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Odd Words October 18, 2012

Posted by Mark Folse in books, literature, New Orleans, NOLA, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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New Orleans has more independent new-and-used bookstores per capital than any other major city except Manhattan in New York, which is a dead tie, according to Micheal Zell of Crescent City Books. More on all this later when I get through my notes on yesterday’s forum on New Orleans Literary Life at the University of New Orleans’ English Department’s 3rd Wednesday speaker series.

Against the Day Update/Kindle Update: Page 1085/100%. I sort of missing doing this the last few weeks, but I finished the book 10 days ago and hated the Kindle experience so much that I immediately downloaded Tom DeLillo’s the Angel Esmerelda and Matt Johnson’s Pym: A Novel on a recommendation by Maud Newton [sigh]. I am currently reading Louis’ Maistro’s New Orleans Stories: New Orleans Stories which is I should mention free. Why wouldn’t you want to go out and download that? My offer still stands to purchase my copy of Against The Day to fill that gaping hole in my Pynchon shelf from the first Indie book store owner to offer up a blurb for Odd Words.

& so to the listings…

& Tonight, Oct. 17 at 8 p.m. 17 Poets! hosts novelist LOUIS MAISTROS and poet JOSEPH MAKKOS followed by OPEN MIC hosted by Jimmy Ross. Maistros is a longtime resident of the New Orleans 8th Ward neighborhood, is the author of The Sound of Building Coffins and Anti-requiem: New Orleans Stories. His work has appeared in publications such as the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Relix Magazine, the Baltimore City Paper, Entrepot, and many others. He is also an accomplished art photographer, and has been called “a wizard with light, shadows, and colors” by Louisiana Poet Laureate Julie Kane. Makkos is also a resident of New Orleans, serves as a full-time faculty member in the English department at Delgado Community College. He also operates an independent letterpress studio & publishing house, where he serves as editor-in-chief. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of New Orleans.

& Cynthia LeJeune Nobles will present and sign her fascinating historical book The Delta Queen Cookbook, a combination history and cookbook on the world’s last authentic overnight wooden steamboat and the food that was served on boardtTonight at 6 p.m. at Octavia Books The Delta Queen Cookbook brings the Delta Queen’s story to life with an engaging historical narrative and over 125 recipes prepared by the steamboat’s former chefs during their tenures in the “cookhouse.”

& Imagine growing up in New Orleans and developing a food allergy. (Try finding a place to eat dinner with someone with a violent allergy to anything that swims. This is hard.) Imagine growing up with a father known for his rich, Creole-style cooking, who instilled a love and appreciation of food from the very start. Now imagine not being able to eat most of his dishes anymore. That’s what happened to Jilly and Jessie Lagasse when they were diagnosed with gluten allergies in 2001 and 2004, respectively. So they learned to adjust, changing the ways they cooked, ate, and used ingredients. THE GLUTEN-FREE TABLE provides a well-balanced base of recipes that can add flavor and enjoyment to the menus of even the most demanding gluten-free eaters. Tonight, Oct. 17 at 5:30 p.m. at Garden District Book Shop.

& Tonight at Tulane City of Matsue, the official friendship city of New Orleans will host a Special Lecture on Open Mind of Lafcadio Hearn, Book and Art Exhibition at the Freeman Auditorium at 6 p.m. Professor Bon Koizumi (Hearn’s great-grandson) will give a special lecture on Open Mind of Lafcadio Hearn. Patrick Lafcadio Hearn (Koizui Yakumo) lived in New Orleans for ten years from 1877 to 1887 working as a journalist. For Hearn who was accustomed to buying one way tickets and travelling the world, this was one of his most lengthy stops. ‘The Open Mind of Lafcadio Hearn in New Orleans’ will display approximately 24 pieces from the 2010 exhibition in Matsue Castle; 2 pieces from the American College of Greece; 3 of his favorite items from the Matsue Hearn Memorial Museum; 26 of first editions of the books mainly from his time in New Orleans (Rare Book Collection, Special Collections, Howard-Tilton Memorial Library,*2 Tulane University).

& Michael Allen Zell will be signing his book Errata at Maple Street Book’s Bayou St. John location on Friday, Oct. 19 at 6 p.m. “In Zell’s debut novel, a young New Orleans cabbie named Raymond Russell has been dramatically shocked by the intensity of a crime and is blocked such that he cannot write about it directly. He lets elements leak out associatively so as to prime the engine of his obsessive mind for what he must reveal. Picture a neo-noir Nabokov using Stern-like disgressions directed by Joycean movements of the mind. This book, with its sultry darkness of city and soul, teaches the reader how to uniquely read it. Zell has an inventive and engaging voice, positioning him as an inheritor of the likes of Jorge Luis Borges, Italo Calvino, Julio Cortazar, Bohumil Hrabal, Milan Kundra, and Bruno Schulz.”

& Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Maple Leaf Bar Reading Series is an open mic. Next week Oct. 28 Michael Allen Zell reads from and signs his novel, Errata.

& Also this Sunday you get another bite at the Lagasse girl’s The Gluten Free Table at Maple Street Book Shop’s Healing Center Location at St. Claude. No time listed. Call for details: (504)304-7115.

& I have no idea what Duck Commander is about, but I pulled the cable plug a while back. For fans on the curious (me) Willie and Korie Robertson, stars of the A&E hit series “Duck Dynasty,” will be at the Maple Street Book Shop Uptown location signing their book, The Duck Commander Family: How Faith, Family, and Ducks Built a Dynasty, Sunday, October 21st, 2-4PM. “Part redneck logic, part humorous stories of our family, combined with faith, business tips and a little history- this book is the inside sneak-peek for everything you wanted to know about growing up a Robertson and what it is like to be a part of this family,” says Willie.

& On Sunday evening at 7 p.m. Spoken Word New Orleans presents Speak Easy Sundays Poetry at the Club Caribbean 2441 Bayou Road. Cover. Visit their website for updates on other spoken words and visiting artists all around town.

& On Monday night Press Street’s Room 220 will host Adam Parfrey reading Ritual America and Joseph Scott Morgan will be reading Blood Beneath My Feet at 735 St. Ferdinand Street at 7 p.m. (This is a private residence, not the Antenna Gallery). Pafrey, described by the Seattle Times as “one of the nation’s most provocative publishers”, has published a book that peels back the curtains on America’s secret societies. Ritual America reveals the biggest secret of them all: that the influence of fraternal brotherhoods on this country is vast, fundamental, and hidden in plain view. In the early twentieth century, as many as one-third of America belonged to a secret society. And though fezzes and tiny car parades are almost a thing of the past, the Gnostic beliefs of Masonic orders are now so much a part of the American mind that the surrounding pomp and circumstance has become faintly unnecessary. Have you ever been locked in a cooler with piles of decomposing humans for so long that you had to shave all the hair off your body in order to get rid of the smell? Joseph Scott Morgan did. Have you ever lit a Marlboro from the ignited gas of a bloated dead man’s belly? Joseph Scott Morgan has. Morgan became a death investigator with the Jefferson Parish Coroner’s Office in suburban New Orleans in 1987. At the time of his hire, he was estimated to have been the youngest medicolegal death investigator in the country working in a major metropolitan area. Over the course of his career he was required to work in the morgue during the day and subsequently work as an investigator for the coroner at night. Maple Street Book Shop (Healing Center) will be on-site to sell books.

& Susan Larson, the former book editor of the former Times-Picayune newspaper and member of the National Book Critics Circle hosts The Reading Life on WWNO (89.9 FM) on Tuesdays at 1:30 p.m. repeating Sundays at Noon. She features interviews with authors of local and national interest.

& On Tuesday, Oct. 23 Octavia Books hosts a presentation and book signing with Tonja Koob Marking & Jennifer Snape celebrating their new book of historical photos LOUISIANA’S OIL HERITAGE from Arcadia Publishing, whose books on K&B, Maison Blanche and other local topics you may have seen checking out of Walgreen’s with their historical plaque title boxes and sepia covers.. This book covers the history of Louisiana’s oil patch from the discovery of oil in 1901 through 2001.

& Thomas Joseph Perez will be signing his novel Katrina Lashes Arabia at Maple Street Book’s Healing Center location at 6:30 p.m. A New Orleans ex-pat working as a nurse in Saudi Arabia looses her temper at a Saudi man in the marketplace shortly after the hurricane of the same name strikes her home and finds herself taking refuge from the authorities in the place of a Saudi Prince which interesting sexual tastes who is working on biological weapons on the side. The picture of a sexually submissive Saudi prince gives new meaning to the word spellbinding, and I think we can chalk this up as the Katrina Novel No One Could Have Predicted.

Next Week: Robert Olin Butler at Octavia Books.

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Comments»

1. candice - October 18, 2012

Recommend a first Pynchon? Clay started V. but brain got tired on grad school and I was thinking of stealing it.

Mark Folse - October 19, 2012

V was his first and most conventional novel, and it’s not going to give you any idea of what is coming at you. I would almost have to write one of those Facebook multiple-choice quizzes to tell someone where to start.

I started at Gravity’s Rainbow and was hooked but I don’t recommended that. Its his most difficult book. The strange little novella The Crying of Lot 49, which people either love or hate (but that’s true of Pynchon in general) gives you an introduction to his mode of plotting, character and comedy., his fascination with the arcana. Against the Day is really a very good book, very similar to Rainbow but not as difficult to slog through even at 1085 pages. You get an introduction to his writing style (each section is written in a different style), his fascination with science and mathematics although in this case its the arcane edge, the lunatic fringe of science and mathematics. If the use of improbably notions of what is scientifically possible will annoy you, it may not be a good start but I loved it. It treats science the way urban fantasy treats of magic. Everything is possible, and that really reflects the Gilded Age setting. Mason and Dixon, another quasi-historical novel about the survey of the line is very accessible but again like most of his books its a fat read. Vinland, his book about the Northwest, I read long enough ago that I’d have to reflect on that and recall what I’ve forgotten. I would say give ATD a try and don’t let the bombastically vaudevillian Chums of Chance annoy you any more than they are supposed to.

candice - October 22, 2012

Thanks! I think this is helpful. 1000 pages is only tough if it’s translated from russian or ultra-dense like science history.

It’s getting to the point in the semester where I need stuff to read while Clay studies again. And I don’t think I’m quite up for Germinal in French yet.


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