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Odd Words: This week in literary New Orleans May 29, 2016

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

This week in literary New Orleans:

& All local libraries will be closed Monday in observance of Memorial Day.

& Come meet New Orleans-based, New York Times bestselling author Nevada Barr presenting and signing her new novel, BOAR ISLAND at Octavia Books Tuesday at 6 pm, bringing National Park Ranger Anna Pigeon to the wild beauty of Acadia National Park. Anna Pigeon, in her career as a National Park Service Ranger, has had to deal with all manner of crimes and misdemeanors, but cyber-bullying and stalking is a new one. The target is Elizabeth, the adopted teenage daughter of her friend Heath Jarrod. Elizabeth is driven to despair by the disgusting rumors spreading online and bullying texts. Until, one day, Heath finds her daughter Elizabeth in the midst of an unsuccessful suicide attempt. And then she calls in the cavalry—her aunt Gwen and her friend Anna Pigeon. BOAR ISLAND is a brilliant intertwining of past and present, of victims and killers, in a compelling novel that only Nevada Barr could write. NEVADA BARR is a novelist, actor, and artist best known for her New York Times bestselling, award-winning mystery series featuring Anna Pigeon. A former National Park Service Ranger, she currently lives with her husband in New Orleans.

& The West Bank Book Club meets Wednesday at 5 pm at the Algiers Regional Library to discuss their selection, which is usually literary fiction. Meetings are open to the public and are hosted by library staff. The June selection is Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert.

& Meet Colin Campbell and George from FREE DAYS WITH GEORGE: Learning Life’s Little Lessons from One Very Big Dog at 6 pm Wednesday at Octavia Books. After Colin Campbell went on a short business trip abroad, he returned home to discover his wife of many years had moved out. No explanations. No second chances. She was gone and wasn’t coming back. Shocked and heartbroken, Colin fell into a spiral of depression and loneliness.Soon after, a friend told Colin about a dog in need of rescue—a neglected 140-pound Newfoundland Landseer, a breed renowned for its friendly nature and remarkable swimming abilities. Colin adopted the traumatized dog, brought him home and named him George. Both man and dog were heartbroken and lacking trust, but together, they learned how to share a space, how to socialize and, most of all, how to overcome their bad experiences. At the same time, Colin began to relive childhood memories of his beloved grandfather, a decorated war hero and a man who gave him hope when he needed it most. FREE DAYS WITH GEORGE is an uplifting, inspirational story about the healing power of animals, and about leaving the past behind to embrace love, hope, and happiness.

& At 8 pm Wednesday Blood Jet Poetry Series at BJ’s in the Bywater presents two local poets: Lauren Burgess is an undergraduate at UNO, studying anthropology and creative writing. She is the recipient of the Ryan Chighizola Memorial Scholarship for poetry, and her writing has been featured in UNO’s literary magazine, Ellipsis. She writes about sex, gender, dead bodies, and disappointment, all with the hope of making readers at least a little uncomfortable; if not, she hasn’t done her job. Lewis Schmidt grew up in the strip-mines and pot fields of Appalachia. He attended Vanderbilt University and the University of New Orleans earning degrees in European History and Special Education. He is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who served in Jamaica. Lewis learned and developed his poetry attending the The Maple Leaf Readings hosted by Everett Maddox and later Nancy Harris, the Dragon’s Den, and 17 Poets at the Gold Mine Saloon. He took writing classes through the New Orleans School for the Imagination, and is influenced by Dada, Kerouac, Loy, Joyce and good Irish whiskey.

& The Banks Street Bar Poetry Open Mike features Guest Host Michael “Quess?” Moore at 6:30 pm. Moore is fresh off a stellar book release show at Cafe Istanbul. He’ll share a few pieces and MC the evening’s festivities and introduce poets from the sign-up list.

& Sunday at 2 pm Garden District Books presents Pamela Skjolsvik’s Death Becomes Us. Woody Allen once said, “I am not afraid of death. I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” For most of my life, that was my mantra. Almost everyone with a pulse fears death, but not everyone fears life. With crippling social anxiety, I feared both. But after an accidental call to a funeral home during my mid-life crisis trip to grad school, I reluctantly embarked on a journey to explore professions that dealt with death in order to come to terms with my own mortality. The result of this quirky trip is Death Becomes Us, a humorous memoir about what happens when a middle-aged, anxiety-filled, life-avoider attempts to investigate the last taboo of American culture. What started as an overzealous MFA thesis ended with my discovery that awareness of death, the one thing that collectively scares people the most is also the one thing that helped me to finally live. During my two years of research, I encountered an embalmer afraid of dying, a grieving EMT, an upbeat Hospice counselor, and a hopeful death row inmate. Emotionally I went from grieving at a funeral for my cigarettes to crying over a dead man’s body just minutes after his execution; I went from avoidance and fear to eventual immersion and acceptance. I realized the importance of looking at death to fully realize the finite nature of life.

& The Maple Leaf Poetry Series, the longest running reading and open mic in the south, meets Sundays at 3 pm at the Maple Leaf Bar at 3 pm. The June schedule has not been published as of Odd Words deadline, but the open mic is on whether there is a featured reader is not.

& Sunday at 6:30 pm Slam New Orleans presents an open mic and slam at the Ashe Cultural Center. Admission: $5.


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