Book review: Bury Him Darkly

By , May 29, 2015

Bury Him DarklyBury Him Darkly

by John Blackburn

What is it about ancient vaults moldering in the bowels of abandoned, crumbling estates that compel folks to want to open ‘em? Every dang time.

In John Blackburn’s Bury Him Darkly, the folks in question include a wealthy industrialist, an obsessive biographer, an elderly German scientist, a respected scholar and a local journalist. Each has their own reason for wanting the Church – responsible for protecting the security of Martin Railstone’s tomb, according to his final and specific instructions – to finally allow the opening of the crypt before the valley is flooded as part of a civil engineering project. Most of these reasons revolve around the possibility that Railstone was a genius and was buried with important works of art and science. On the opposing team is the Dean of Lanchester, convinced that the deceased individual was likely insane and definitely evil.

Part of the appeal of this author’s storytelling, as pointed out in Greg Gbur’s introduction, is the unpredictable nature of the narrative. The premise above is straightforward enough, but likely not to develop into quite what you expect. Blackburn penned novels from the late 50’s all the way up through the mid-80’s, and his specialty was the efficient and entertaining thriller, often a mixed genre bag of mystery, SF, horror, and espionage. This tale, from 1969, falls into three of those four categories, and is the only work by this author that the library currently owns, sadly. You can always change that!

But if you’re not really that into the take-charge, hands-on approach to collection development, at least give this slim novel a try and enjoy some vintage thrills.

- Ben

Movie review: British Prison Movies

By , May 28, 2015



Based on a true story, this oddly exhilarating film features an almost unrecognizable Tom Hardy as Britain’s most violent prisoner.  Its arresting visuals and operatic, strangely humorous tone would appeal to fans of A Clockwork Orange.  Instantly available on hoopla.




StarreStarred Upd Up

“Starred up” is British slang for the early transfer of a juvenile offender to an adult prison—in this case, to one in which his father is also imprisoned.  Completely different from Bronson, this is a grittier portrayal of prison life with great sympathy for its characters.




Popmatic Podcast for May 27, 2015: Vroom, Vroom

By , May 27, 2015

SennaAre you still buzzing from the Indy 500? Maybe just depressed that Dave Letterman is off the air? None of the Popmatic crew like racing as much as Letterman does but they all love Talladega Nights. And some serious stuff too.


Senna DVD | Hoopla

Fast Track series by Erin McCarthy

Richard “Dick” Trickle

The Last American Hero

The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby by Tom Wolfe featuring the essay “The Last American Hero”

Death Race 2000

Ackermanthology: 65 Astonishing, Rediscovered Sci-Fi Shorts featuring “The Racer” by Ib Melchior

Legends of Film interview with Tina Hirsch

Legends of Film interview with Lewis Teague

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby


Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer

Norm Macdonald’s last appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman

The Dali Museum

Pitch Perfect 2

Pitch Perfect 2 soundtrack CD | Hoopla

Eat the Document by Dana Spiotta


Transcripts of the show are available upon request.

Movie review: The Expendables

By , May 26, 2015

The Expendables (1, 2 & 3)

I can’t believe I watched these movies! Even more, I can’t believe how much I liked them!!

I’m trying to think of one movie I’ve ever sat and watched the whole way through that featured any one of these men. I’ve only seen parts of a few Rockys and about half the first Transporter. Oh wait, I did go to the dollar theater and see Parker, which stars Jason Statham. I would probably say he’s my favorite anyway (Terry Crews, you’re a close second).

But I’ve just heard a lot of good things about these movies so I thought I’d give them a try. And I wasn’t disappointed.

So the basic premise for all our under-the-rock dwellers is that Sly and pals are old dudes who like to save the world. They get their orders from a guy named Church (aka Bruce Willis) and then they’re off on their mission. In the first movie, The Expendables must deal with Dolph Lundgren a crazy good guy gone bad, along with a crazy South American dictator. The second movie sees us in Russia (who didn’t see that coming) and then for 3 we head to the magical world of Armenistan (I think) to track down Mel Gibson’s supposed-to-be-dead former Expendables character Stonebanks. No, Stallone doesn’t get to ask “How many times to I have to kill you?” and I think the movie is poorer for it.

My favorite scenes include Chuck Norris’s surprise cameo in #2 (oh wait, spoiler alert) and Bruce Willis’ taunt of Ah-nold – “Don’t worry. He just wants to be president.”

These movies are pretty gory, but I must admit there are some cool guns. I also liked how irreverent they are about the storied past of each actor. Famous lines are bandied about willy nilly. I am most disappointed that Harrison Ford, as he was flying in the evac copter, did not say, “Don’t get cocky” after saving the day. Sigh. Maybe in the next movie. There is a listing for The Expendables 4 on, but there’s not much info available. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t.

Only time will tell.

Until then, enjoy the shoot’em-up-bang-bang fun of the three they’ve given us so far.

Happy watching…

:) Amanda

p.s. If these guys think we haven’t noticed that they’ve had some “work done” then they are on crack. You’d think, as tough guys, they’d be above this, but I guess Carly Simon was right. They are so vain…and I’m looking at you Stallone and Norris. Walker Texas Ranger had plastic surgery? Wrap your head around that!

#T-b-t-ing with lithography!

By , May 25, 2015
One of the lithographs created at #TBT with the Wilson Collection

One of the lithographs created at #TBT with the Wilson Collection

For the last Throwback Thursday with the Wilson Collection (in the Teen Area), we did a craft that was more personal to the Wilson Collection. As I’ve discussed before, the Wilson Collection is a unique collection not only because of the variety of books included, but also because of the type of illustrations created for the books. Each book was specially designed and created, this includes the method of printing that was used for the illustrations.

To name a few of the various methods of illustration, the Collection includes water color, wood cuts, line drawings, and photogravures. But the type I chose to highlight was lithography, because it is a popular method of printing within the Wilson Collection and simply because it looks cool.

Lithography = the process of printing from a plane surface (as a smooth stone or metal plate) on which the image to be printed is ink-receptive and the blank area ink-repellent.

This sounds complicated but it is really not, and it can be done on different surfaces as mentioned – either stone or metal plate. Or in this case for the Throwback Thursday craft, cheaper materials can be used such as paper plates or Styrofoam. It is also a printing practice that has been around for centuries and is still used today to produce artwork, newspapers, posters, books, maps – you name it!

Here’s how you can create your very own lithograph:

Step 1: Collect your materials -

  • Styrofoam plates
  • Scissors
  • Chop sticks or mechanical pencils (we used mechanical pencils and they worked great)
  • Paint (washable is best because a mess will ensue)
  • Foam brushes
  • Paper

Step 2: We cut the lid from the plate to provide a flatter surface to work with. The photo to the right demonstrates this.

Step 3: Choose what picture you would like to draw; some people drew freehand while others used stencils. Begin drawing your picture as deeply as you can into the plate without poking holes. Again, mechanical pencils without the lead is great, as well as chopsticks. Chopsticks actually provide a wider cut and defines the picture better.

Step 4: Now you can paint! We coated our pictures with at least 2-3 layers of paint to be sure every part was covered.

Step 5: Flip your plate over and place it onto a clean piece of paper. Press down for a few seconds to let the paint sink in.

Step 6: Lift your plate and you are left with a pretty awesome lithograph! And it’ll look like Monet or Picasso did it!


And now, check out a few of the books from the Wilson Collection that have pretty awesome lithographs:

The Tale of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves
Limited Edition Collection: 1949
Illustrator/Artist: Edward Ardizzone
Type of Art: Colored Lithographs


Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves    Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves    Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves


Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontё
Limited Edition Collection: 1993
Illustrator/Artists: Balthus
Types of Art: Lithographs










Wuthering Heights    Wuthering Heights


Porgy & Bess by DuBose Heyward and Ira Gershwin 
Arion Press: 2013
Illustrator/Artist: Kara Walker
Types of Art: 16 B&W lithographs

Porgy & Bess    Porgy & Bess    Porgy & Bess

For more detailed information about this unique book from Arion, or to see more pictures, click the following link to go to the catalog page for Porgy & Bess on the Arion Press website.


Biotherm by Frank O’Hara
Arion Press: 1990
Illustrator/Artist: Jim Dine
Types of Art: 42 lithographic prints

Biotherm    Biotherm    Biotherm

For more detailed information about this unique book from Arion, or to see more pictures, click the following link to go to the catalog page for Biotherm on the Arion Press website.

The Throwback Thursday with the Wilson Collection program ended for the school year in May. It will begin again in September, recurring every second Thursday in the Teen area. #Tbt with the Wilson Collection is a program for Teens, but viewing the books is not. The Wilson Collection in the East Reading Room is open to anyone to check out during regular Library hours. It is located on the 3rd floor of the Main Downtown Library (next to the Fine Arts area).

If you are interested in viewing these books or any others individually, you can make an appointment by calling either (615) 880-2356 or (615) 880-2363, or simply respond to this blog post.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for an even more special Off-the-Shelf post next month!

Superheroes of the Civil Rights Movement

By , May 22, 2015

March book coverWho do you think of when you hear the word “superhero?” Spider Man? Wonder Woman? The Hulk? How about someone like John Lewis?

Leaders of the Civil Rights Movement are superheroes, too. They may not have Spidey senses or a magic lasso, but their fight for justice and equality in the 1950s and 60s is no less powerful.

As a leader of the Nashville lunch counter sit-ins Mr. Lewis showed courage and strength and has continued to advocate for justice throughout his career, including in his current role as Congressman for Georgia’s Fifth District. Details about his experiences and inspiration can be found in his memoirs, March – a trilogy of graphic novels that tell his story.

When asked why he chose the medium of graphic novels he responded,

“I wanted to make it plain, clear, and simple for another generation to understand not just my story, but the story of a long and ongoing struggle to bring about justice in America. To make America better for young children, but also for teachers and another generation to feel what happened and how it happened in the long struggle to redeem the soul of America.”

March: Book One and March: Book Two are available for checkout from the library. Read them with your child for Summer Challenge and take a field trip to The Civil Rights Room.

Want to extend the discussion at home? Here are some suggestions:

Book Discussion
Pick out a teaching moment and have an in-depth discussion. For example, pages 50-52 of Book One explain how hard John Lewis fought for his education.

Read the pages together and discuss the importance and privileges of education while negotiating parameters around your child’s own values. Ask:

  • Why is school so important to Mr. Lewis? Is school important to you? Why or why not?
  • What do you think about Mr. Lewis disobeying his parents?
  • What kind of things are important to you and why?

Activity: What Would You Do?
Encourage your child to be their own superhero. Print out this activity sheet and ask them to draw what they would do in the situation. Discuss the image and reinforce the nonviolent approach taken by Martin Luther King, Jr. and all of the Civil Rights leaders. When they’ve finished their comic, ask them to tell their story and follow-up with a couple questions:

  • Have you ever been in a situation like this? What role were you in? How did it make you feel or how do you think it would make you feel?
  • Is it sometimes hard to stand up for yourself and/or others? Why?
  • What should you remember in situations like this one?

Finally, reiterate John Lewis’ message of the importance of speaking up for what you believe is right.

John Lewis Quote 1

Popmatic Podcast for May 20, 2015: WAR

By , May 20, 2015

Monuments Men DVDIn honor of Memorial Day, we pick our favorite war books and movies. And our favorite war… music? Maybe. Plus what is tickling our fancy this week.



The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert Edsel

The Monuments Men film

The Bridge On the River Kwai

Fury: My War Gone By by Garth Ennis & Goran Parlov

Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman by John Krakauer


Honest Trailers YouTube channel

Postmodern Jukebox at Cannery Ballroom

Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock and Roll part of Light + Sound Machine

“Cement Slippers” by Dengue Fever from the album Cannibal Courtship

Dengue Fever Presents Electric Cambodia

Tearing Down the Wall of Sound: The Rise and Fall of Phil Spector by Mick Brown; read by Ray Porter

The Wrecking Crew: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll’s Best-kept Secret by Kent Hartman

The Devil Is Here In These Hills: West Virginia Coal Miners and Their Battle for Freedom by James R. Green

Harlan County U.S.A.


Transcripts of the show are available upon request.

YA Books You Won’t Be Assigned to Read This Summer

By , May 19, 2015


Famous Last Words
by Katie Alender

Willa has moved to Hollywood and is underwhelmed. There is an interesting serial killer on the loose, setting his murder scenes to mimic famous movies. And then Willa starts seeing creepy, inexplicable things, like scribbling on walls that no one else sees. Is Willa’s crazy connected to the violence of the serial killer?




A Little Something Different 
by Sandy Hall

Lea and Gabe should be together. Everyone – from the Starbucks barista to the squirrel in the park – can see it. In this first book from Swoon Reads, a crowdsourced publishing imprint, the possible romance of Lea and Gabe is told from 14 different points of view.




Demon Derby
by Carrie Harris

Casey has survived cancer, and she’s determined to prove that she is no invalid. What better way to demonstrate that she is certifiably kick-butt than to join a roller derby team? And as if that wasn’t quite challenging enough, Casey manages to end up playing against some supernaturally powered opponents.




Reality Boy
by A. S. King

Five year-old Gerald appeared on the reality show, “Network Nanny,” becoming famous for his angry explosions…of poop. Now sixteen years-old, Gerald is still living in his severely dysfunctional family, and still chafing under the moniker, “Crapper.” Then he meets Hannah, whose family is nearly as twisted as his own.




Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story
by David Levithan

After playing a pivotal role in Will Grayson, Will Grayson,  Tiny Cooper has a book all of his own. In typical Tiny style,  he relates his story not just in words and paragraphs, but in “big, lively, belty” musical numbers.




by Doug TenNapel

Garth is accidentally transported into Ghostopolis, aka the afterlife, when an agent with the Supernatural Immigration Task Force meant only to send Garth’s skeletal horse. Danger and kindness abound in this graphic novel about finding one’s way home.




The Program
by Suzanne Young

In a world where there is an epidemic of teen suicide, lovers Sloane and James know to avoid any sign of emotion. Emotional displays are a signal that the teens are infected. As Sloane and James become inescapably pulled into the early stages of the suicidal illness, they face mandatory stays in The Program. After the treatment from The Program, teens come back free from depression, but their memories are wiped clean as well.



Paper Valentine
by Brenna Yovanoff


After the death of her best friend, Lillian, Hannah just wants life to return to normal . But with the ghost of Lillian hanging around, nagging at Hannah to solve a rash of murders, normal seems more impossible than ever.




Women of a certain age

By , May 15, 2015


Women of a certain age.

As baby-boomers redefine the cultural landscape, it is appropriate that we re-write the literature, cinema, and music of our time. That’s right, Stevie Nicks, it’s now the Edge of Seven-ty.

Women who came of age in the 60s and 70s are now entering their 60s and 70s, living life on their own terms and maintaining their lifelong independence. I hesitate to say “hard fought” independence as the argument can effectively be made that these paths were cleared by the previous generation of women.

Three titles exemplify the independent modern woman moving through later years: Lillian of Lillian on Life, Florence Gordon and of course, Olive Kitteridge. These women lead quietly intelligent lives. Each uniquely navigates love, family, work, lust, and a longing for aloneness.

The texts are sparse (each title is just at or under 300 pages) and reflect the direct, no non-sense women examined. Spend some time in the company of these women:

Lillian on life by Alison Jean Lester

Florence Gordon by Brian Morton

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Stroutwinner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.There is a HBO produced series based on this title, starring Frances McDormand and Richard Jenkins and Bill Murray.

It’s a Golden Girls meets Molly Dodd world out there. Tune in.


“I hate the idea that you shouldn’t wear something just because you’re a certain age.” Miuccia Prada

- laurie

Popmatic Podcast for May 13th, 2015: Down Under

By , May 13, 2015

The Bat by Jo NesboA new Mad Max movie is coming out. Wait what?! Yeah, seriously. So the Popmatic crew goes to Australia for this episode. Bryan was so proud—so proud—that this episode was dingo free, but alas, somebody had to say it. Plus what is tickling our fancy this month.


The Bat by Jo Nesbo

My Brilliant Career

Australian New Wave

Legends of Film interview with Ted Kotcheff

The Thorn Birds

The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough

The Arrival by Shaun Tan

The Bird King: An Artists Notebook by Shaun Tan

The Babadook



Hippie Radio 94.5

Spotify on PS4

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Into the Black: The Inside Story of Metallica, 1991-2014 by Paul Brannigan & Ian Winwood, read Ray Porter

Kraftwerk at the Ryman

Black Widow: Age of Me trailer


Transcripts of the show are available upon request.

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