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Burn’s ‘Sugar Skull’ a powerful read for adults

“Sugar Skull” by Charles Burns. Pantheon, 2014. $23. In this reality-bending third installment, we follow Dougy, a normal man dealing with his past, and Johnny, his alter ego. The story flashes back and forth between reality and a semidream state where things can get very unusual. Dougy, dealing with… Continue reading →

Acclaimed memoirist Jesmyn Ward signs on to teach at Tulane

Jesmyn Ward

Tulane creative writing professor and novelist Jesmyn Ward, who grew up in DeLisle, Mississippi, won both the National Book Award for Fiction (2011) and an Alex Award (2012) for her second novel, “Salvage the Bones,” centered on a community’s struggles before and immediately after Hurricane Katrina. Tonight she celebrates the release of her memoir (“Men We Reaped”) in… Continue reading →

A vision of betrayal ‘Perfidia’ takes readers to WWII era

“Perfidia” by James Ellroy. Alfred A. Knopf, 2014. $28.95. Los Angeles, Dec. 6-29, 1941: The eve and immediate aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor is the setting for James Ellroy’s new crime novel, “Perfidia.” The title reveals the theme: betrayal by all, in every conceivable manner. Ellroy’s… Continue reading →

Readers in danger of getting caught in ‘The Web’

“The Web” by Jonathan Kelleramn. Ballantine, 2014. $24. In Jonathan Kellerman’s thriller, “The Web,” you are taken on a roller-coaster ride of events that can only be compared with the television show “Lost.” “The Web” takes place on the island of Aruk, where Dr. Alex Delaware arrives for… Continue reading →

What would Jackson do? A New Orleans story

Advocate photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Morgan Molthrop, Tailored Tours, at the Benito Juarez statue with St. Louis Cenetery No. 1 in background Monday, November 25, 2013.

New Orleans writer Morgan Molthrop confesses freely that he loves his city passionately, enough so that he ended a successful finance career to return home in 2009 to a post-Katrina city. From his perspective as a fervent student of the city’s history, Molthrop considers the “new” New Orleans and how challenges of its past helped prepare the… Continue reading →

Life in hiding: Book explores Nazi fugitive

'Eichmann Before Jerusalem' by Bettina Stangneth

“Eichmann Before Jerusalem: The Unexamined Life of a Mass Murderer” by Bettina Stangneth, translated by Ruth Martin. Alfred A. Knopf, 2014. $35 Adolf Eichmann was the definition of Absolute Evil. As coordinator of the Nazi “Final Solution to the Jewish Question,” he was responsible for at least 6 million deaths.… Continue reading →

Book Festival Wordshops schedule set

The Louisiana Book Festival announced its WordShops 2014 schedule. Set for Oct. 31 at the State Library of Louisiana and the Capitol Park Museum, the WordShops feature local and national faculty teaching classes designed to emphasize the craft of writing. Among the offerings are “Finding the Story” by Jill McCorkle, $85 for the full… Continue reading →

New Orleans area book events, Sept. 7-23, 2014

Book events “ANDREW JACKSON’S PLAYBOOK: 15 Strategies for Success”: 6 p.m. Octavia Books, 513 Octavia St. Morgan Molthrop examines the connection between Jackson’s successful New Orleans campaign and the strategies in the wake of Katrina. (504) 899-7323.… Continue reading →

Audubon Insectarium bitten by beekeeping bug

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Remy Lazare inspects one of Audubon's beehives in New Orleans East Thursday, August 21, 2014.

Bees cannot be bossed by their keepers. “They’re going to do what they want,” said Remy Lazare, assistant curator of animal collections at the Audubon Nature Institute Butterfly Garden and Insectarium. Fortunately, these industrious insects have a strong work ethic. “Busy as a bee” is no empty phrase, Lazare said. “They’re going to keep working, no matter… Continue reading →

N.O. author, 27, spins tale of Revolutionary life

Sometimes, but rarely, the stars align for a new novelist and her work. That’s what’s happened for New Orleanian Katy Simpson Smith and her gorgeous tale of life in Revolutionary America, “The Story of Land and Sea.” Ten publishers vied for its rights at auction, she was the star of a spread in July Vogue and the book… Continue reading →

‘Marvel’-ous collection has comic book fans covered

“Marvel Comics: 75 years of Cover Art” by Alan Cowsil. DK Publishing, 2014. $50. This is a magnificent collection covering 75 years of Marvel comic book covers. The book is divided into four different chapters: The Golden Age (1938-1956); The Silver Age (1956-1970); The Bronze… Continue reading →

Story of Up Stairs Lounge killing an emotional read

“The Up Stairs Lounge Arson: Thirty-Two Deaths in a New Orleans Gay Bar June 24, 1973” by Clayton Delery-Edwards. Mc Farland & Company Inc., 2014. $40. On June 24, 1973, the fire at the Up Stairs Lounge was the deadliest fire in the history of New Orleans.… Continue reading →

Parents can identify with tale of ‘Worst Haircut’

'Eva and Sadie and the Worst Haircut Ever' by Jeff Cohen

Nearly every parent of a young child has had the experience at one time or another. Suddenly, the child stands there, unexpectedly transformed. Perhaps it’s the result of an outlandish make-up job using lipstick, eye shadow and rouge applied exuberantly to all the wrong surfaces. Or the transformation may be due to the concoction… Continue reading →

‘People of Morning Star’ reveals truths

“People of the Morning Star” by W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O’Neal Gear. Tor, 2014. $25.99. There’s a misconception that when Europeans came to the Americas, they came to a land of savages completely lacking in any kind of civilization. But nothing could be further from the truth. Native Americans built… Continue reading →

‘Hurricane Boy’ finds answers after Katrina

“Hurricane Boy” by Laura Roach Dragon. Pelican Publishing, 2014. $8.95. When we first meet Hollis Williams in the days before Hurricane Katrina hits New Orleans, he is living with his grandmother and siblings in the lower Ninth Ward. His mother is dead and his father long since abandoned them. While getting ready… Continue reading →

Book Events, July 20, 2014

Book events New Orleans Sunday, July 20 “My New Orleans” multi-author event: 2:30 p.m., Faulkner House Books, 214 Royal St. Hosted by the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society, several authors will be honored at a reception, including Laura Lane McNeal, “Dollbaby;” Amy Conner, “The Right Thing;” journalist Angela M. Carll, “Where Writers Wrote;” Michael… Continue reading →

‘Dollbaby’ recalls racial upheaval of 1960s New Orleans

'Dollbaby' by Laura McNeal

When author Laura Lane McNeal embarked on her first novel, she chose 1960s New Orleans as the setting. “I was born in 1958, and my earliest childhood memories were of that time,” the New Orleans native said. “But it wasn’t until I started doing background research for it that the whole flavor of the novel changed.”… Continue reading →

Dillard graduates surprise 'America's Got Talent' judges with opera

Laura Lane McNeal joins a group of authors signing books and chatting with the public, when the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society hosts a reception at Faulkner House Books Sunday, July 20. The “My New Orleans” event celebrates the wealth of local (and transplanted) writing talent in the city and introduces recent literary releases. The reception begins at 2:30… Continue reading →

‘Walk the French Quarter’ with easy guide, map

“Let’s Walk the French Quarter” by Kerri McCaffety. Pelican Publishing, 2014. $19.95. If you are looking for an easy-to-follow walking guide to the French Quarter for yourself or a friend coming to town, this is a great book! Filled with Kerri McCaffety’s photography, this book is divided into three sections — places, food… Continue reading →

Characters shine in emotional story

“Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands” by Chris Bohjalian. Doubleday, 2014. $25.95. Full disclosure: I’m a big Emily Dickinson fan, too. Not as much as Emily Shepard, the character around whom Chris Bohjalian’s latest book revolves. I don’t, for instance, adopt the names of Dickinson’s friends, after… Continue reading →

‘Diet Fix’ a straightforward guide to managing weight

“The Diet Fix. Why Diets Fail and How to Make Yours Work” by Yoni Freedhoff, M.D. Harmony Books, 2013. $25.99. This is not exactly a diet book. Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, family medicine practitioner and blogger at Weighty Matters, offers realistic ideas on how to manage what we consume… Continue reading →