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Odd Words July 7, 2011

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, Odd Words, Toulouse Street.

Well July Fourth has come and gone and my son and I observed the day by consuming our weight in grilled meat and watching the Twilight Zone Marathon on the SyFy channel. We’ve done this for a least a good fraction of the holiday in years past but caught a number of episodes I just don’t remember, and I used to stay up late for my age and never missed an episode of TZ (or Outer Limits, for that matter). We caught the I Sing the Body Electric episode for the first time together (I haven’t seen it in years) and noticed that it was written by none other than Ray Bradbury. Its a reminder that there was a Golden Age of television and that it is long behind us. No show in recent decades has combined powerful and frequently seditious story ideas with first rate writing and direction and a rotating case of the best actors of the generation. Really, I can’t think of anything else that achieved what that show did, and I’m amazed at how well most of the episodes hold up.

I don’t think television is entirely a wasteland or I wouldn’t be a contributor at Back of Town. David Simon and his team have truly upended the landscape, and now Salman Rushdie is looking at writing a cable television series, citing Simon’s The Wire, The Sopranos and Mad Men as his inspiration. The article in the Observer that stirred up a controversy by suggesting that Rushdie believed television series were supplanting film and novels as the best way to tell a serious story “has been amended…to correct the erroneous impression that Salman Rushdie believed that TV dramas had overtaken the novel as the best way to communicate ideas and stories.”

Cover of Hurricane tory

&Tonight Chin Music Press author Jennifer Shaw will give a presentation and sign her novel Hurricane Story. (A presentation? OK, I’d probably go anyway, but my curiosity is peaked). “This first-person narrative, illustrated through toys and dolls photographed using an inexpensive plastic camera, depicts Jennifer Shaw’s strange but true tale of her evacuation from New Orleans, including the dramatic birth of her first son on the very day that Hurricane Katrina made landfall, the pressures on her marriage as she and her husband struggle with depression and rage, and the return to New Orleans with their newest family member in time for Mardi Gras.”

Josh Neufeld, creator of A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge, says, ““Like a mournful fairytale, Jennifer Shaw’s beautifully staged tableaux are alternately sweet and menacing, filled with emotion but never spilling over into sentimentality. The poetic marriage of words and photos makes Hurricane Story a children’s book for grown-ups.”

This book began as a self-published Lulu title before Chin Music Press picked it up and produced this hardcover edition. CMP books are always first rate literary selections, and beautiful examples of the designers and binder’s art so the book is almost certain to be a treat. Don’t miss this one. Thursday July 7, 6 p.m. at Octavia Books.

& On Saturday, Maple Street Book Shop will host a signing of Will Rogers A Political life, the latest outing by prolific LSU Professor Dr. Richard D. White, also author of Kingfish: The Reign of Huey P. Long and Roosevelt the Reformer: Theodore Roosevelt as Civil Service Comissioner 1990-1995. OK, the last one sounds a bit dry but the New York Times review makes it sound pretty interesting. Saturday July 9th, 1-2:30 pm.

& The Vaso loung, 500 Frenchman, presents the HIP HOP Edition of POET’S CORNER & OPEN MIC W/THE LETTER 10 BAND Wednesday, July 13 VASO. Doors open at 9 .m.

& I’m not a mystery or crime novel person but I have to admit that So Much Pretty sounds interesting. The NPR review blub is what hooked me: “So Much Pretty is a haunting, gloomy novel that defies genre — it is one part crime thriller, one part ambitious novel, one part prose poem. . . . [The novel] raises questions about denial, violence against women and when a citizen should speak up, even if it puts another at risk.” It’s a blurb fest all over for a first novel, and author Cara Hoffman worked as an investigative reporter in rural New York before turning to write about a small-town mystery. Maple Street Books will host a discussion with Ms. Hoffman at St. Charles Avenue Baptist Church on Thursday, July 14, 2011, 6:00 P.M. Please join us for refreshments and a discussion. RSVP is required. Sounds a bit book clubby to me but the book sounds like something I would want if I were going to the beach this year. Thursday July 14th, 6 p.m., sponsored by Maple Street Book

& OK, my idea of Christian fiction is the Left Behind Series (or I as I think of them, Dianetics for the Rest of Us) but I’m not going to ignore a bookstore I previously didn’t know about it that promises not only X-Lit but also “a top-notch list of mainstream authors whose work is related to the American South.” OK, I was hooked enough to plan on stopping by Desire Street Books, “at the intersection of Piety and Desire”. No fooling; that’s what it says on the website. Except its an online only store. You can read about them here. As for the claim to be New Orleans Top Online Bookstore, I think Tom at Octavia might dispute that title. I think a match of some sort at the next Tennessee Williams Festival could be a great draw, with the winner taking on Garden District for the lucrative book sales slot. I think this would be just weird enough for us to lure Andrei Codrescu as MC and referee.



1. Megan Burns - July 7, 2011

Re: Desire Books: “with their unique relationship with Amazon” is basically an Amazon storefront, right?
And I love using images of Bourbon St. to promote Judeo-Christian Literature.


2. Mzell - July 7, 2011

Actually, I’ll dispute their silly “Top Online Bookstore” claim and tout a bit. At any given time, we (Crescent City Books) have 2,300-2,500 out-of-print books available through ABE/Amazon/Biblio/B&N, which are shipped around the world. We were also open between Katrina and Rita, and then formally reopened mere days after people were let back into the city in 2005. We’re also the only ABAA bookdealer in the entire state. crescentcitybooks.com


3. Mark Folse - July 7, 2011

Michael, points well taken.

And Megan, I think looking closely at them as essentially an Amazon store front competing with local bookstores bares a little more looking into by me. If they’re just an Amazon one off, they are in no sense a :”local bookstore” and really shouldn’t be making that claim.


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