Carl Hiaasen – Skink: No Surrender

By , November 29, 2014

Carl Hiaasen discusses his Young Adult book Skink: No Surrender. This author talk was recorded October 6, 2014. Hiaasen appeared as part of the continuing Salon@615 author series.

Subscribe to Salon@615 podcast (iTunes)

Download this episode (.mp3)

The Roosevelts Visit Nashville

By , November 28, 2014

The city of Nashville hosted each of the Roosevelts, receiving a visit from Theodore Roosevelt and multiple visits from both Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.

OTSTRNashvilleTennessean2Theodore Roosevelt came to Nashville on October 22, 1907 (while he was president) for a very brief visit.  The image at left is the front page of the Nashville Tennessean from October 23, 1907, the day following President Roosevelt’s visit.OTSGerstBeerTR


According to legend, on this visit, after tasting locally-owned Maxwell House coffee, Roosevelt coined the phrase, “good to the last drop,” which became the brand’s long-running slogan.  Other local businesses capitalized on the president’s visit as well.  See the ad at right from local brewing company, Gerst House, which ran in the Nashville Banner on October 22, 1907, the same day as Roosevelt’s visit.


President Franklin D. Roosevelt came to Nashville on multiple occasions.  In the photo at left, the president exits a train at Nashville’s Union Station on June 6th, 1936.  He is pictured with then-governor of Tennessee, Hill McAlister.

The occasion for Roosevelt’s visit was a somber one – he was in Nashville to attend the funeral of Speaker Joseph W. Byrns of the House of Representatives, Congressman from the Sixth District (Hermitage). See more photos of this event in Nashville Public Library’s digital collection.



Eleanor Roosevelt also made several visits to Nashville and the surrounding areas.  On October 4, 1938, Mrs. Roosevelt presented a lecture at the Ryman Auditorium to the Girl Scout Council of Nashville as the “Honorary President of the Girl Scouts.”  The topic of the lecture was “The Relationship of the Individual to the Community.”  The program  from this event is pictured at right.

In 1958, Eleanor Roosevelt visited the Highlander Folk School in Monteagle, Tennessee to speak at a workshop about civil disobedience in relation to the Civil Rights movement. She was 73 years old.  Prior to this trip, Mrs. Roosevelt had been warned by the FBI that they could not guarantee her safety during the visit and that the Ku Klux Klan had made threats against her. Mrs. Roosevelt went ahead with the visit, regardless of the threats to her personal safety.

OTSERHighlanderAccording to historians, Mrs. Roosevelt was picked up secretly at the Nashville airport by another elderly woman and driven, with a gun between them on the front seat, in the dark to the Highlander School.  Eleanor Roosevelt is pictured at left with the school’s founder, Myles Horton. Other civil rights leaders who attended workshops at the school to discuss methods of social change and non-violent protest included Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa L. Parks.

You can see more about the Roosevelts in displays located on the 2nd and 3rd floors of the Main library through the end of December.

To read more about your favorite Roosevelt, check out one of these recent titles from our collection:

The First Lady of Radio : Eleanor Roosevelt’s Historic Broadcasts

Heir to the Empire City : New York and the Making of Theodore Roosevelt

The Man He Became : How FDR Defied Polio to Win the Presidency

The Roosevelts: An Intimate History





Why I love Interlibrary Loan

By , November 27, 2014

interlibraryloanI love Interlibrary Loan because it gives me access to an amazing world of books beyond our library’s already superb collection!

My passion is for fashion, big beautiful fashion history books make me positively giddy. Using Interlibrary Loan has allowed me check out dozens and dozens of pricey, hard to find, fashion history books that I would have never had access to otherwise.

Interlibrary Loan is easy to use; simply click on the Interlibrary Loan link under the Services heading on the library’s website. First time users will be asked to fill out a short form about contact information. After that you simply log in using your library card and pin number. There is a limit of 5 requests per library card at any one time.

Books and articles not available in our collection may be borrowed through Interlibrary Loan.   E-Books, DVDs, music CDs and audiobooks are not currently available through Interlibrary Loan.

Once your request is submitted, it can take a couple weeks for your item to arrive. You will be notified when it is ready to be picked up. Interlibrary Loan materials can be returned at any of our library locations (just not in the book drops please).


Interlibrary Loan is easy to use, it puts amazing materials right in your hands and best of all it is free with your library card, now what can be better than that!








Book review: Biography Bonaza!

By , November 25, 2014

Why does it seem like biographies are always really popular this time of year? Is it because people get more reflective as fall fades into winter? Do falling leaves make people more contemplative of their own mortality? Wait – is this my own biography? No…I don’t think so. *shakes head* You can tell it’s not my biography because although there is a mention of Joss Whedon, there is not enough glitter. Ok. Whew. Dodged that bullet.

So I really don’t have any answers to the questions above, but I have noticed a significant increase in the number of biographies of people I think are cool. Let’s kick it off with the king, shall we?

Joss Whedon 
By Amy Pascale

No, not Elvis (EWW). This one. Joss Whedon. You know – the father of Buffy, Angel, Firefly, and savior of The Avengers.

Amy Pascale packs A TON of information in her recent release about Mr. Whedon. There were things in there that even I didn’t know, and I could run the category on Jeopardy if anyone ever wrote one about Joss. Pop quiz hotshot: did you know he wrote most of the dialogue in Speed? I didn’t, but it totally makes sense because it’s the best part of the movie. I did know he wrote comics, but I didn’t realize how many I hadn’t read. Looks like ILL will be busy in my future. This book also made me want to watch A Cabin in the Woods – and I HATE horror movies. But in typical Joss fashion, the description in the book made it sound like so much more than just a gorefest. (I still might need a buddy to watch though.)

This book is a little bit of commitment because it is dense and chock full of fun Joss tidbits. While it did take me a little time to make it through, I enjoyed every last minute of it and was sad to pass on the book to the next patron. I hope you, whoever you are, will enjoy it as much as I did.

I’m still looking for my “Joss is my King” t-shirt though – just if anyone needs any Christmas present ideas for me.

Yes Please
By Amy Poehler

Amy Poehler was on Saturday Night Live  back when I actually used to watch it. And while she was more Robin to my favorite Batman, Tina Fey, I did think some of Amy’s characters were funny. I’ll be honest – I picked up this book to learn more details why she and Will Arnett got divorced, but I – sigh – was totally denied. She mentions the divorce and how hard it was, but doesn’t give us any details. Sure, Amy, take the classy road the one time I want you to be your usually irreverent self. Curses *shakes fist*  foiled again.

While I completely don’t identify with Amy’s somewhat manic, drug-taking, up all night partying personality, I do respect her work ethic. Most of us just saw her once she was on Conan or SNL, but she had years at Second City and the Upright Citizen’s Brigade to hone her craft. They had to hussle it to make a name for themselves – which they did. It also sounds like her parents are a hoot and a half. Apparently the funny doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Didn’t love this one as much as Tina Fey’s, but it was a pretty good effort for Robin.

Choose Your Own Autobiography
By Neil Patrick Harris

To read what I thought about NPH’s tell-all (well tell-most) bio, skip the next sentence and continue here. To learn how to do a card trick – go to NPH’s fabulous new book.

I heart NPH almost as much as Joss Whedon. From Doogie to Rent to Dr. Horrible – what’s not to love? But I have to say initially I wasn’t in love with his Choose Your Own format. If anyone else would have tried it, I would have deemed it a cop out and mocked him to my friends (and/or blog readers). But for some reason, as you dig in, with NPH it just works. I haven’t actually skipped around in the book as offerred, choosing instead to read straight through like a regular book. But hey – he told me I could choose my own autobiography, and this is what I chose.

It’s funny. It’s snarky. It’s honest. And there is a disturbing amount of magic in it. (I dislike magic. Sorry, I just do.) But I wish I could have been in his head while he was writing because I’m sure it was a fun place to be. Still love NPH, in spite of all the magic weirdness.

So if your life has hit a rut and you want to see how some other really cool people live check these out. Maybe they will inspire you to dance and sing – maybe at the same time!

Happy reading…

:) Amanda

PS Even though it didn’t come out this year, I also just finished listening to Jane Lynch’s Happy Accidents on audio, read by the author herself. Also a great biography -maybe for a holiday road trip. The fourth quarter really is a BIOGRAPHY BONANZA!!!!

Limited Editions Collection – Behind the Books

By , November 24, 2014
The first book published by the LEC was in 1929 - The Travels of Lemuel Gulliver by Jonathan Swift.

The first book published by the LEC was in 1929 – The Travels of Lemuel Gulliver by Jonathan Swift.

“The Great Books are the means of understanding our society and ourselves. They contain the great ideas that dominate us without our knowing it. There is no comparable repository in our tradition…”

-Robert M. Hutchins


The Wilson Collection at the Downtown Public Library is a truly unique collection. Not just for the Nashville Public Library, but for public libraries around the world. The collection is comprised mostly of two fine press book publishers – Limited Editions Club (LEC) and Arion Press. Both publishers are currently still in business (though the LEC is not publishing at this time), and the library continues to receive newly-published books from the Arion Press.

The Limited Editions Collection is located in New York City. The Arion Press is located in San Francisco and will be discussed in next month’s post.

Want to hear another cool fact about the collection? The Nashville Public Library is the only public library in the world that has the complete collection of LEC books. Yes, the ONLY public library in the world. The only other complete collections exist in the Library of Congress and the Harry Ransom Research Center  at the University of Texas at Austin. To see the list of other libraries and museums that have partial collections of the LEC books, click here on the link to the LEC’s website.

The Limited Editions Collection and Arion Press books were donated to the Library in 2001 from local author and book collector, Dr. Sadye Tune Wilson. Dr. Wilson began collecting the books in the late 1970′s, while also working with a book dealer to purchase the earlier-published books. 800 plus books later (not including the Arion Press books), the Downtown Library now continues collecting and caring for Dr. Wilson’s books.

Now that you understand how the books came to the library, how about learning how the books were published in the first place…

A few of the seasonal greeting cards that the LEC sent out to its members.

A few of the seasonal greeting cards that the LEC sent out to its members.

Once upon a time (more specifically, 1929), there was a man named George Macy. Mr. Macy had a vision to create an awesome book club. Actually, to be exact, a fine-press book-of-the-month club. Having been an avid reader throughout his life, Macy came up with this idea when he was 29 and already had publishing experience. One story alleges that after Macy proposed his idea to create a monthly book club, it took Jack Straus (a stockbroker friend on Wall Street) only a few minutes to raise the $40,000 that Macy needed.

October 1929 was the official release date of Macy’s first books. I know what you’re thinking, perfect timing, right? The stock market crashed that same month and year. But it did not seem to faze Macy. He had set his limit of subscriptions to 1500, and by then, he had already secured more than half of that. By the end of 1930, he had sold out of subscriptions and already started a waiting list.

Starting at $10 a book (more than the standard trade edition at the time, but less than a private-press volume), Mr. Macy created a legendary book collection that brings some of the best literary classics and famous artists together in one setting. The first series of the LEC books include a variety of unique works such as:

  • The Travels of Lemuel Gulliver by Jonathan Swift

    The Travels of Lemuel Gulliver is the first book produced by the LEC. The art by Alexander King

    Alexander King illustrated the art for The Travels of Lemuel Gulliver; the first book published by the LEC.

  • Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
  • The Travels of Baron Munchausen by Rudolph Erich Raspe
  • Snow-Bound by John Greenleaf Whittier
    The 4th book published by the LEC was Snowbound by John Greenleaf Whittier, in 1930.

    The 4th book published by the LEC was Snowbound by John Greenleaf Whittier, in 1930.


  • The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym by Edgar Allan Poe
  • Two Mediaeval Tales by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio
  • Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving
  • Tartarin of Tarascon by Alphonse Daudet
  • Undine by F. de La Motte-Fouque
  • Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
  • The Fables of Jean de la Fontaine by Jean de la Fontaine

    The first series of books by the LEC, beginning in October 1929.

    The first series of books published by the LEC, beginning in October 1929.

Some of the most notable books produced by the LEC were done when Macy was still in his thirties. Does the name Picasso ring a bell? How about Matisse? Yep, in the LEC’s earliest days, Macy produced books that both of these artists created illustrations for -

  • Lysistrata by Aristophanes (Picasso)

    Lysistrata by Aristophanes was published by the LEC in 1934, illustrated by Pablo Picasso.

    Lysistrata by Aristophanes was published by the LEC in 1934, illustrated by Pablo Picasso.

  • Ulysses by James Joyce (Matisse)

    Ulysses by James Joyce was published by the LEC in 1935, illustrated by Henri Matisse.

    Ulysses by James Joyce was published by the LEC in 1935, illustrated by Henri Matisse.

The idea to ask both of these artists to create illustrations for him actually came from a suggestion by a stranger, according to Macy. At a high price, Picasso agreed to create drawings for Lysistrata. Though he was late in producing them (by about 6 months), the book remains to be one of the most unique and valuable parts of the collection.

Before she passed away, Alice Liddell Hargreaves signed many copies of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.

Before she passed away, Alice Liddell Hargreaves signed many copies of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.

Macy also coaxed Alice Liddell Hargreaves (the original Alice from Alice in Wonderland) into signing copies of the LEC’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. Alice had previously refused to inscribe anything written by Carroll. But having learned that she wished to sign copies of his books before she passed away, Macy wrote to her. Though she wasn’t able to sign every copy, the Library’s copies of both books are lucky ones.

I could continue going on about the LEC - about how the design of the books and subscription changed throughout the years as directors changed. And how there was a time (after Mr. Macy passed away) that the future of the club looked pretty bleak. But if I continued into that history, you’d still be reading for awhile, when I know you’re just here to look at the pictures – (just kidding). So I’ll summarize the rest.

What is important to know is that Sid Shiff took over the LEC in 1978, saving it from going under. He changed the strategy of the club in a variety of ways, raising the annual rate but also bringing in more renowned artists instead of good illustrators.

In 1983, the LEC began featuring great African-American authors including Maya Angelou, Derek Walcott, and Langston Hughes. Though the club does not produce books at this time due to Sid’s passing, operations continue thanks to his wife. When the day comes that the LEC produces books again, you can count on finding them at the Library.

Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll was also signed by Alice Liddell Hargreaves.

Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll was also signed by Alice Liddell Hargreaves.

If you’re interested in learning more about the history of the LEC, a lot of the information from this post and more can be found in 3 great articles written about the Club. They are available to read on the LEC’s website.

Come back next month to learn about the Arion Press!

Want to see these books, or would you like to view more works from the Wilson Collection? The Wilson Collection is housed on the 3rd floor of the Main Downtown Library, next to the Fine Arts section. It’s open to all Library visitors during regular Library hours. To make an appointment to view the books, you can call either (615) 880-2356 or (615) 880-2363


Kirsten Gillibrand – Off the Sidelines

By , November 22, 2014

Kirsten Gillibrand discusses her book Off the Sidelines with Connie Britton. This author talk was recorded September 20, 2014. Gillibrand appeared as part of the continuing Salon@615 author series.

Subscribe to Salon@615 podcast (iTunes)

Download this episode (.mp3)

Comics review: Pretty Deadly

By , November 20, 2014

Can the beautiful art of this psychedelic Western redeem its shaky story? Jeremy fights off the buzzards.

Pretty Deadly Volume One by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Emma Rios, and Jordie Bellaire

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

Saga Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples


music by Black Dice CD | Freegal | Hoopla

Popmatic Podcast November 19th, 2014: Give Thanks!

By , November 19, 2014

Help Thanks WowOn this episode, we take time to count our bibliographic blessings. Wonder Woman, Bronies, and the guys from the library mail room all make appearances. This ended up being a very personal, behind the scenes at the library kind of episode. It is dedicated to Nancy Sellars.


Special Collections

VuFind lets you browse new materials easily

the staff and patrons at Edmondson Pike branch

Surfin’ Bird” by The Trashmen

Interlibrary Loan

Help, Thanks, Wow by Anne Lamott

the library Mail Room staff


Doctor Who Season 8 starring Peter Capaldi

How soon is too soon for holiday decorations?

News Channel 5 holiday commercial

Dragon Age: Inquisition

Dragon Age: The Masked Empire by Patrick Weekes

Star Trek Voyager starring Kate Mulgrew

the “new 52″ Wonder Woman

Cliff Chiang’s Wonder Woman art

The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore

Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony


Transcripts of the show are available upon request.

Book List: Books for Middle Grades

By , November 18, 2014

The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier

The Night Gardener  
by Jonathan Auxier

Molly is a storyteller, but she’s never woven one as false as the story she tells her little brother, Kip. As they travel alone down a mysterious rural lane, Molly explains that they are only going there to work until their parents send for them in America. The gloomy truth is that their Irish parents are dead. Molly and Kip have no options other than this add for servants in a home that feels all wrong. A tree grows right into the house, seeming to dominate all that breathes. And then there are the footprints of the gardener who only works at night…. This one is for readers who love a good scare when tucked in safely at home.


El Deafo by CeCe Bell

El Deafo 
by Cece Bell

After a case of meningitis when she is four, Cece loses her hearing. Even when she gets hearing aids, everything sounds muffled. The graphic format allows readers to see what others say to Cece, as well as what she hears. Often, the two are painfully mismatched. It turns out that Cece also needs glasses. Once she sees properly, Cece feels like a superhero. Many young readers will be able to relate to Cece’s befuddlement, as she moves through childhood to the hyper-self-conscious years of early adolescence.


The Eighth Day by Dianne Salerni

The Eighth Day 
by Dianne Salerni

Thirteen year-old Jax is a Transitioner, one of the few people who experience an eighth day in the week (it’s between Wednesday and Thursday.) On these eighth day, the world is vacant except for other Transitioners. Readers who love connections with Arthurian legends will be delighted with this fast-action novel. Recommended for fans of the Percy Jackson series.



Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin

The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights  
by Steve Sheinkin

For readers that like good historical investigation, author Sheinkin provides a riveting look at a massive explosion that occurred in 1944, as sailors were loading bombs on a Navy ship. Three hundred men were killed. This dangerous job was assigned to black sailors, who received no training and were pressured to return to service immediately after the explosion. When 50 of the sailors resisted, they were charged with mutiny. Find out what happened in this never-before-told story of courageous men who stood up for the lives of many.


ReRevolution by Deborah Wilesvolution 
by Deborah Wiles

Sunny has lived in Greenwood, Mississippi for every one of her twelve years. One things she knows, white and black people each have their places. So maybe it was wrong for Sunny and her stepbrother to sneak into the pool at night, but it was so much worse for Raymond, the black kid who was in the pool that night. It’s 1964, and segregation in Mississippi was an ugly fact of life. Unknown to Sunny and Raymond, this summer will bring college students and other volunteers from all over the United States, intent on registering black citizens to vote. Wiles includes music and images of the time to create a powerful reading experience.

brown girl dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

brown girl dreaming  
by Jacqueline Woodson

In this National Book Award nominee, poet Woodson looks back lovingly at her childhood. Her viewpoint is unique, as she lived in both South Carolina and New York City, two very different environments for a young brown girl. This book, composed in free verse, speaks to girls of all places and races, with poignant recollections that are both specific and universal.





Cinderella Is Here!

By , November 17, 2014

It’s a magical time of year at the Main Library’s Children’s Department – Wishing Chair Productions has brought back Cinderella!

Of course, you’re familiar with the traditional story of Cinderella, but why stop there? There are plenty of ways to feed the Cinderella fever! Try these different takes on the classic tale:


Seriously, Cinderella is so annoying! : the story of Cinderella as told by the wicked stepmother

by Trisha Speed Shaskan

You know what they say – there are two sides to every story. Here’s the way the wicked stepmother sees it. Turns out, she may not be that bad after all.





Bigfoot Cinderrrrrella

by Tony Johnston

Picture this: the heartthrob prince is actually Sasquatch, and Cinderella’s dainty glass slipper is actually a giant, hairy footprint. Also, they both STINK. That’s the premise for this forest-bound twist.







by Mary Jane and Herm Auch

Drama in the barnyard! Chickerella is Cinderella – with feathers! The plethora of puns makes this a fun read for all. Stepsisters Ovumelda and Cholestera try to keep our hero down, but with a little help from the Fairy Goosemother, Chickerella tries her best to make it to the (wait for it…) FOWL BALL after all!





And that’s just a small taste of the Cinderella fractured fairy tales the library has to offer. Check out these and many more at your nearest branch, and head downtown for this family favorite marionette show soon! You can catch the show on Fridays and Saturdays through December 20, at 9:30, 10:30, and 11:30.


Off the Shelf is powered by WordPress. Panorama Theme by Themocracy