Legends of Film: Jerry Schatzberg

By , March 31, 2014

During this episode of Legends of Film we talk to Jerry Schatzberg, director of Scarecrow, The Panic in Needle Park, and Movie’s @ Main’s upcoming feature, Sweet Revenge. Mr. Schatzberg discusses casting Morgan Freeman in his breakthrough role, the importance of improvisation, and problems that occur when your lead actor is also your screenwriter.

Book review: Imagined Lives: Portraits of Unknown People

By , March 27, 2014

Imagined Lives: Portraits of Unknown People

By the National Portrait Gallery


You know that excited feeling you get when you unexpectedly come across a really cool book? That is exactly how I felt when I discovered Imagined Lives: Portraits of Unknown People a tiny book filled with amazing portraits and short stories.

The National Portrait Gallery in London recently had an exhibit called Imagined Lives: Portraits of Unknown People. Once part of the museum’s main collection, these 16th century paintings were thought to be portraits of royalty and nobility but were later disproved. The true identity of the people in the portraits remains a mystery.

This book was created in conjunction with the exhibit. Eight well known authors: John Banville, Tracy Chevalier, Julian Fellowes, Alexander McCall Smith, Terry Pratchett, Sarah Singleton, Joanna Trollope and Minette Walters were each assigned an “unknown portrait” and asked to write a story inspired by it.

My favorite story, False Mary by Alexander McCall Smith was inspired by a portrait of a young woman who looked like Queen Mary, Queen of Scots. Tracy Chevalier’s portrait of a flushed cheek young man inspired her to write Rosy, the story of a young man who mourns the loss of his lover as he is forced to marry another. While Sarah Singleton’s painting of a studious looking gentleman inspired her story of unrequited love The Life of Edmund Audley.

On the National Portrait Gallery’s website you can even listen to highlights from the book being read on the Imagined Lives Podcast.


Beautiful paintings and talented writers, an unbeatable combination.








Book review: Five Flavors of Dumb

By , March 25, 2014

Five Flavors of Dumb
By Antony John

I used to work in the music industry. It’s a pretty tough business, and I must admit that I was not enough of a balla or shot calla to really hustle up fame and fortune. Silly me – I thought it was all about great music (feel free to insert appropriate scoffing in the comments).

But that was what I liked most about this book. Our main gal Piper, band manager extraordinaire, was able to push her band, Dumb, through the glass ceiling of dreaming about music to actually having a shot at something beyond bar gigs and college tours. This feat was even more impressive because Piper is moderately to severely deaf. She simply had the gift to seek out opportunities and then make them  happen. Sometimes with disastrous results, yes – but hey, in the music business no press is bad press, right? (example: Miley Cyrus).

I also think the author did a great job of building authentic and relatable characters. I wanted to be friends with the members of Dumb. Except maybe Josh, but every band needs some kind of ego maniac at some point in their careers. In addition, I must mention that it was fun to read a book written by someone in ma-ma-ma-my generation for the next generation (this is a young adult book after all). Oasis who? Nirvana what?

My delusions aside, the music industry is at its best when great music coincides with a strong vehicle for promotion – think Hendrix or Clapton. And it’s up to the pink-haired Pipers of the world to make sure this great music gets heard.

Happy reading…or listening to Wonderwall…or whatever…

:) Amanda

Book review: Wild tales : a rock & roll life by Graham Nash

By , March 20, 2014

Wild Tales: a rock & roll life
by Graham Nash
Those of you who came of age in the sixties and seventies will want to rearrange your calendars Friday to make sure you don’t miss the Nashville Public Library appearance of Graham Nash. The book signing is Friday, March 21st at noon.

Few individuals have had such an influence on the musical direction of a generation as Mr. Nash. Graham Nash has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame not once, but twice, first in 1997 with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and again in 2010 with the Hollies.

He is currently touring to share tales from his memoir, Wild tales : a rock & roll life. The Nashville Public Library collection is rich in materials penned and created by Graham Nash; music spanning five decades, a photography collection, concert performances, politics, work with Musicians United for Safe Energy, celebrating songwriters.  The list goes on and on and wonderfully on.

Graham Nash at the Nashville Public Library event details.

“You know, every year has been fantastic for me, I’m still here, I’m still alive and it’s been fantastic” Graham Nash


Book Review: Half Brother

By , March 19, 2014

If you know a teen or young adult reader who might feel left out of the literary side of the Nashville READS, I suggest a book called Half Brother by Kenneth Oppel.  Not only is this an excellent and heartfelt work of young adult fiction, but it involves a family that is, shall we say, VERY SIMILAR to the one found in Beside Ourselves.  While the READS book begins in the middle (as the author herself puts it), Half Brother sheds further light on the beginning of this rare, non-traditional family structure from the child’s point of view.

We all know how hard it can be for an only child to accept new changes—be it a new school, a new house, a new language, or a new sibling—and this book covers all of that, plus more!  But what if that new sibling were a….Oh, just read the book and find out already, both the Nashville READS book and my pick, Half Brother!

The idea of Nashville READS is to get all of Nashville on the same page by reading the same book, and talking about the same characters, issues, and themes. While we acknowledge that this year’s book (We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler) was written with adults in mind, that is no reason to leave the young set out of the conversation. Check out the events, many of which are great for kids of all ages.

Book review: Something Real

By , March 18, 2014

Something Real by Heather Demetrios

Something Real 
by Heather Demetrios

Baker’s Dozen is a reality show featuring a married couple and their their thirteen children. Only the oldest child, Bonnie Baker, is their biological child; her birth was seen by millions of television watchers. Bonnie has two siblings, born of surrogate mothers, Benton and Lexie, who are also seventeen. The rest of the kids were adopted from different parts of the world or through foster care. The show flourished for thirteen seasons. But when Dad Baker is caught with another woman, and thirteen year-old Bonny attempts suicide, it seems the drama is too real even for reality TV.

Four years have passed, and seventeen year-old Bonny Baker now calls herself Chloe. None of her friends know that she is Bonny of Baker’s Dozen fame. Chloe and her brother Bennie are ready to finish high school and begin lives that have no connection to their reality show past. But Mom Baker has a different idea: Baker’s Dozen: Fresh Batch.  A new stepfather replaces the cheating Dad, and Chloe will be forced to reveal her identity as the suicidal Bonny.

This is fiction. And for the most part, television viewers understand that so-called reality shows are staged or semi-scripted to incite drama. “Drama” translates into moments of conflict or humiliation for the show’s subjects. This is one thing for adults who have signed up for reality show fame or infamy, but what about for their children?

In 2011, Russell Armstrong, married to Taylor of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, committed suicide. Their daughter Kennedy was five. According to her mother, Kennedy was told that her father got sick and died. Subsequently, Taylor reveals that Russell was abusive. The later episodes of the show depict Taylor with a serious drinking problem.

After reading Something Real, one can only imagine how a seventeen year-old Kennedy will feel about the albatross of RHBHs. 

In the book, Chloe/Bonny’s mother is “forced” by the show’s producer to push her daughter to blow up on camera. Eventually, Chloe realizes that demonstrations of her angry behavior, paired with her earlier suicide attempt, are deliberately part of the producer’s strategy to portray a crazy Bonny. How Chloe and her brother Benny, who is gay, confound the producer’s manipulations comprise the book’s finale. If it seems too pat, consider the hope it offers to any teen with a legacy of reality show deception.

Related Reading

Reality Boy by A. S. King

Reality Boy 
by A. S. King

An emotionally damaged seventeen-year-old boy in Pennsylvania, who was once an infamous reality television show star, meets a girl from another dysfunctional family, and she helps him out of his angry shell. (from publisher)


The Fame Game by Lauren Conrad

The Fame Game series
by Lauren Conrad

Reality star Madison Parker, determined to take her career to the next level, signs on for a new TV show called THE FAME GAME. But more drama happens behind the scenes than onscreen. (from publisher)



Exclusively Chloe by J. A. Lang

Exclusively Chloe 
by J. A. Yang

In the public eye since she was adopted as a baby from China by her Hollywood celebrity parents, sixteen-year-old Chloe-Grace, longing for a “normal” life,” undergoes a transformation with the help of her mother’s stylist and finds not only the life she wanted but an important key to her past. (from publisher)


If the Witness Lied by Caroline Cooney If the Witness Lied 
by Caroline B. Cooney

Torn apart by tragedies and the publicity they brought, siblings Smithy, Jack, and Madison, aged fourteen to sixteen, tap into their parent’s courage to pull together and protect their brother Tris, nearly three, from further media exploitation and a much more sinister threat. (from publisher)


– Diane


Book review: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

By , March 16, 2014

I only make one mistake where I mix up names. Can you find it? And actually I don’t know if Koko the gorilla will write you back. I guess I was inspired and thought it would be cool if she did.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

Nashville READS events

Walden Two by B.F. Skinner

Ishmael by Daniel Quinn

Grizzly Man

Animal Minds by Donald Griffin

Death at SeaWorld: Shamu and the Dark Side of Killer Whales in Captivity by David Kirby

When the Killing’s Done by T.C. Boyle

If a Tree Falls

The Complete Stories by Franz Kafka

Koko: A Talking Gorilla

Nebula Awards

James Tiptree Jr. Award

James Tiptree Jr.

2nd Wednesday Book Club

music by Black Dice CD | Freegal | Hoopla | Free Music Archive


Movie review: The Decoy Bride

By , March 14, 2014

The Decoy Bride

A refreshing rom-com starring the tenth doctor!

Hollywood starlet Lara Tyler (Alice Eve) is desperate to marry her fiance, the bestselling author James Arber (David Tennant) in a perfectly romantic ceremony, if only she could shake the dreaded paparrazi!  After a particularly ugly foiled wedding attempt which landed some unflattering photos of Lara in the papers, she decides to surprise her beloved James by pulling off an intimate ceremony on the Scottish island of Hegg (don’t call your travel agent yet, this is a fictional island) – the setting for James’ famous novel The Ornithologist’s Wife.  Guess what?  The paparazzi have made their way to the island too…

Lara’s team hires the island’s only “single lady” Katie (Kelly MacDonald), to be the decoy.  Katie has been rather unlucky in love, declaring herself a “man-vegan.”  When Katie steps in as Lara’s decoy, she quickly discovers James is a hack!  He knows absolutely nothing about Hegg!  In a totally expected, hilarious turn of events, Katie and James wind up married to one another.  How do they get un-married?  That my friends, is why you much watch this movie.  With a talented supporting cast, not to mention the beautiful Scottish landscapes, The Decoy Bride owes much to the classic Scottish film Local Hero.  See both movies for free, courtesy of your favorite library!

Book review: Style Me Pretty Weddings: Inspiration and Ideas for an Unforgettable Celebration

By , March 13, 2014

Style Me Pretty Weddings: Inspiration and Ideas for an Unforgettable Celebration

By Abby Larson


Some words that come to mind when describing Abby Larson’s new wedding planning book would be marvelous, modern and oh so pretty.

Style Me Pretty Weddings will help you determine your “wedding style,” nail down a venue and select your color palette. This book is overflowing with hundreds of beautiful photographs of cakes, flowers, invitations and table designs.

Abby Larson wrote her book because she wanted to “help brides design weddings that are stunning, meaningful, filled with love and a reflection of the couple.” She more than succeeded.


Style Me Pretty Weddings: Inspiration and Ideas for an Unforgettable Celebration is simply lovely.



- Karen




Music review: GIRL

By , March 11, 2014

By Pharrell Williams

Ok. It’s been out for a week. How many times have you listened to this album? Wait…what!?! You haven’t downloaded it from freegal yet? And you don’t even know if you want to? (I’m shaking my head in shock and amazement.)

Well, just in case there’s any doubt, let me present the five best reasons you need to download this album ASAP:

5) Your friends, neighbors, children, children’s friends, & random strangers off the street will think you are almost as cool as Pharrell if you have your car windows down (once the weather finally gets warm) and his tunes cranked up.

4) You can stream the whole album right now, just by logging into freegal. Plus it’s only 10 tracks long, so it will only take you two weeks to get the whole thing once you realize how much you have to have it.

3) Cameos by Justin Timberlake, Alicia Keys, Miley, and Daft Punk.

2) Pharrell always brings the best grooves for practicing those embarrassing schnazy dance moves. Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth…

And the number one reason for downloading what could potentially be the best album of the year:

1) It’s free. Hello? What are you waiting for?

If I haven’t sold you on the genius that is Pharrell, I’m sure we can find some Barry Manilow to download instead. *shrug*

Happy listening…

:) Amanda


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