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Terry McMillan comes back in a big way with 'I Almost Forgot About You'

“I Almost Forgot About You” by Terry McMillan, Crown Publishing, $27, 355 pages, hardcover While it may seem like Terry McMillan’s absence of new work lasted a long time, there is excellent news. She’s back. Yes, the novelist who wrote big sellers such as “Waiting to Exhale” and “How Stella Got… Continue reading →

Book review: ‘Stiletto’ imaginative, fun romp through London

“Stiletto” by Daniel O’Malley, Hachette Book Group, $26, 592 pages, hardcover Merging two factions that have been enemies for centuries isn’t the easiest task in the world, I imagine. But when you add in supernatural elements, it becomes an even trickier business. Luckily, it happens to… Continue reading →

Cast of characters highlight of early 1900s-era novel

“The Summer Before the War” by Helen Simonson, Random House, $28, 496 pages, hardcover My overall feeling about this book is frustration — not because of the author but because of the time period. Whenever I muse about how much easier my life would be if I was a lady… Continue reading →

‘Lab Girl’ weaves memoir with botany

“Lab Girl” by Hope Jahren, Knopf , $26.95, 304 pages, hardcover “Lab Girl,” by geobiologist and three-time Fulbright Award recipient Hope Jahren, is part memoir, part botany lesson. Jahren interweaves personal and professional tales with fascinating stories and facts about plant life that are thoroughly engaging. Her passion,… Continue reading →

Young readers swept along on ‘Ollie’s Odyssey’

“Ollie’s Odyssey” by William Joyce, 304 pages, $17.99, hardcover The newest from Shreveport author Joyce is a cool adventure story about a stuffed bunny named Ollie who gets separated from his owner, Billy, a little boy who is loved very much by Ollie. Toys are alive in this book, and… Continue reading →

‘A Few of the Girls’ is for the heart, mind

“A Few of the Girls” by Maeve Binchy, Alfred A. Knopf, $26.95, 319 pages, hardcover Gone are the days that we can wait for the next novel by Maeve Binchy. She died in 2012. Her agent, Christine Green, managed to put together… Continue reading →

Standing out of the crowd: Zachary senior reaches Poetry Out Loud finals

Photo provided by the National Endowment for the Arts -- Poet Kyla Bates, of Zachary, says, 'When you’re performing, you don’t look for the crowd. You look for the moment.'

Zachary High School senior Kyla Bates, 18, reached the finals of the 2016 Poetry Out Loud national recitation competition last week at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. It was Bates’ second consecutive time to reach the national competition but her first time in the finals. Akhei Togun, a senior at Tallwood High School in… Continue reading →

‘My Mother’s House’ warm tale without all the anger

“My Mother’s House” by David Armand, Texas Review Press, $18.95, 192 pages, paperback Author of the recent memoir, “My Mother’s House,” David Armand has worn many literary hats in his mere 36 years. He’s published three novels, a collection of poems and various short stories and essays around the country.… Continue reading →

La. writer captures Best Mystery Award

Louisiana mystery author BJ Bourg has won the 2016 Best Mystery Award from The Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition. Bourg, who lives in Mathews, received the honor for his debut novel, “James 516.” The annual EPIC eBook Awards is an international competition and has been recognizing excellence in e-book publishing since 2000. Bourg’s Louisiana-set mystery… Continue reading →

Brontë biography as compelling as author’s own tales

“Charlotte Brontë: A Fiery Heart” by Claire Harman, Knopf, $30, 480 pages, hardcover April marks the bicentennial of Charlotte Brontë’s birth, and Claire Harman’s new biography offers a compelling look at the famed novelist. One of six children of a Methodist minister and his wife,… Continue reading →

Mütter inspired a revolution in medicine

“Dr. Mütter’s Marvels” by Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz, Gotham, 371 pages, h ardcover What comes to mind when you think of having surgery? Perhaps a kindly doctor sitting down to explain your condition and the surgery. A sterile operating room, and likely a mask to deliver anesthesia. And being… Continue reading →

Characters take readers through culture

"Kitchens of the Great Midwest" by J. Ryan Stradal

“Kitchens of the Great Midwest” by J. Ryan Stradal. Viking, 2015. $25 Before I start this review, you should know: I love food. I love making it, eating it, reading about it … you get the idea. I pretty much picked up “Kitchens of the Great Midwest” for… Continue reading →

Review: ‘Pretty Girls’ a not-so-pretty thriller

“Pretty Girls” by Karin Slaughter, William Morrow, 394 pages, $29.99 hardcover Yikes. This is not a book for the faint of heart. It is rife with graphic descriptions of violence, torture and sexual sadism. However, I felt the author handled the material with respect, and… Continue reading →

Strong heroine, historical tidbits make for fun read

‘Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante’ by Susan Elia MacNeal, Bantam Dell/Random House, $15, paperback “Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante” is the fifth book in Susan Elia MacNeal’s series about Maggie Hope, a special agent for England. In this story, she travels with Winston Churchill across the pond as he negotiates wartime business with Franklin… Continue reading →

‘Fallen Land’ has something of a ‘Cold Mountain’ feel

“Fallen Land” by Taylor Brown, Macmillan, 288 pages, $25.99, hardcover During the last year of the Civil War, Callum and Ava, a young teenage couple brought together under unusual and dire circumstances, are running from a group of nefarious bounty hunters through the land of Sherman’s March in its aftermath.… Continue reading →

Nyad’s book proves you’re never too old

“Find a Way” by Diana Nyad, Alfred A Knopf, 308 pages, 26.95, hardcover Many people 60 or older are doing things not attempted by past generations. Meds, exercise and a new attitude are helping to accomplish no small feats. Ever thought about swimming from Cuba to Florida? “Find A… Continue reading →

First-time novelist shows promise tackling new genre

“The Improbability of Love” by Hannah Rothschild, Alfred A. Knopf, $27.95, hardcover First-time novel writing takes a herculean effort in order to be successful. Many novelists bomb on their first try. Hannah Rothschild’s book is better than most ambitiously written inceptional novels, but it still shows signs that it is a first-time… Continue reading →

‘High Mountains’ waits until last of 3 stories to hit high point

“The High Mountains of Portugal” by Yann Martel, Random House, 352 pages, $27, hardcover This book is confounding, and I cannot figure out if I should recommend it or not. I love Yann Martel’s writing — it’s precise and beautiful; almost meditative. He chooses his words carefully and his… Continue reading →

Take ‘short’ break from your cleaning

“A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories” by Lucia Berlin, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 432 pages, $26, hardcover I’ve only recently become a reader of short stories. In our hectic lives, reading for pleasure sometimes only comes in short bursts of time, but I’ve discovered that a short… Continue reading →

Review: Sadness, secrets threaten college romance in ‘Butterfly Ginger’

“Butterfly Ginger” by Stephanie Fournet , Blue Tulip Publishing, $12.59, paperback Blithe Barnes and Nate Bradley are college sweethearts living in Lafayette’s Saint Street area, like Stephanie Fournet’s characters in her two previously published romance novels. And in “Butterfly Ginger,” as with Fournet’s other characters, Blithe and Nate’s story is tied to college life, some of the city’s most… Continue reading →

calendar.theadvocate.com

Book events BOOK CLUB: 4:30 p.m., EBR Fairwood Branch Library, 12910 Old Hammond Highway. The FAB (Fairwood Awesome Bookworms) Club is setting out to solve “The Mystery in Venice” by Geronimo Stilton, playing bocce ball, singing silly Italian songs and matching pictures of food and… Continue reading →

New Orleans’ Wendell Pierce lands Christopher Award

Wendell Pierce

New Orleans native, author and actor Wendell Pierce has won a Christopher Award for his book, “The Wind in the Reeds.” “The book is about the family values and community atmosphere in which Pierce was raised in Pontchartrain Park, and his efforts to rebuild that community after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina,” a news release… Continue reading →

Moses publishes book on Civil War ancestor

Gerald Moses, former reporter and editor for The Advocate and State-Times, has edited “Civil War Treasures from the Attic,” a collection of letters written by Webster W. Moses, his great-grandfather, who served with the Seventh Kansas Cavalry — the Jayhawkers — during the four years of the Civil War. It is a graphic account of the Civil… Continue reading →

Ex-Louisiana resident, novelist makes Parade ‘earn’ list

Photo by Kim Jew -- Samantha Ann King

Sandwiched between New York news anchor Anderson Cooper, 48, and his $11 million, and Bryan Pascuzzi, 45, a parole and probation investigator from Bel Air, Maryland, who made $61,130, is Samantha Ann King’s entry: romance novelist, $34,400. King, a former Baker resident, has made Parade magazine’s annual “What People Earn” report. The first of the two-part series… Continue reading →

Foundation accepting entries for Ernest Gaines literary award

Photo provided by University of Louisiana at Lafayette -- Earnest Gaines

The Baton Rouge Area Foundation is accepting entries for the 10th annual Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence, which includes a $10,000 cash prize. Submissions deadline is Aug. 15. Sponsored by foundation donors, the Gaines Award honors outstanding literary work from rising African-American authors while recognizing Louisiana native Gaines’ contribution to the literary world.… Continue reading →

Book review: Newest Sherlock Holmes installment returns to strength

“The Murder of Mary Russell” by Laurie R. King, Bantam, 384 pages, $28, hardcover “The Murder of Mary Russell” is the latest installment of Laurie R. King’s Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series. After several books set in foreign lands, most recently Japan, Russell and Holmes are back… Continue reading →

Delta Authors On Tour to make stop in Baton Rouge

Delta Authors On Tour stops in Baton Rouge on Saturday, April 16. The event begins at 11 a.m. at the Delta Alumna Chapter house, 926 Harding Blvd. Authors scheduled to appear include Tawana Butler, Dr. Chandra Gill, Stephanie Perry Moore and Victoria Christopher Murphy. In addition to a chance to meet the authors, there will… Continue reading →

Southeastern library celebrates designation

Southeastern Louisiana University’s Sims Memorial Library in Hammond will celebrate its 50th anniversary as a Federal Depository Library at 1 p.m. Wednesday. The celebration will take place in the library’s first-floor lobby. Door prizes will be given, and light refreshments will be served. In January of 1966, Congressman James H. Morrison sponsored the library’s designation as… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge-area book events for April 3, 2016

Book events CLOSED: River Center Branch Library, 120 St. Louis St. Closed for Fest-for-All. (225) 389-4967. BOOK DISCUSSION: 6 p.m., EBR Central Branch Library, 11260 Joor Road. A discussion of “Kingfish: The Reign of Huey P. Long” by Richard D.… Continue reading →

Louisiana workshop‘s ‘Little Mouse Santi’ honored

J.K. Rowling

Louisiana-based children’s workshop Confetti Park’s first publication, “The Little Mouse Santi,” was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2015. The book is written by New Orleans author David Eugene Ray. It’s a children’s book about a mouse who wants to be a cat. The book was illustrated by Santiago Germano of Uruguay, whose body of work… Continue reading →

Variety of mediums featured in Southern Review issue

The Southern Review’s winter volume mixes poetry, fiction, essays and art. Fiction from the LSU publication includes “Solee,” a domestic drama set in a small Korean town, from first-time contributor Crystal Hana Kim. A small Virginia community provides the backdrop for longtime contributor R.T. Smith’s “Just between Us,” which explores the joys — and many… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge area book events for Jan. 3, 2016

shopaholic

Book events BOOK CLUB: 10:30 a.m. to noon, EBR Pride-Chaneyville Branch Library, 13600 Pride-Port Hudson Road. Like it or Not Book Club will be discussing “Rivers” by Michael Farris Smith. BOOK CLUB: 6-7:30 p.m., Lafatte Public… Continue reading →

SLU professor publishes short stories collection

Photo provided by SLU Public Information Office -- Norman German

Southeastern Louisiana University English Professor Norman German has published a new collection of short stories. “Dead Dog Lying,” a series of stories placed along the Interstate 10 corridor from New Orleans to Texas, shines a light on society’s misfits and is largely based on events the author has experienced, dreamed or witnessed over his life. Many… Continue reading →

Turn the Tide: Resilience stressed for girls to succeed

Photo provided by Oxford University Press"Swimming Upstream: Parenting Girls for Resilience in a Toxic Culture" is written by LSU professor Laura Choate.

Growing up has always been tough, but for girls today, it’s getting even harder, says author and counselor Laura Choate. The pressure to be sexy, smart and popular is hurting modern girls, says the LSU professor in her new book, “Swimming Upstream: Parenting Girls for Resilience in a Toxic Culture.” “There really are a lot… Continue reading →