Posts tagged: Crystal

Book review: Bird Box

By , November 13, 2015

18498558Bird Box: a Novel
by Josh Malerman

Don’t go outside without a blindfold, and keep all windows and doors covered!  Seriously, something is causing people to commit horrible violence.  We’ve managed to discover these shocking acts occur after victims see whatever this “thing” may be.  So remember, if you must go outside, keep your eyes closed!

Mallorie and her two children have been living in that house by the river, but their stockpile of food and supplies has run out.  It’s now or never to make a break for a better life.  They’ve set out on a journey down the river in an old rowboat, with only their hearing to protect them from whatever approaches…

Josh Malerman’s 2014 debut novel is a page turner that you’ll want to read with your blinds closed and all the lights on.  It’s a perfect read while you wait for the King of Horror‘s latest, The Bazaar of Bad Dreams

Book review: Ally Hughes Has Sex Sometimes

By , September 11, 2015

913YAFmLDXLAlly Hughes Has Sex Sometimes
by Jules Moulin

This may be an unusual way to start a book review, but in a minute you’ll understand why. I would like to acknowledge, celebrate, and applaud all of the single parents out there. Single parents work so hard to care for and raise your children, to work and maintain a home. You deserve all the happiness, good fortune, and moments of relaxation that come your way.

Ally Hughes is a single mom. She got pregnant during her junior year of college, and had her daughter Lizzie, without any support from the father. Ally finished college, completed her PhD, and is now teaching feminist economics at Brown, all while raising her extremely gifted, now ten year old daughter Lizzie. Enter Ally’s chance at happiness and relaxation (and dare I say love?!): Jake Bean, a twenty-one year old student in Ally’s class, who has requested a meeting to discuss his failing grade. Ally not only grants him that passing grade, but hires him to do some chores and repairs that her usual handyman has bailed on.

As Jake works around the house, he and Ally connect, and the romantic tension builds.   When Jake suggests they spend the night together, Ally reminds him she’s 31, he’s 21, AND her student.   Not anymore, he admits. Jake has quit Brown to take his life wherever it leads him. Ally has been so devoted to her daughter and focused on her career for so long… She reluctantly says yes, but only if their time together can remain a secret, and just for the weekend. If you’ve paid attention to the title of this book, you know what happens next.

Fast forward ten years. Ally’s twenty year old daughter Lizzie is pursuing a career in acting, and gets a bit part in a big movie, opposite the handsome A-List co-star Noah Bean. Lizzie invites him to have dinner at her mom’s house. When they arrive, Ally is shocked to find that her daughter’s friend, Noah Bean, is actually Jake Bean, her long-lost lover. Yikes!

Ally Hughes Has Sex Sometimes is Jules Moulin’s first novel, but if you were a Party of Five and/or The West Wing fan, you’ve experienced her smart, insightful, and witty writing.   Although her first novel isn’t perfect, Moulin’s cast of characters remains fully realized when her plot falls a little short. The love affair between Jake and Ally is as hot as a ghost pepper, but Moulin also brings to life that deep intimacy you expect between two people who are meant to be together. And I haven’t even mentioned the Internet sex-crimes ring that gets a big smackdown!

Ally Hughes would be a great beach read,  or just a great read for when you’re sitting in an easy chair with a cat (in my case) or your beloved toddler asleep in your lap.


Book review: I Take You

By , June 12, 2015

I Take YouI Take You
by Eliza Kennedy

Hi there!  Are you a fan of offbeat romantic comedies looking for fun vacation reads? Even better, titles to read as part of your NPL Summer Challenge participation? If so, add  I Take You to your  holds list.  Lily Wilder (that’s her on the book cover), is a successful young litigator living in New York. She is soon to marry her adorable archeologist boyfriend Will.  The trouble is, Lily isn’t sure if she’s the marrying type.  You see, Lily is physically attracted to all sorts of men – her boss, random strangers she meets at the pub, even Will’s work colleague…Even though Lily believes she loves Will, she just can’t stay faithful to him.

Lily grew up in Key West, Florida, a child of divorce, raised by her mom and grandmother, with input from her father’s multiple ex-wives.   Yes, this is a very unconventional contemporary romantic story, complete with strong women, eccentric islanders and indulgent vacationers, wild chickens, a bit of booze and drug use, all within sight of the Hemingway Home.

Author Eliza Kennedy is a Harvard Law School graduate and former litigator herself, who happens to be married to writer Joshua Ferris.  I can’t wait for her next book! I sure hope she’s sitting at her writing desk right now…

Popmatic Podcast for June 10, 2015: Bonnaroo vs. CMA Fest

By , June 10, 2015

ZABA by Glass AnimalsBonnaroo and CMA Fest are the same weekend causing a musical vortex unlike anything in the history of the known universe. Welcome to the unknown. We have recommendations.


Benjamin Booker by Benjamin Booker

Sturgill Simpson CD | Freegal

Florence and the Machine CD | Hoopla

Glass Animals

Nick Thune

Natasha Leggero

Cameron Esposito

The Kindest Thing Jay Leno Ever Did for Me

Reggie Watts

Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop


Deadmau5 CD | Freegal | Hoopla

Tanya Tucker’s Greatest Hits by Tanya Tucker


Dear Bitches Smart Authors podcast

From the Desk of Warren Ellis by Warren Ellis

Phenomenal” by Eminem

Go” by The Chemical Brothers

Steve Albini’s Face the Music 2014 keynote

Sewer Goddess


Transcripts of the show are available upon request.

Book review: Jo Nesbo’s Blood on Snow

By , May 8, 2015

Blood on Snow
by Jo Nesbo
Audio version narrated by the Patti Smith!

Do you know someone who suffers from reading avoidance? This person works hard all day and thinks the only way to relax at night is watching an hour or three of TV?  Jo Nesbo‘s Blood on Snow may be the book to fix the reluctant reader in your life.

The character at the center of Blood on Snow is called Olav.  Olav has made an interesting career choice.  He is a fixer under the employ of one of Oslo, Norway’s biggest crime bosses, Daniel Hoffmann.   Olav is fresh off a job fixing an associate of Hoffman’s competition, known as the Fisherman, when Hoffman calls with a new assignment.  He wants Olav to fix his own very beautiful wife, Mrs. Hoffman…

Olav is not without a heart, mind you.  He’s a gangster with a moral code, especially when it comes to  fixing women.  Does he fall in love with the boss’s wife and save instead of kill her? Maybe.  Does he go to the Fisherman to ask for a job fixing his current boss Hoffman?  Perhaps…  Has Nesbo written a mean little thriller featuring one of the most unusual shoot-outs ever put to the page by a writer? Most definitely!  If you’ve never read any Jo Nesbo, Blood on Snow would be a good place to start.  I highly recommend the audio version.  Patti Smith does a stupendous job giving voice to a Norwegian gangster.


Music review: Belgian musician Stromae

By , April 10, 2015

Promo stromaeThere is so much music out there in the world, my friends.  As residents of Music City, we can sometimes forget to explore beyond the musical borders of our beloved Nashville.  To make new music discoveries, I follow some of the big music happenings, like the South by Southwest festival in Austin.  Every year when I read about artists who wowed folks at SXSW, I happily discover a new musical obsession.  See the cutie in the picture to your left?  That’s Stromae, the Belgian pop star who has a bazillion views on Youtube!  Music fans all over the world already appreciate his artistry.  It’s about time we join in.

You might be wondering just how to pronounce his name.  Say the words “my strobe light.” Now reverse the words, and remove the be and the lightStromae has said it’s a play on the word “maestro.” Get it?  If you’ve never heard any of his music,  Stromae is an artist smartly influenced by the melodies and rhythms of the world.  Many of his songs make dancing a necessity.  Stromae sings and raps in French but you can easily find English translations of his lyrics online.  Do watch his videos – they reveal the tone and intent for those of us who don’t speak French.  Take his hit song Papaoutai.  In the video you see a young boy trying in vain to connect with his father.  Stromae’s father abandoned his family in Belgium to return to Rwanda, and was killed in the  genocide of the 1990′s.

I gotta give a shout out to the folks at NPR Music who hosted Stromae at their 2015 SXSW showcase.  You can watch his performance here.  Check out his music on Hoopla.  And let’s start a campaign to bring him to Nashville!!


Popmatic Podcast for March 25th, 2015: Crime Wave

By , March 25, 2015

Nobody Move by Denis JohnsonReal life crime is down but crime books are as popular as ever. The Popmatic crew clues you onto sure bets ranging from the darkest true crime to the funniest parody novels. Plus – Mike’s tribute to the late, great Terry Pratchett.


Lost Girls by Robert Kolker

A is for Alibi: a Kinsey Millhone mystery by Sue Grafton

Payback, aka The Hunter, first in the Parker series by Richard Stark, aka Donald Westlake

Point Blank DVD | Hoopla

The Score: Ricard Stark’s Parker Volume 3 by Darwyn Cooke

The Hot Rock: the First Dortmunder novel by Donald Westlake

Nobody Move by Denis Johnson


R.I.P. Sir Terry Pratchett


Hinterland aka Y Gwyll


iZombie comics


Transcripts of the show are available upon request.

Music review: Bjork’s Vulnicura

By , March 13, 2015

by Bjork

Sad but true:  some of the best art is inspired by heartbreak.  Bjork’s new album is no exception.  Now those of you that are thinking she’s just too far out there for your listening pleasure, remember that heartbreak is universal and something we can all relate to – a pain so intense and profound and utterly devastating.  But at the end of  that overwhelming sadness, there is hope.  Vulnicura is Bjork’s brave musical interpretation of the end of her relationship with her partner, her love, the father of her daughter.

Vulnicura is definitely an album to listen to in it’s entirety, in the correct order.  But if I had to narrow it for you, essential tracks are the album opener Stonemilker, Atom Dance featuring Antony Hegarty, and an epic ten minute song called Black Lake. In Black Lake, Bjork proclaims family was always our sacred mutual mission – which you abandoned…At the end of the phrase the strings sustain one melancholic note for several beats, a musical  representation of the gravity of this abandonment.

Vulnicura is Bjork’s best album since 2001′s Vespertine, the album that was perhaps inspired by the beginning of the relationship with her ex-partner.   Stream or download Vulnicura on freegal. Check out Vespertine through Hoopla.  And from now through June of 2015, visit the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York to see a Bjork career retrospective.



Download now: Valentine’s Playlist

By , February 13, 2015

say-anythingNothing says I love you quite like a mix tape.  With a playlist of songs handpicked and shuffled into the perfect order, your sweetie will know just how much and how deeply you care.  Listed here are songs guaranteed bring the love.   Download tracks or create a streaming playlist.   Grab that library card – that’s all you need…

The Very Thought of You, performed by Billie Holiday.  I dare you to find another singer who exudes longing and love as well as Billie…

Open Arms, by Journey.  “Haters gonna hate,” but in my opinion, Open Arms is one of the all-time best power ballads!

Drunk in Love by Beyonce.  Just to make sure your sweetie gets the point, let Queen Bey do the convincing.

At Last performed by Eva Cassidy.  When you think of At Last, I know Etta James is on your mind.  Give a listen to the second best interpreter of this iconic song, Miss Eva Cassidy. So sad both of these lovely songbirds are no longer with us…

Total Eclipse of the Heart, by Bonnie Tyler.  Love likes over the top 80′s production, right?  My sweetie and I go into hysterics every time we hear this song!


I’m not the only librarian who loves love songs! Here are recommendations from some of my esteemed colleagues…

Bryan recommends: Bob Dylan‘s Lay, Lady, Lay.

Jeremy recommends:  ELO‘s (Electric Light Orchestra) Turn to Stone.

Klem-Mari recommends:  Bruce Springsteen‘s I’m on Fire, and Calle 13‘s La Jirafa.


Please share your favorite love songs in the comments!  My Valentine’s gift to you – Bonnie Tyler’s timeless video interpretation of Total Eclipse of the Heart.  You’re welcome.





Popmatic Podcast January 28, 2015: Seedy

By , January 28, 2015

Hothouse Flower and the 9 Plants of DesireNPL Seed Exchange is in full bloom so Popmatic decides to veg out. Plant puns abound. And what is tickling our fancy this week.


NPL Seed Exchange


Indoor Kitchen Gardening

Hothouse Flower and the Nine Plants of Desire by Margot Berwin

Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham

Cornbread Mafia by James Higdon

The Saga of Swamp Thing Book Two by Alan Moore, Stephen Bissette, and John Totleben


12 Monkeys original version

Le jetée

Considering Kate (sixth in the Stanislavskis series) by Nora Roberts

The Guest

The Guest Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Future Islands on Austin City Limits

Black Messiah by D’Angelo and the Vanguard

D’Angelo and the Vanguard will be on Saturday Night Live 01/31

Nick Lowe CD | Freegal



Transcripts of the show are available upon request.

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