Category: Nonfiction

Banned Classics from the Wilson Collection

By , September 29, 2014
One of 3 pull-out triptych paintings by illustrator, Joe Mugnaini. Bradbury wrote a new foreword for this copy of Fahrenheit 451. The book was signed by both author and illustrator.

One of 3 pull-out triptych paintings by illustrator, Joe Mugnaini. Bradbury wrote a new foreword for this copy of Fahrenheit 451. The book was signed by both author and illustrator.

“Banning books gives us silence when we need speech. It closes our ears when we need to listen. It makes us blind when we need sight.”

- Stephen Chbosky, author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower

  Banned Books Week, September 21-27, is an important week to celebrate the freedom to read ALL books, not just the controversial ones. Though the censorship of books has been going as long as literature has been published, Banned Books week has taken place only for the past 30 years. For one week each year, we highlight books that have been banned, challenged, or suspended in different cities around the world for various reasons. By displaying the books, talking about them, and spreading the word that these books have been challenged or banned, we play an important role in promoting the freedom to read.     In honor of Banned Books Week, we’re displaying 17 books from the Wilson Collection:

  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

    Published by the Limited Editions Collection in 1982, famed caricaturist Al Hirschfeld illustrated line drawings (such as this one) and four-color lithographs for the book. Hirschfeld is best known for his drawings that enlivened the drama pages of "The New York Times" for 60  years. This copy of the book is signed by Hirschfeld.

    Published by the Limited Editions Collection in 1982, famed caricaturist from The New York Times, Al Hirschfeld illustrated line drawings (such as this one) and four-color lithographs for the book.

  • All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

    One of 14 Jazz Age illustrations by Fred Meyer. The photos were executed in gouache; a water-based paint that is modified to make it opaque.

    One of 14 Jazz Age illustrations by Fred Meyer. The photos were executed in gouache; a water-based paint that is modified to make it opaque.

  • The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

    Illustrated and signed by artist, Martin Fletcher, this is one of the full-color wash-and-ink drawings created for the book. The book was also signed by the author, Upton Sinclair.

    Illustrated and signed by artist, Martin Fletcher, this is one of the full color wash-and-ink drawings created for the book. The book was also signed by the author when it was published by the Limited Editions Collection in 1965.

  • Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
  • The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Ulysses by James Joyce
  • The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

    Published by the Limited Editions Collection in 1944, the photos shown are just a few of the drawings illustrated by artist, John Steuart Curry. The book is also signed by the artist.

    Published by the Limited Editions Collection in 1944, the photos shown are just a few of the drawings illustrated by artist, John Steuart Curry. The book is also signed by the artist.

  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
  • The Call of the Wild by Jack London
  • Moby Dick, or the Whale by Melville Herman
  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  • Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

    Book 2 of "Gone with the Wind"

    Volume 2 of 2 – Gone with the Wind was published in two volumes, in 1968 by the Limited Editions Club. This is 1 of 11 double-page plates, illustrated by John Groth. The art created for the book was done in line drawings and water colors.

  • Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

    Published in 1938 by the Limited Editions Club,

    Published in 1938 by the Limited Editions Collection, Miguel Covarrubias illustrated 16 powerful lithographs for the novel. The book was also signed by the artist.

  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

    One of two copies the Limited Editions Collection published, the 1942 version was illustrated and signed by famous painter and muralist, Thomas Hart Benton.

    One of 2 copies the Limited Editions Collection published, the 1942 version was illustrated and signed by famous painter and muralist, Thomas Hart Benton.

These books provide important, real-life lessons and unprecedented stories that stick with you. These classics may address difficult, sensitive, and sometimes controversial topics, but the material is no more dangerous to read than the real-life events that inspire the writers. Want to see this display 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 book section. The display will be up for two more weeks. To make an appointment to view the collection, please call (615) 862-5804 ext. 6092.

Cheryl Strayed – Wild

By , September 27, 2014

Cheryl Strayed discusses her book, Wild :  from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail.  This author talk was recorded April 18, 2013. Cheryl Strayed appeared as part of the continuing Salon@615 author series.

Various staff members have written about Strayed in the past. Check out our reviews of Wild via the Popmatic Podcast, Wild via Off the Shelf, as well as Strayed’s advice book, Tiny Beautiful Things

See upcoming author visits, including Kristen Gillibrand and Carl Hiaasen, and learn more at salonat615.org.

Listen to the Archived Recording

Download MP3 audio

Subscribe to Salon@615 podcast (iTunes)

Book review: The Printed Square: Vintage Handkerchief Patterns for Fashion and Design

By , September 11, 2014

The Printed Square: Vintage Handkerchief Patterns for Fashion and Design

By Nicky Albrechtsen

If you love vintage clothing, then you won’t want to miss Nicky Albrechtsen’s new book The Printed Square: Vintage Handkerchief Patterns for Fashion and Design.

The Printed Square takes you on a fun romp through the history of the handkerchief focusing on the thirty year period from 1920 to 1950. You’ll learn about what colors, motifs and cultural events influenced handkerchief design. The book features over 200 full page color photos, allowing you to easily see the handkerchief itself, how its edges were finished and the texture of the fabric.  The handkerchiefs are grouped by color for easy browsing. Clever quotes by artists and designers introduce each new chapter. The Printed Square also features tips on where to find vintage handkerchiefs, handkerchief conservation and storage ideas.

 

Handkerchiefs ……created to catch your sneeze….evolved to catch you eye…..

 

-Karen

 

 

 

Book review: Weathering the Storm

By , September 9, 2014

Weathering the Storm: Tornadoes, Television, and Turmoil
By Gary England

I am a weather groupie. I get excited when Jim Cantore comes to Nashville and I’m Facebook friends with Dr. Greg Forbes. (I feel like this would be great fodder for a Weird Al song…) I am also a fan of Gary England.

Who the heck is Gary England, you say?

Gary England is the chief meteorologist for KWTV in Oklahoma City, OK. If you’ve seen the movie Twister, England stars as TV Meteorologist #1 where, in one of the very first scenes, he gives the weather report that Jo’s (Helen Hunt) dad sees right before the tornado comes. He is also the first public weather guy to make use of Doppler Radar outside of the NWS or NOAA. I came across him after the May 3, 1999 outbreak that came through Oklahoma City and included several large tornadoes – one EF5 hit Oklahoma City proper, with England broadcasting live through the whole event.

So I was pretty excited to find out that A) Gary England wrote a book! and even better B) NPL has this delightful treasure! In this book, England tells the story of how he became Oklahoma’s favorite meteorologist. Unfortunately, it was published in 1996, which precludes the inclusion of the ’99 tornadoes, but Oklahoma has never been short on severe weather, so there was still plenty to discuss. England talks about how he was first hired in radio and how a giant, imaginary thunder lizard brought him fame. He also details the struggles he faced at KWTV, convincing them to install a Doppler Radar at great expense, but with great reward and life-saving opportunities.

I knew Gary England was a popular meteorologist, but I had no idea he was the first guy to install his own Doppler Radar. There were also some great storm chasing stories as well, because KWTV has several storm chase teams. England is not a chaser himself, but he definitely quarterbacks his team of weather guys and cameramen in order to increase warning times for the public and save as many lives as possible.

Being the weather nerd that I am, I’ve read my share of boring weather books, and I’m happy to say this was not one of them. I couldn’t put it down. If you need your next weather fix, you can’t go wrong with Mr. England and his Thunder Lizard.

Happy reading…

:) Amanda

 

Pioneer in Flight: Cornelia Fort and the WAFS

By , September 8, 2014

Photo of Cornelia FortCornelia Clark Fort was the first female pilot to die on active military duty. In honor of the start of school and her new place on the Tennessee school curriculum, today we are going to highlight the Cornelia Fort Papers. This is one of the many one-of-a-kind collections in the Special Collection that tell personal stories about remarkable Tennesseans.

Cornelia was the eldest daughter of Rufus and Louise Clark and grew up on a farm in East Nashville with her brothers and sisters. Rufus made all the boys swear to never become pilots because he felt it was too dangerous but it never occurred to him to make his daughters swear. Cornelia fell in love with flying and became a flight instructor in Hawaii. In 1942, Cornelia joined the Women’s Auxiliary Ferry Squadron (WAFS) and transported planes for military use. The WAFS were a predecessor to the WASP (Women’s Airforce Service Pilots), a group that has been the subject of many books and films. Cornelia’s plane crashed when she was hit by a fellow pilot during a ferrying trip in 1943.

Cornelia Fort License with picture

Cornelia Fort’s license from the War Department issued in 1942

The Cornelia Fort Papers include her personal papers as well as information about her immediate family. Some of my favorite items include her various pilot licenses like the one shown here. This is her official license from the military proving her employment with the Ferrying Division. As you can see on the license, Cornelia and her co-pilots were civilians employed by the army, not enlisted members of the military. It was not until 1976 that the Air Force officially let women enlist in their ranks.

Letter from Cornelia Fort to her mother

Letter from Cornelia Fort to her mother, October 1942

Cornelia’s papers also include several handwritten letters like the one to the right. In them she describes her social life and her flights to her family. In this letter, she talks about her graduation and the first orders she received. As one of the senior members of the group, Cornelia was one of the first six given official orders after they completed their training.

There is so much more to see! The Special Collection is open during regular library hours on the second floor of the Main Library. If you are interested in looking at the Cornelia Fort Papers, feel free to call 615-862-5782 to set up an appointment or stop by our service desk.

Look at these books and films for more information on Cornelia Fort and Female Pilots:

United States Women in Aviation, 1940-1985 cover, by Deborah G Douglas

 

United States Women in Aviation 1940-1985

by Deborah G Douglas

 

 

 

Ladybirds: The Untold Stories of Women Pilots in America cover, by Holden and Griffith

 

Ladybirds: The Untold Story of Women Pilots in America

by Henry M Holden and Captain Lori Griffith

 

 

 

 

Zoot-Suits and Parachutes and Wings of Silver, too! cover, by Doris Brinker Tanner

 

Zoot-Suits and Parachutes and Wings of Silver, too!: The World War II Air Force Training of Women Pilots 1942-1944

by Doris Brinker Tanner

 

 

 

WASPs: Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II cover, by Vera Williams

 

WASPs: Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II

by Vera S Williams

 

 

 

Clipped Wings: The Rise and Fall of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) of World War cover, by Molly Merryman

 

Clipped Wings: The Rise and Fall of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) of World War II

by Molly Merryman

 

 

 

 

Fly Girls DVD cover

 

Fly Girls

 

 

 

 

- Amber

Book list: The Best…

By , September 4, 2014

I’m a sucker for “Best of” lists, so happily there are compilations like these that gather everything together for you—no effort required!  These are the two that I’ve liked best in the past several years:

Best American Essays 2013Best American Essays 2013
Edited by Cheryl Strayed

I hadn’t ever read this annual collection before, but I will from now on. There were several standouts:

 

 

  • Highway of Lost Girls
  • The Exhibit Will Be So Marked (a meandering piece on the art of the mix tape that was more John Jeremiah Sullivan than the actual JJS essay)
  • When They Let Them Bleed (who knew I could be entranced by an essay about boxing?)
  • A Little Bit of Fun Before He Died, because of the unexpected surprise

However, my absolute favorite was the 3-page His Last Game.

 

Pushcart Prize 2013Pushcart Prize XXXVII: Best of the Small Presses (2013)

 

Top 5 (in order of appearance):

 

 

  1. American Juggalo, an exposé of a little-known music festival
  2. Civil Twilight, about the life of a city bus driver
  3. Juniper Beach, an ode to the Trip-Tik
  4. A Zen Zealot Comes Home, about a moment of insight after an exasperating family visit
  5. Helen Keller Answers the Iron, a ridiculously good essay on joke-telling
    Honorable Mention: the Harry Crews excerpt

I also anxiously await the Best American Short Stories each fall—the 2014 edition is coming out soon. Go ahead and put it on hold!

Best American Short Stories 2014Best American Short Stories 2014

Edited by Jennifer Egan

 

 

 

- Beth

Book review: True Crime

By , September 1, 2014

Killer of Little ShepherdsThe Killer of Little Shepherds
by Douglas Starr

I don’t remember there being any fanfare when this book came out, which is surprising because it is tailor-made for Devil in the White City fans. It’s even set up the same way: a chapter about the serial killer, and then a chapter about the other topic of the book—in this case, the development of early crime detection techniques. The issue of how (or even whether) you can determine if a criminal is insane is also a major theme. The author obviously did an enormous amount of research, and is also a good, lucid nonfiction writer. This deserves a wider readership.

 

Midnight in PekingMidnight in Peking
by Paul French

This is like Twin Peaks, 1930′s China-style. The unravelling of the crime is beautifully paced, with just the right amount of historical context.

 

 

 

-Beth

Ebola: a primer

By , August 15, 2014

Ebola: the plague fighters
NOVA

Ebola Hemorragic Fever. If those three words did not send blood curding chills down your spine before the most recent West African outbreak, I bet they do now.

First identified in 1976, Ebola Hemorragic Fever appeared in the Democratic Republic of the Congo near the Ebola River. The latest outbreak is centered in Guéckédou, Guinea. The virus is believed to be zoonotic (animal-borne) spreading to humans once in contact with a diseased animal. Ebola Hemorragic Fever is severe and often fatal to humans and nonhuman primates. The symptoms are frightening so to spare the reader graphic details, focus on the word, “hemorragic.”

If you care to further investigate this virus from the safety of your Ebola secretion free home, we offer these horrifying reads and films beginning with the 1987  Robin Cook medical thriller, Outbreak.  A film by the same name followed in 1995 featuring “a take charge army virologist” played by Dustin Hoffman.  Rene Russo and Morgan Freeman also star. Cook followed up with the 1995 book Contagion (film by the same name in 2011).

In 1994 Richard Preston gave non-fiction audiences The Hot Zone. This book looks at the disease and the research behind the testing and the lab work involved in finding a treatment. If you wonder why no cure or treatment exists, it is because outbreaks are sporadic and occur mainly in Africa.

Finally for your viewing pleasure, the 2007 no-nonsense Nova production Ebola: plague fighters. The Nova film team was permitted into the 1995 Zaire Ebola “hot zone”. They spent four weeks in the quarantined city of Kikwit following medical specialists who traced and tracked the Ebola virus that dissolves internal organs and connective tissue. You can watch this one while donning a surgical mask. No one will blame you.

By visiting patients in their home, by helping them come to terms with their illness, I could heal when I could not cure.      Abraham Verghese

-laurie

 

 

 

Book review: My Heart Is an Idiot

By , August 10, 2014

My Heart Is an Idiot

My Heart Is an Idiot
by Davy Rothbart

I love anyone who can make everyday life seem like an exciting joyride. Davy Rothbart is a master of this, and his essay Human Snowball from this collection is the best thing I’ve read all year.  Here’s a quote, to give you an idea of his style:

“A plume of merriment rose in my chest that was six parts the gentle glow of heading into any bar on a cold, snowy night and four parts the wonderful, unpredictable madness of having a hundred-and-ten-year-old man I’d just met on the Greyhound bus as my wingman.”

In addition to these autobiographical essays (which reminded me of the movie Beautiful Girls), Rothbart is the creator of Found magazine and the author of the story collection The Lone Surfer of Montana, Kansas.

Human Snowball was featured in both The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2013 and the 2014 Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses.

-Beth

Book review: Art of the Japanese Postcard: Masterpieces from the Leonard A. Lauder Collection

By , August 8, 2014

Art of the Japanese Postcard: Masterpieces from the Leonard A. Lauder Collection

By Anne Nishimura Morse

 

If you enjoyed the Looking East: Western Artists and the Allure of Japan exhibit at the Frist Center this past spring then you are going to love Art of the Japanese Postcard.

Leonard A. Lauder’s passion for postcard collecting began as a child. In the 1960s while on a business trip to London, he discovered a collection of Japanese Art Nouveau postcards and the rest as they say is history. In 2002, Leonard donated his collection of twenty thousand Japanese postcards to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

The Art of the Japanese Postcard features 300 postcards from Lauder’s vast collection divided into seven categories: The Russo-Japanese War, Artists Cards, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, The World of Humor, Advertising and New Year’s Greetings.

When the Japanese government introduced the postcard to its people in 1873, many of the top artists of the day embraced this new idea and began making art specifically for postcards. Many of those artists are featured in this book.

Named one of the 10 Best Art Books of 2004 by The New York Times, Art of the Japanese Postcard is filled with small artwork that packs a big punch!

 

- Karen

 

 

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