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Odd Words September 13, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, Indie Book Shops, literature, Louisiana, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, spoken word, Toulouse Street, Writing.

This coming week in literary New Orleans:

& At Garden District Book Shop Tuesday at 6 pm Melinda Rose presents Of The Rising Tide: A Photo Essay of the Vanishing Bayou Community of Isle de Jean Charles. Somewhere…down in the forgotten reaches of the Louisiana marshes, a community clings tenaciously to what remains of its homeland. Isle de Jean Charles, is a fragile, finger-like Island, attached to the mainland by a narrow 2 mile-long road. A good steady wind could leave you trapped on the Island for days. Enter the hurricanes…vicious storms with sweet sounding names like Katrina and Rita swallow up this Island again and again, each time ripping up more lives and eroding away more of the Island’s land mass. “Oh we’re use to hurricanes alright,” says Chris Brunet, who is raising his orphaned niece and nephew from a wheel chair. “But since the ’50s, our barrier Islands have been eroding away…and now the salt water rushes right in and kills just about everything.” Chris is one of 40 remaining Islanders, all descendants of the Choctaw- Chitimacha Indian tribes. These Native Americans have inhabited a once-thriving gulf community for more than a Century. The elders share stories of a once-lush prairie land textured with a variety of trees, including fig, pecan and persimmons. Today the horizon is left to tend the hauntingly beautiful remains of mighty oaks and bald cypress, their lonely bleached-out bones rising defiantly out of the soggy marshes. The people of this battered and broken Island are living on borrowed time. And, as if they haven’t suffered enough, the massive BP oil disaster managed to strip all of the Island’s commercial fishermen of the only livelihood they’ve ever known. Yet, somehow, these gritty and determined people of Isle de Jean Charles continue to live out their lives. The children frolic and play on the new levee. The men take their boats out on the Gulf. Families of three generations come together on a swelteringly hot Sunday afternoon. And life goes on…for now.

& Tuesday at 6 pm join Octavia Books for a reading & signing with Tom Piazza celebrating the release of his new novel, A FREE STATE.

A Free State has great kinetic energy, a gripping central narrative, and a host of indelible characters. And, in the current age of identity politics, it speaks to the prevailing cultural obsession with ‘authenticity’ by exposing the fragility of that very notion. A hugely rewarding novel.” —Monica Ali, author of Brick Lane

The author of CITY OF REFUGE and WHY NEW ORLEANS MATTERS returns with a startling novel of race, violence, and identity. The year is 1855. Blackface minstrelsy is the most popular form of entertainment in a nation about to be torn apart by the battle over slavery. Henry Sims, a fugitive slave and a brilliant musician, has escaped to Philadelphia, where he lives by his wits and earns money performing on the street. He is befriended by James Douglass leader of the Virginia Harmonists, a minstrel troupe struggling to compete with dozens of similar ensembles who senses that Henry’s skill and magnetism could restore his show’s sagging fortunes. The problem is that black performers are not allowed to appear onstage, even in Philadelphia. Together the two concoct a dangerous masquerade to protect Henry’s identity, and he creates a sensation in his first appearances with the Harmonists. Yet even as the troupe’s fortunes begin to improve, a brutal slave hunter named Tull Burton has been employed by Henry’s former master to track down the runaway and retrieve him, dead or alive.

& At 7 pm Tuesday at Cafe Istanbul Lost Love Letters launches a monthly event where regular folks read vintage letters, bad love poetry, childhood diaries, and other artifacts of youthful angst. Inspired by the Mortified Nation events held in other cities, but this event is based on the theme of love. Events are held on the third Tuesday of each month. This month’s kick-off is a benefit for the Lafayette Grand Theater shooting. We are seeking readers for our next event. If you are interested in reading, please contact us at lostlovelettersnola@gmail.com or facebook.com/lostlovelettersnola.

& Wednesday at 6 pm at Octavia Books Michael Murphy, author of EAT DAT, is back with the second book in his planned three-book set, FEAR DAT New Orleans: A Guide to the Voodoo, Vampires, Graveyards & Ghosts of the Crescent City. Cari Roy, the #1 rated psychic in America, joins him to celebrate and offer free five-minute readings. It’s a reading with readings! New Orleans is famous for many things: smoky jazz clubs, spicy gumbo, sweet (but strong) cocktails. But the city is also known for its affinity for the dark side. Walk around the French Quarter and you’ll be greeted by centuries-old cemetery vaults, flamboyant fortune tellers, and—if you’re lucky—maybe something a bit more supernatural. Fear Dat provides a complete tour of all the sights and scares the Crescent City has to offer. Travel writer and New Orleans resident Michael Murphy takes readers through a brief history of Voodoo, and tells many of New Orleans’s best ghost stories and most gruesome murders. But, like Mardi Gras and Second Line Funerals, the point is to participate; Fear Dat encourages visitors to enrich their stay in the Big Easy by doing something, not just reading about it. That might include getting the most reliable psychic reading, buying some authentic gris gris, or finding the grave of a Voodoo queen.

& Also at 6 pm Wednesday Garden District Book Shop presents Garth Stein’s A Sudden Light. Twenty-three years after the fateful summer of 1990, Trevor Riddell recalls the events surrounding his fourteenth birthday, when he gets his first glimpse of the infamous Riddell House. Built from the spoils of a massive timber fortune, the legendary family mansion is constructed of giant whole trees and is set on a huge estate overlooking Seattle’s Puget Sound. Trevor’s bankrupt parents have separated, and his father, Jones Riddell, has brought Trevor to Riddell House with a goal: to join forces with Aunt Serena, dispatch the ailing and elderly Grandpa Samuel to a nursing home, sell off the house and property for development, and divide up the profits.
But as young Trevor explores the house’s hidden stairways and forgotten rooms, he discovers secrets that convince him that the family plan may be at odds with the land’s true destiny. Only Trevor’s willingness to face the dark past of his forefathers will reveal the key to his family’s future.

& Wednesday at 7 pm THE WAVES returns for a second year at Press Street’s Antenna Gallery! Come out to hear Megan Burns, Jen Hanks, Marisa Clogher, Foster Noone and perhaps more! The Waves Reading Series at Antenna Gallery: a new LGBTIQ reading series presenting student voices, local writers, and visiting writers side by side.

& Wednesday night from 8-9 pm, come drink some coffee and make your voice heard at the Neutral Ground Poetry Hour, 5110 Danneel Street.

& If you missed it Tuesday, Wednesday at 6 pm Garden District Books hosts Tom Piazza’s A Free State. See the details above.

& Thursday at 6 pm Octavia Books hosts a reading and signing with Edgar Award finalist Mathew Guinn featuring his new novel, THE SCRIBE. If you came to Guinn’s event last year for THE RESSURECTIONIST, his debut book, you already know how good he is at atmospheric, storytelling with gruesome twists. THE SCRIBE ramps it up another notch.

“….a heady mix of history, sizzle, punch, and danger.”—Steve Berry, New York Times best-selling author of The Patriot Threat

On the eve of Atlanta’s 1881 International Cotton Exposition, disgraced former detective Thomas Canby is called back to Atlanta to track a serial murderer who seems to be targeting the city’s wealthiest black entrepreneurs. The killer’s distinct style is unusually gruesome: on each victim’s body, a letter of the alphabet is inscribed. Intent on shielding the city’s celebration of New South industry, its cabal of prominent businessmen—“the Ring”—pressure Canby to tie up the case quickly. Paired with Atlanta’s first African American officer, Cyrus Underwood, Canby must face down persistent racism, including his own prejudices, to find the source of these bloody crimes. Meanwhile, if he can restore his reputation, he might win back the woman he loves.

& 7 pm Thursday it is an Author Night at the Nix Library featuring Richard Sexton, a fine art and media photographer whose work has been published and exhibited worldwide. His most recent book, Creole World, was published by the Historic New Orleans Collection. Previously published titles include a monograph, Terra Incognita: Photographs of America’s Third Coast, and the best-selling book, New Orleans Elegance and Decadence. Sexton will present a slide show of his work.

& Also at 7 pm the SciFi, Fantasy and Horror Writer’s Group meets at the East Jefferson Regional Library. The purpose of the group is to encourage local writers to create works of fiction based on science fiction, fantasy and horror themes. Participants submit manuscripts to be critiqued by others in the group. Open to all levels. Free of charge and open to the public. No registration.

& This and every Thursdays call the New Orleans Poetry Brothel and they will read you a poem 8pm-Midnight CST. 504-264-1336.

& Friday at 2 pm at Octavia Books Leslie Zemeckis will read, sign, and discuss GODDESS OF LOVE INCARNATE. Lili St. Cyr was, in the words of legendary reporter Mike Wallace, the highest paid stripteaser in America. Wallace was so fascinated by Lili that out of all the presidents and celebrities he interviewed over a long career, she was the one he remained fixated on. Her beauty had that kind of effect. Lili led an incredible life six marriages, romances with Orson Wells, Yul Brenner, Vic Damone, arrests on indecency charges, a number of suicide attempts all alongside great fame and money. A bigger star than Gypsy Rose Lee, Lili was named one of the world’s ten most beautiful women alongside Ava Gardner and Brigitte Bardot. Yet she lost it all, becoming a recluse in her final decades. Goddess of Love Incarnate is the definitive biography of this legendary figure, done with the cooperation of Lili’s only surviving sister. But the book does more than fascinate readers with stories of a byone era; it reveals that behind the g-strings and the pasties stood a complicated, eccentric, brilliant woman, much loved and little understood. As an award winning documentary filmmaker and writer, Leslie Zemeckis restores Lili to her rightful place in American history in a way no other writer could.

& Saturday at 10 am the East Jefferson Regional Library hosts a meeting of the Southern Louisiana Chapter of the Romance Writers of America. Local agent Pamela Gray Ahearn and authors Farrah Rochon and Candice Proctor will talk about the value of traditional publishing.

& Every Sunday at 3 pm The Maple Leaf Reading Series hosts and open mic and featured artists. This Sunday’s event is TBD, but there is always an open mic unless in conflict with a late afternoon Saint’s game. The Maple Leaf Reading Series is the oldest continuous reading in the south (interrupted only by Katrina), and was founded by noted and beloved local poet Everette Maddox.


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