Unreasonable Book on French history unconvincing

“The Embrace of Unreason: France, 1914-1940” by Frederick Brown. Alfred A. Knopf, 2014. $28.95 In “The Embrace of Unreason,” Frederick Brown contends that France and the French lost their way in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, succumbing to the siren song of irrational ideologies, philosophies … Continue reading →

Images capture uniqueness of N.O.

“An Artist’s Vision of New Orleans. The Paintings of Alan Flattmann” by John R. Kemp. Pelican Publishing Co., 2014. $40. Renowned pastel artist and native New Orleanian Alan Flattman’s images capture life around New Orleans. With text written by John R. Kemp, they take us … Continue reading →

‘Sticks and Stones’ sends message to bullies

“Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy” by Emily Bazelon. Random House, 2014. $16. Bullying is one of the buzzwords in schools today, but it’s a word that is quite difficult to define. And it’s often difficult to discover until it’s … Continue reading →

Thrilling history of American flight

“The Aviators: Eddie Rickenbacker, Jimmy Doolittle, Charles Lindbergh and the Epic Age of Flight” by Winston Groom. National Geographic, 2013. $30. That the imagination that conceived “Forrest Gump” could conjure up fresh ways to tell stories of American history is astonishing. A … Continue reading →

‘Children of Paradise’ takes unpredictable jungle ride

“Children of Paradise” by Fred D’Aguiar. Harper, 2014. $25.99. Jim Jones, the preacher who lead his flock to a grape-tinged death in the jugles of Guyana, left a deep scar in that country. It’s easy to see the jagged edges in Fred D’Aguiar’s novel “Children of Paradise” about a nameless, Elvis-obsessed … Continue reading →

‘Ender’s Game’ latest pick on library’s list

Mary Stein knew this year’s reading choice for “One Book One Community” might disappoint some people. But “Ender’s Game,” she insists, isn’t just brain candy. “For those who say, ‘Oh, I don’t read science fiction, I don’t like shoot-’em-ups in space,’ this is not a book about shooting them up in space,” says Stein, assistant director of … Continue reading →

‘Great Authors’ fundraiser set

Manhein

LSU professor Mary H. Manhein, known as “The Bone Lady,” will be the speaker at the seventh annual “An Evening with Great Authors” fundraiser at 6 p.m. Thursday. The event, hosted by Adult Literacy Advocates of Greater Baton Rouge with the LSU Chapter of Phi Kappa Phi, will be held at LSU’s Energy, Coast & Environment Building … Continue reading →

‘Yankee Dutchmen’ fascinating

“Yankee Dutchmen Under Fire: Civil War Letters from the 82nd Illinois Infantry,” translated and edited by Joseph R. Reinhart. Kent State, 2013. $45. Unbeknownst to many of us, a fair amount of Civil War soldiers, on both sides, were foreign-born. On … Continue reading →

Friends with benefits — and lots of influence

“Friendfluence” by Carlin Flora. Doubleday, 2013. $25.95. In “Friendfluence,” Carlin Flora offers up a new way to think not just of our friends but of ourselves. This isn’t exactly a self-help book, but more of a “why are my friends my friends” book. From early in … Continue reading →

Painful ordeal

“Exoskeleton” by Shane Stadler. Dark Hall Press, 2012. $2.99 for Kindle. Most horror dealing with torture is related from the perspective of the torturer, shedding light on why he or she enjoys doing to others what to most of us would be repugnant while putting the reader in … Continue reading →

‘Murder in Pigalle’ a thriller

“Murder in Pigalle” by Cara Black. Soho Press, 2014. $27.95. “Murder in Pigalle” is Cara Black’s 14th novel about Paris private investigator Aimée Leduc, who lives in a tiny 17th-century flat on the Ile-Saint Louis, dotes over a bichon frise named Miles Davis, paints her toenails with neon-green lacquer, dresses … Continue reading →

Review: ‘Influx’ is thought-provoking novel

Imagine a world where scientific breakthroughs are kept under lock and key. This is the terrifying scenario in Daniel Suarez’s innovative and thought-provoking new novel, “Influx.” Physicist Jon Grady and his team create a device that can reflect gravity. This device could greatly benefit transportation, space and the construction industry. Grady hopes to win the Nobel Prize, … Continue reading →

N.O. author works on ‘Secrets of the Vatican’

Photo provided by Frontline -- 'Secrets of the Vatican,' a 'Frontline' segment airing Tuesday, will explore the collapse of Benedict XVI's papacy.

New Orleans author and journalist Jason Berry worked in front of and behind the camera for PBS’ “Frontline” special, “Secrets of the Vatican.” The 90-minute segment airs at 8 p.m. Tuesday on WLPB, Channel 27 (cable Channel 12 in Baton Rouge and Lafayette) and WYES, Channel 12 (cable Channel 12 in New Orleans). The program … Continue reading →

SLU offers courses on writing novels

Southeastern Louisiana University is offering two five-week courses on novel writing at the St. Tammany Center in Mandeville. Taught by author Robin Wells, the first course, offered March 11 through April 8, will cover the basics of fiction writing, including story structure, plotting, character development, dialogue, description and point of view. The second course … Continue reading →

‘Rule of Clan’ examines societies’ social structures

“The Rule of the Clan” by Mark S. Weiner. Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2013. $27 The rule of the clan: what an ancient form of social organization reveals about the future of individual freedom examines the history of social structures in societies throughout civilization. Clans, whether family groups, tribes, clubs … Continue reading →

Rheta Grimsely Johnson headed to La. to meet her fans

Photo provided by New South Books -- Rheta Grimsley Johnson

Every weekend, south Louisiana readers can visit with Rheta Grimsley Johnson through her syndicated column, a weekly feature of The Sunday Advocate’s editorial page. On Feb. 22, fans will get to see Johnson in person when she appears at “A Gathering of Readers and Writers” in St. Francisville. The popular annual symposium is sponsored by Art for … Continue reading →

Not all sweet in La.

“Queen Sugar” by Natalie Baszile. Penguin, 2014. $27.95. Like with just about any book set in Louisiana, the state becomes as much as a character as any walking, breathing thing the author creates. In Natalie Baszile’s debut novel, Saint Josephine Parish may be fictional, but the … Continue reading →

Book casts times of the day in different light

“Dawn to Dark Photographs: The Magic of Light” from The National Geographic Society. National Geographic, 2013. $40 The National Geographic Society’s latest table book is a beautiful collection of photographs of how light impacts the subject matter. There are hundreds of photographs divided into times during the day: … Continue reading →

James Meredith, ‘Help’ author set for Natchez literary event

James Meredith, left, who integrated the University of Mississippi when he was admitted to the university on Oct. 1, 1962, discusses the events on that day as current Chancellor Robert Khayat looks on at the Lyceum building on campus Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2002, in University, Miss. (AP Photo/Oxford Eagle, Bruce Newman)       Keyword College Desegregation History

Authors from around the South will gather Feb. 20-23 for the Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration in Natchez, Miss. This year’s theme is “60 Years and Counting: Voices of the Civil Rights Movement.” Writers slated to attend include James Meredith, author of “A Mission from God,” known for integrating the University of Mississippi; Kathryn … Continue reading →

N.O. events celebrate Tennessee Williams

For five days in March, the city Tennessee Williams adopted as his own will celebrate the iconic playwright and author, as well as New Orleans’ own literary tradition. The 28th annual Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival is scheduled for March 19-23 in the French Quarter and will include two days of classes for writers and readers, … Continue reading →

Infamous affair

“An Officer and a Spy” by Robert Harris. Alfred A. Knopf, 2014. $27.95 In 1894, France’s military authorities accused Capt. Alfred Dreyfus of treason, used irregular means to convict him by court-martial and sentenced him to imprisonment for life on Devil’s Island, a barren rock off the penal … Continue reading →

Get the ‘Sickening’ truths behind air travel

“Full Upright and Locked Position: Not So Comfortable Truths about Air Travel Today” by Mark Gerchick. W.W. Norton & Co., 2013. $24.95. Mark Gerchick, an aviation consultant and former legal counsel to the Federal Aviation Administration, has written an easy-to-read guide for the airline traveler and created a great overview of how … Continue reading →

Book Events for Jan. 26, 2014

BOOK EVENTS Baton Rouge Sunday, Jan. 26 “Unafraid to Dream” Poetry Reading and Book Signing: 3 p.m., Delmont Gardens Branch Library, 3351 Lorraine St. Author of “Unafraid to Dream: Motivational Poems,” Sylvia Chatman will present a selection of motivational poems. (225) 354-7050. Metairie Monday, Jan. 27 Fiction Writer’s Group-Critique Session: … Continue reading →

Ceremony honors Gaines Award winner

Ceremonies for the Baton Rouge Area Foundation’s seventh annual Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence will take place at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Manship Theatre at the Shaw Center for the Performing Arts. This year’s winner is author Attica Locke for her work “The Cutting Season.” Published by Dennis Lehane Books, “The Cutting Season” … Continue reading →

State Library presents ‘The Baby Dolls’ discussion

In celebration of Black History Month, the Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana is hosting author Kim Marie Vaz for a discussion of “The ‘Baby Dolls’: Breaking the Race and Gender Barriers of the New Orleans Mardi Gras Tradition.” The presentation will take place at noon Feb. 6 at the State … Continue reading →

Atypical ‘Ghost Stories’ from Old New Orleans

“Ghost Stories of Old New Orleans” by Jeanne deLavigne. LSU Press, 2013. $22.50 Originally published in 1946, this re-printing of New Orleans native Jeanne deLavigne’s book is a fascinating compilation of New Orleans ghost stories taken from newspaper accounts and personal interviews. Her unique perspective provides, intimate, and creepy details of … Continue reading →

Book Events for Jan. 12, 2014

Book events Baton Rouge Sunday, Jan. 12 “Unafraid to Dream” Poetry Reading and Book Signing: 3 p.m., Delmont Gardens Branch Library, 3351 Lorraine St. Author of “Unafraid to Dream: Motivational Poems,” Sylvia Chatman will present a selection of poems from her book. (225) 354-7050. Denham Springs Saturday, Jan. 18 How … Continue reading →

Review: ‘Goldfinch’ best novel in years

“The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt. Little, Brown and Co., 2013. $30 In Donna Tartt’s new novel, a 13-year-old boy survives a terrorist bomb at the Metropolitan Museum that kills his mother as they are viewing an exhibition of Flemish paintings. In the destruction and confusion, he … Continue reading →

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