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LSU book bazaar to be held March 5-7

Advocate staff photo by Beth Colvin -- Friends of the LSU Libraries Book Bazaar Chairwoman Anne West holds a German Bible from 1868.

Nestled in the palm of Anne West’s hand is a tiny Bible clothed in purple velvet and adorned with fantastically detailed brass inlay. It’s well over 100 years old, and the elegantly rendered text is in German. West can’t divulge much about the tiny book, other than to say it immigrated with a German family and… Continue reading →

Youth book “Passenger on the Pearl” a must-have for school libraries and history classrooms

'Passenger on the Pearl: The True Story of Emily Edmonson

“Passenger on the Pearl: The True Story of Emily Edmonson’s Flight from Slavery” by Winifred Conkling. Algonquin Young Readers, 2015. $17.95. This engaging non-fiction book follows the life of Emily Edmondson from her early years as an enslaved child through her harrowing experiences to escape bondage,… Continue reading →

Book events for March 5 - 8

Book events STORY TIME: 4 p.m., Amite Branch Library, 204 NE Central Ave. Story readings. READING FROM NOW HISTORY: One Home Front in World War II: 4 p.m., Baton Rouge Gallery, 1515 Dalrymple Drive. (225) 383-… Continue reading →

Books can make versatile and meaningful home-design elements

Associated Press photo by Beth J. Harpaz -- A solid wall of 4,000 paperback romance novels spelling out the word forever in an art installation at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark. The work by John Salvest was part of a major contemporary art show at the museum in late 2013. Salvest said there was an 'underlying sadness' to collecting the discarded books from thrift shops in an era when fewer people read physical books.

— Some people love the look of a bookshelf stuffed with books, and what that represents. Others see books as clutter, and wonder why anyone owns them in the digital era. But the “well-chosen book,” or an artfully displayed stack of books, “can be as powerful as any other design element,” said… Continue reading →

Ignatius comes home with ‘One Book’ read

Photo provided by LSU Press -- The One Book, One Community Kick-Off Event starts at 6 p.m. Saturday at  North Boulevard Town Square.This year's selection is 'A Confederacy of Dunces' by John Kennedy Toole.

Grab your cheese dip. The East Baton Rouge Parish Library’s One Book, One Community project’s selection is John Kennedy Toole’s “A Confederacy of Dunces,” a love letter to New Orleans that contains a famously sharp line about Baton Rouge. One Book, One Community kicks off Saturday with a New Orleans-style street party in Town Square,… Continue reading →

Festival of Words to host evening of oral history, poetry

Clemonce Heard

The Festival of Words Cultural Arts Collective is holding an evening of oral history and poetry at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The event will feature poet Clemonce Heard, of New Orleans, and siblings Allen Charles, Earline Duplechaine and Rose Marie Perry, who will share personal stories. The event takes place at the… Continue reading →

Book Review: Rocking with The Ramones

'Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life As A Ramone' by Marky Ramone

“Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life as a Ramone” by Marky Ramone with Rich Herschlag. Touchstone, 2015. $28. The Ramones are one of my favorite bands of all time, but I knew very little about Marky Ramone before reading this book. Marky Ramone might be the least well-known… Continue reading →

Book Events Calendar for Feb. 22, 2015

Best events LISTEN: The Words of Women: 2 p.m., The Red Shoes, 2303 Government St. A celebration of local female writers as they read from their recent work. Renée Bacher, Claire Boudreaux Bateman, Dorothy Early Davis, Laurie Lynn Drummond, Ava Leavell Haymon, Jacqueline Dee… Continue reading →

Our BR Native son’s ‘My Sunshine Away’ purposeful, intentional

'My Sunshine Away' by M.O. Walsh

“My Sunshine Away” by M.O. Walsh, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2015. $26.95 M.O. Walsh’s debut novel is a wonder. “My Sunshine Away” has something for everyone. Love, crime, angst, mystery, loss. There’s even a dog. And Baton Rouge. Lots and lots of Baton… Continue reading →

Collection of essays looks at Hurricane Katrina’s impact, before and after it hit

'Hurricane Katrina in Translatlantic Perspective' edited by Romain Huret and Randy J. Sparks

“Hurricane Katrina in Transatlantic Perspective” edited by Romain Huret and Randy J. Sparks. LSU Press, 2014. $29.95. Ten years ago, Hurricane Katrina pushed a wall of water into New Orleans that, in many ways, is still receding. LSU Press’ “Hurricane Katrina in Transatlantic Perspective,” edited by Romain Huret… Continue reading →

Characters leap from the pages of ‘Marauders’

“The Marauders” by Tom Cooper. Crown, 2015. $26. Tom Cooper has Louisiana dead to rights. Every aspect. Jeanette, the sleepy bayou town ravaged by man and nature alike, is rendered in Technicolor detail. Its residents, lifers and visitors alike, leap from the pages. The story rolls… Continue reading →

150 years after assassination, Lincoln still resonates

'Lincoln's Body: A Cultural History

“Lincoln’s Body: A Cultural History” by Richard Wightman Fox. W.W. Norton, 2015. $28.95. This year marks 150 years since Abraham Lincoln was killed by an assassin’s bullet as he took in a play, and there’s a slew of books to commemorate his life and legacy. This is among the best of them.… Continue reading →

‘Citizens Creek’ a true tale that offers a unique outlook

'Citizens Creek' by Lalita Tademy

“Citizens Creek” by Lalita Tademy. Atria Books, 2014. $26. Lalita Tademy has built her résumé by constructing period novels told in contemporary voices. In “Cane River,” Tademy delved into the French/black Creole fusion that produced a unique culture in the 1700s in central Louisiana.“Red River” was a sequel of sorts, but the… Continue reading →

Ex-literary agency aide makes nonfiction debut with ‘Salinger Year’

'My Salinger Year' by Joanna Rakoff

“My Salinger Year” by Joanna Rakoff. Knopf, 2014. $25.95. Joanna Rakoff’s nonfiction debut chronicles her year spent as the assistant to the head of a literary agency in Manhattan in the late 1990s. The agency’s most important client? J.D. Salinger, hence the title. A bright and eager 20-something,… Continue reading →

La. native’s first novel has little bit of everything

'The Saints of Lost Things

“The Saints of Lost Things: A Novel” by C.H. Lawler. CreateSpace, 2014. $19.99. Love blooms as Hurricane Betsy sloshed ashore in Louisiana in 1965, and Louisiana native C.H. Lawler’s first novel takes Sammy Teague and Betsy Duplechain through a gauntlet of history, of class, of race and even a little bit of the… Continue reading →

Edie Spence dives into darkness in series finale

“Bloodshifted” by Cassie Alexander. St. Martin’s, 2014. $7.99. Edie Spence is back and is going somewhere she never dreamed she would — straight into vampire territory. In order to save her baby and herself, Edie travels down into the catacombs of a vampire nightclub. She made a deal with a vampire… Continue reading →

‘Fire on the Bayou’ more than just a romance novel

'Fire on the Bayou' by M.A. Harper

“Fire on the Bayou” by M.A. Harper. booksBnimble, 2014. $2.99. Don’t let the cover of the book fool you; New Orleans author M.A. Harper’s newest novel, “Fire on the Bayou,” is a romantic story, but it is much more than a traditional bodice-ripper romance. A prequel to… Continue reading →

Josephine Bonaparte essential in Napoleon rise

'Ambition and Desire: The Dangerous Life of Josephine Bonaparte

“Ambition and Desire: The Dangerous Life of Josephine Bonaparte” by Kate Williams. Ballentine, 2014. $30. Napoleon and Josephine’s tangled, messy, power-rich romance has long been the stuff of soap operas. Kate Williams sharpens Josephine into a crafty political player, a master manipulator as essential to Napoleon’s… Continue reading →

Southern baseball coach Roger Cador reveals a few things you might not know about him in new book ‘Against All Odds’

Advocate staff photo by JOHN OUBRE -- Southern coach Roger Cador

To college baseball fans, coach Roger Cador’s success at Southern University is well known. But not Cador himself. Cador’s just-published autobiography should change that. “Against All Odds,” which is available at, does more than detail Cador’s 30 years at the helm of Jaguar baseball, producing 14 Southwestern Athletic Conference championships and eight… Continue reading →

Book Events, Dec. 28, 2014

Book events SCIENCE FICTION BOOK CLUB: 6 p.m., Main Library, 7711 Goodwood Blvd. Contact Lynette Lee at (225) 231-3733. STORY TIME: 7 p.m., Barnes & Noble, 2590 CitiPlace Court. Join us as we read “Once Upon an Alphabet” by… Continue reading →

Comics how-to, family drama, past and future of jazz

?Words for Pictures: The Art and Business of Writing Comics and Graphic Novels? by Brian Michael Bendis

“Words for Pictures: The Art and Business of Writing Comics and Graphic Novels” by Brian Michael Bendis. Watson-Guptill, 2014. $24.99. Writers, do you want to break into the comic book industry? “Words for Pictures” can help you. Written by Brian Michael Bendis, one of Marvel’s best selling writers,… Continue reading →

BR lawyer Rubin debuts his first novel, ‘Cottoncrest Curse’

Baton Rouge attorney Michael Rubin's debut novel, 'The Cottoncrest Curse'

Lawyer, adjunct law professor, nationally known legal ethicist, humorist, author, musician — those are just a few of the adjectives that describe Michael Rubin, managing partner at McGlinchey Stafford. “The most important, though, are husband, father and grandfather,” says the 64-year-old, smiling. It’s his role as author that’s put him in the… Continue reading →

Manning’s ‘Batman’ details crusader’s development

'Batman: A Visual History' by Matthew K. Manning

“Batman: A Visual History” by Matthew K. Manning. DK Publishing, 2014. $50. Batman fans, rejoice! The visual history of the caped crusader is here! A foreword by Frank Miller, “The Dark Knight Returns,” is a fitting opening for a book that takes you from Batman’s humble beginning… Continue reading →

Book Events for Dec. 14, 2014

Book events HONEYKY HANUKAH STORYTIME: 11 a.m., Barnes & Noble Perkins Rowe, 10156 Perkins Rowe, Suite 150. A fun-filled story celebrating Hanukah with an accompanying CD. ANNUAL HOLIDAY FAMILY STORYTIME: 7 p.m., Jones Creek Regional Library, 6222 Jones Creek Road. Christmas books, stories songs… Continue reading →

Book examines how Russell Long blazed his own ‘Life in Politics’

'Russell Long: A Life in Politics' by Michael Martin

“Russell Long: A Life in Politics” by Michael S. Martin. University Press of Mississippi, 2014. $35. This is a thoroughly researched book that is a great combination of political history and biography of the son of Huey P. Long. Born into Louisiana’s most influential political family,… Continue reading →

Book Events for Dec. 7, 2014

Book events FICTION WRITERS WORKSHOP: 7 p.m. Greenwell Springs Regional Library, 11300 Greenwell Springs Road. Limited to 15. Call to register. (225) 274-4440. HISTORICAL SOCIETY BOOK CLUB: 7 p.m., Jones Creek Regional Branch, 6222 Jones Creek Road. “When Paris Went Dark:… Continue reading →

Cold realities: ‘Ice Garden’ offers story of damaged woman through daughter’s voice

'The Ice Garden' by Moira Crane

“The Ice Garden” by Moira Crone. Carolina Wren Press, 2014. $18.95. Fayton is the kind of sleepy little Carolina town where not much seems to happen. For 10-year-old Claire, the biggest thing to ever occur in her young life is the arrival of her baby sister, Sweetie. When… Continue reading →

‘Great Pirate Christmas Battle’ fun tale for holiday

'The Great Pirate Christmas Battle' by Michael G. Lewis

“The Great Pirate Christmas Battle” by Michael G. Lewis. Pelican Publishing, 2014. $16.99. Cap’n McNasty and his crew, bored with stealing gold and other treasures, decide one night to steal Christmas presents from sleeping children. However, things get interesting when they get an unexpected surprise from… Continue reading →

‘Down the Crossroads’ tells how ’66 march led to voting power

?Down to the Crossroads. Civil Rights, Black Power and the Meredith March Against Fear? by Aram Goudsouzian

“Down to the Crossroads. Civil Rights, Black Power and the Meredith March Against Fear” by Aram Goudsouzian. Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux Publishers, 2014. $30. In 1962. James Meredith became the first African-American to register at the University of Mississippi. Four years later, he set out to march from Memphis, Tennessee,… Continue reading →

‘Flings’ shares short stories of romance

“Flings: Stories” by Justin Taylor. Harper Collins, 2014. $23.99. Justin Taylor’s book, “Flings,” is a collection of short stories that center on the many types of relationships that we have during our lives. Taylor focuses primarily on romantic stories and the ways they define and change us over time.… Continue reading →

Not always pretty ‘Ugly Renaissance’ shows a different side

?The Ugly Renaissance: Sex, Greed, Violence and Depravity in an Age of Beauty? by Alexander Lee

“The Ugly Renaissance: Sex, Greed, Violence and Depravity in an Age of Beauty” by Alexander Lee. Doubleday, 2014. $30. The Italian Renaissance is generally regarded as “a time in which heroically talented artists revived the culture of antiquity to create both cities and societies that were themselves works of art.”… Continue reading →

‘Empire of Sin’ a masterful story set in Storyville

“Empire of Sin: A Story of Sex, Jazz, Murder and the Battle for Modern New Orleans” by Gary Krist. Crown, 2014. $26. New Orleans history is rich ground for authors. Not only is it lengthy, but there’s things like Storyville, jazz and lurid… Continue reading →

Stripping away the myth: Author shows real ‘Killer’ Jerry Lee Lewis

'Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story

Jerry Lee Lewis picked up the nickname Killer as a boy, sent to the principal’s office for fighting his teacher. He spent a lifetime more or less living up to the name, as Rick Bragg shows in “Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story.” The legends of violence around the rockin’ piano man from Concordia Parish aren’t… Continue reading →

Reader becomes judge of ‘Ghostly Evidence’

'Ghostly Evidence' by Kelly Milner Halls

“Ghostly Evidence: Exploring the Paranormal” by Kelly Milner Halls. Millbrook, 2014. $20.95. Do you know the definition of the word ghost? What is a shadow figure, a spirit orb or a ghostly mist? How about a residual image? In “Ghostly Evidence,” Halls tells us the difference… Continue reading →

New Orleans author leads readers on ‘The Last Great Walk’

Photo provided by Wayne Curtis --

Author Wayne Curtis takes a seat, facing me with his back to the tall windows of his Uptown home. I can see outside, where I note a steady stream of walkers on the street. Curtis has returned a few days earlier from his annual trip to Maine, where he spends four months “at the edge of nowhere”… Continue reading →

N.O. voices captured well in characters’ stories

'You Don't Know Me' by James Nolan

“You Don’t Know Me: New & Selected Stories” by James Nolan. University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press, 2014. $20. Anyone who is familiar with New Orleans knows it is home to a population that is soulful, proud, creative and often quirky, to say the least. No… Continue reading →

Take rhyme journey with ‘New Orleans Mother Goose’

New Orleans Mother Goose

“New Orleans Mother Goose” by Ryan Adam. Pelican Publishing, 2014. $17.99. Marita’s Gentry’s gorgeous illustrations make New Orleans jump off the pages in this fun take on various New Orleans themed-nursery rhymes. Ryan Adam takes readers on journeys throughout New Orleans and Louisiana with each rhyme… Continue reading →

‘No Surrender’ for author Hiaasen, or for hero Skink

It all started when a writer needed a character who was a hermit. “I was writing about murder and corruption on the professional bass fishing circuit,” said bestselling novelist Carl Hiaasen. “It was territory I pretty much had to myself in the literary world.” And so he created Skink, who first appeared… Continue reading →

Book sure to bring smiles to children’s faces

Spaghetti Smiles

“Spaghetti Smiles” by Margo Sorenson. Pelican Publishing, 2014. $16.99. Upon learning that his Uncle Rocco’s Italian restaurant may have to close unless he finds another tenant to move in next door, Jake sets about the neighborhood to help save the restaurant and in the process find the perfect solution… Continue reading →

Alan Furst bests himself in depiction of exiled Spaniard

“Midnight in Europe” by Alan Furst. Random House, 2014. $27. Midnight, the Devil’s hour, Europe in 1938: Franco and the Nationalists near victory in the Spanish Civil War, Hitler absorbs Austria, Chamberlain and Daladier abandon Czechoslovakia at Munich. Darkness leads only to pitch black; war will surely come in… Continue reading →

Ex-Mayor Schiro’s tale sheds light on modern N.O.

“Mayor Victor H. Schiro: New Orleans in Transition 1961-1970” by Edward F. Hass. University of Mississippi Press, 2014. $35. Edward F. Haas brings over a decade’s worth of research to his study of former New Orleans Mayor Victor H. Schiro. The book traces Schiro’s early adult life… Continue reading →

Retired LSU professor recounts her days at historic Memphis record company

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Barbara Barnes Sims, who worked at Sun Records in the late 1950s, recounts her years at the Memphis hit maker in her book 'The Next Elvis:Searching for Stardom at Sun Records.'

Sun Records left the music world all shook up. During the mid to late 1950s, the Memphis record label released the early recordings of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison and Charlie Rich. Local author Barbara Barnes Sims was there. LSU Press published her account of the record company, “The Next Elvis:… Continue reading →