Book review: The River of No Return

By , September 26, 2013

The River of No Return

By Bee Ridgway


In 1810, Nicholas Falcott was about to die on the battlefield but instead of dying he jumped through time, traveling two centuries into the future. Upon waking, Nicholas found himself in the care of the Guild, a secret society of time travelers.

Told that he cannot return home, the Guild helps Nicholas start a new life, but help from the Guild came with a price.

Ten years pass, when Nicholas receives a summons from the Guild. They are asking him to do the impossible. To travel back to his own time and back to the family that thinks he is dead, to help the Guild fight their enemies and find the talisman that controls all their fates.


Readers of The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope and The Night Circus will enjoy Bee Ridgway’s quirky first novel The River of No Return.





Banned Books Week 2013

By , September 23, 2013

Banned Books Week is an annual event in which libraries, book sellers, and book nerds everywhere celebrate the freedom to read.  Banned Books Week events often feature displays and public readings of banned books, or books that were attempted to be banned. Yes, people still censor books. I thought I would feature five outstanding books that have been censored recently.


The Bluest Eye
by Toni Morrison
The politics of beauty are at the center of the Nobel Prize winning Morrison’s first novel. Eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove, an African-American girl, wishes her eyes were blue. Read about why it was banned here.

Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
by Sherman Alexie
This National Book Award winning teen novel concerns Arnold Spirit Jr.  overcoming the extremely difficult circumstances of his home life on the Spokane Indian Reservation while attending a mostly white high school in the next town over. I have read selections from True-Diary at NPL short story read outs. The author took part in a Salon@615 event last October, and our Book-Club-in-a-Bag kit for True Diary remains a hot item. Read more about why it got banned here.

Eleanor & Park
by Rainbow Rowell
Rowell’s teen novel Eleanor & Park received rave reviews in the New York Times from none other than John Green and NPR’s pop culture editor Linda Holmes. The title characters are star crossed lovers who know their intense romance cannot last. At the time of writing, all twelve of our copies are checked out with six holds on top of that. Read more about why it got banned here.

Invisible Man
by Ralph Ellison
Often considered one of the best novels of the twentieth century and a work of art capturing the essence of the twentieth century African American experience, Invisible Man follows one man’s journey from the South to Harlem.  Read about why it got banned here.

Captain Underpants
by Dave Pilkey
Seriously. This uber-popular kids series was the most frequently banned book of last year. You can read about it and the other most frequently banned books here.


Books Made into Movies – Fall 2013

By , September 19, 2013

This fall there will be a number of good books being made into movies…..



“In 1929, newlyweds George and Serena Pemberton travel from Boston to the North Carolina mountains where they plan to create a timber empire. Their intense, passionate marriage starts to unravel after Serena realizes that she cannot have children. Rash’s masterful balance of violence and beauty yields a riveting novel that, at its core, tells of love both honored and betrayed.”

Based on the book: Serena: A Novel by Ron Rash




“Paranoia is an electrifying roller-coaster ride of suspense that will hold the reader hostage until the final, astonishing twist.”


Based on the book: Paranoia by Joseph Finder


“Young Tom, the seventh son of a seventh son, starts work as an apprentice for the village spook, whose job is to protect ordinary folk from “ghouls, boggarts, and all manner of wicked beasties.”


Based on the children’s book: The Last Apprentice:Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney



“In fair Verona the families of Montague and Capulet are locked in a long-standing, bitter blood feud when young Romeo Montague slips into a masquerade party at the Capulet’s. During the dance he glimpses Juliet, the daughter of the house, and is struck by love at first sight.”

Based on the play: Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare



“Stephen King’s legendary debut novel about a teenage outcast and the revenge she enacts on her classmates.”



Based on the book: Carrie by Stephen King 


“A big-hearted story about friendship, family, and the relentless pursuit of love.”



Based on the book: Baggage Claim by David E. Talbert




“Andrew “Ender” Wiggin thinks he is playing computer simulated war games at the Battle School; he is, in fact, engaged in something far more desperate.”


Based on the book: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card


“By winning the annual Hunger Games, District 12 tributes Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark have secured a life of safety and plenty for themselves and their families, but because they won by defying the rules, they unwittingly become the faces of an impending rebellion.”
Based on the young adult book: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins




“The previously untold story of a little-known WWII Allied division whose mission was to track down European art and treasures that had been looted by the Nazis at Hitler’s command.”


Based on the book: The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert M. Edsel



“Part two of Lord of the Rings prequel trilogy. Bilbo Baggins, a respectable, well-to-do hobbit, lives comfortably in his hobbit-hole until the day the wandering wizard Gandalf chooses him to take part in an adventure from which he may never return.”

Based on the book: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien



“A government analyst discovers a terrorist plot.”

Based on the series: Jack Ryan by Tom Clancy 


“A daydreamer has a real life adventure.”
Based on the short story: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber





Popmatic Podcast September 2013: Fashionable Reading

By , September 9, 2013

We wanted to get Karen back on the show so we decided to talk about fashion, and though the tag line says “fashionable reading” it probably should say “fashionable watching” because we mostly talk about movies. Besides, it is “Mercedes-Benz” Fashion Week. We throw in some Banned Books Week and Tickle My Fancy.


Steampunk Fashion by Spurgeon Vaughn Ratcliffe

The Steampunk Bible by Jeff VanderMeer

Lady Vadore (female steampunk Darth Vader cosplay – that’s her pic up top)


Vivienne Westwood’s anti-Jubilee t-shirt

The Big Lebowski  DVD

The Big Lebowski by Joel & Ethen Cohen (screenplay)

The Big Lebowski: The Making of a Coen Brothers Film by William Robertson & Tricia Cooke

I’m a Lebowski, You’re a Lebowski: Life, The Big Lebowski, and What Have You by Bill Green




A Single Man

Doctor Zhivago (Keira Knightley version)


Librarian Wardrobe


Season 4 of Downton Abbey – catch up on the other seasons!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Ghostman by Roger Hobbs

Assimilate: A Critical History of Industrial Music by S. Alexander Reed

Hard Case Crime’s John Lang (aka Michael Crichton) reissues

Cutthroat Kitchen


Movie review: Bicycle Dreams

By , September 5, 2013


Bicycle Dreams  This is an emotionally absorbing and sometimes wrenching documentary film chronicling several “racers” and their support crews trying to finish the insanely difficult 3000 mile Race Across America (RAAM) in 2005.

That year they started in San Diego and attempted to reach Atlantic City, New Jersey in under 12 days.  Think about staying on a bike for upwards of 300 miles a day when sleep deprivation battles sheer willpower, and the ability to lose your ego and yourself in this monumentally challenging  ultra endurance event. Imagine riding up major mountain passes in Colorado, cycling through scorching flatlands and chilly nights to make set time checks or risk disqualification, while your body and mind are screaming “No more!”

You’ll pass through some amazing scenery but will mainly feel the ups and downs of the  personalities involved here.  Some want to quit but their support crew members convince them to pedal on. Others pay the ultimate sacrifice.  Great access to inside personnel and the riders’ motivations.  Winner of several film festivals, this is a very memorable and well shot film.

I dedicate this review to the memory of  Dr. Bob Breedlove.  “Another Day in paradise” was his mantra as he exhibited  true spirit and self effacing accomplishment while supporting and inspiring others along the way.

For more information on RAAM (including records, routes and sign ups) visit (By the way, the record for solo men was set this year – 2962 miles in 7 days, 22 hrs and 11 minutes!)


Legends of Film: Jack Shoulder

By , September 5, 2013

During this episode of Legends of Film we talk to Jack Sholder, director of such films as Alone in the Dark, The Hidden, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2, and 12:01. Mr. Sholder tells us what elements make a good movie trailer, how to turn a B movie into an A movie, and what he didn’t notice about A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 until after the movie’s release.

Book review: Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Highway

By , September 3, 2013

Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Highway
by Sara Gran

If you hire private eye Claire DeWitt, prepare  for a  detective with a lot of baggage (addiction issues, commitment issues, general grumpiness…)  But through her mystical, Nancy Drew-ish, uncanny skills of detection, DeWitt always manages to solve your case.

In this second installment in Gran’s series, Claire is back in her home base of San Franciso to investigate the murder of her musician ex-boyfriend Paul Casablancas.  We meet Claire’s smart and eager new assistant Claude.  We learn more about Claire’s tutelage with the ever sophisticated and well-respected detective Constance Darling.  We delve further into Claire’s teenage detection beginnings with her (now vanished) friend Tracy.  And of course we gain more detecting nuggets of wisdom from Jacques Silette’s  book Détection, the ultimate guide to investigation.  By the end, Claire has found Paul’s murderer, and just about killed herself in the process.  Yet the mystery surrounding Tracy’s disappearance is still unsolved.  Will that be Claire’s next case?

I have listened to both of Gran’s Claire DeWitt novels, and narrator Carol Monda really brings Claire to life.

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