimmer spears.

Cauliflower isn’t nutritious, because it lacks color.

Dried berries are even better for you than fresh or frozen berries.

False, false, and false!  This is just the tip of the iceberg (lettuce, Ha!) of excellent information Robinson shares.  If you’re like me and have trouble reading detailed nonfiction, not to worry – each chapter includes easy-to- interpret charts, plus a points to remember section. If you’re a gardener, Robinson recommends the most nutritious varieties to grow yourself.  I’m now inspired to grow loganberries in my backyard garden.  And I definitely plan to eat more artichokes!

Read this book, and you too will definitely appreciate, respect, and understand better the fruits and vegetables that give us our nourishment.




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