New Orleans has not dulled my love of reading. My to-be-read pile is an entire bookcase. If I had to organize my to-be-read books into categories, I might have the following:

  • Books I’ve Carted Around for Several States
  • Authors I Keep Hearing About
  • Authors I’ve Met on Twitter
  • Books I Should Read
  • Books I Want to Read
  • Wish I Could Absorb via Osmosis
  • All Things New Orleans (and Louisiana).
I never collected books about Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Michigan, or New Hampshire (I have lived in all these states at one time or another), but I cannot stop buying books with New Orleans at the hub. Maybe I think if I read enough, someone will let me into the club. Spending time at the Jazz Fest Book Tent, where area booksellers and other volunteers worked as one to raise money for the Children’s Book Bank, I was overwhelmed by the volume of books about this place. I wanted to shoo everyone out of the tent, so I could start reading. A booklover’s work is never done . . .


Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt:  I should have read this book a long time ago–I picked up my used copy about two years ago at Givens in Lynchburg, VA. Thus, I presented it to the book club members at Lambeth House, and someone selected it for our May read. Though the book about McCourt’s survival of his childhood in Ireland is far from uplifting, I laughed about the constant threats of violence from the adults in this memoir. Not because I think violence is funny. No, I could hear my Irish grandmother saying, “Did you give him a good smash?” I, in fact, laughed a good deal at my own Irish grandmother’s wake because my family cracked irreverent jokes. McCourt handles the horrors of his childhood with a dry humor:  his lush of a reprobate father, the constant hunger, the stream of dying family and friends, his out-of-touch mother, his vulnerability to illnesses, the hellish living conditions.


My interest in New Orleans history and culture is enmeshed with my research into the 1920s/the Jazz Age (perfect, right?). Someone dropped off a copy of Joshua Zeitz’s Flapper at the used store, and after leaving it on my PICKS shelf for a week or so, I scooped it upThe book has not, thus far, given me any new insights into the culture, so I would recommend it as a jumping off point for a study of this time period. However, the book did accentuate that this period ushered in commercialization and consumerism and that history repeats itself. (I am also continuing to read The Artist’s Way for our Maple Street Writers’ Circle.)


This could change as I have the new Sookie Stackhouse in my possession, but I am hoping to
read A Trumpet Around the Corner: The Story of New Orleans Jazz by Samuel Charters. This book expands on the author’s earlier book, Jazz: New Orleans, 1885-1957. ~Veronica K. Brooks-Sigler, Bookseller/Social Medium, Maple Street Book Shops