If you're a book lover and a reader, there's a sense of life beginning anew in September. Like all the students who come home with fresh textbooks to cover, you crave new books. If you're a reader, it's in your genes. And with the crisp fall air, which will be along in, say, October, you get the yen to learn something new. There are opportunities everywhere this fall. Check off what appeals and jump in. The literary scene is alive, well — and welcoming.
One Book One New Orleans: The selection for this fall is The World That Made New Orleans: From Spanish Silver to Congo Square, by Ned Sublette. Start reading.
Reason to participate: Having the whole city read a book is a great thing.
For info: www.ylcnola.org
Rising Tide 7: A New Media Conference on the Future of New Orleans takes place Saturday, Sept. 22, at Xavier University. Keynote speakers are Lawrence N. Powell (The Accidental City: Improvising New Orleans) and Lolis Eric Elie (Treme, Smokestack Lightning: Adventures in the Heart of Barbecue City), who will set the tone for this gathering of bloggers and activists.
Reason to go: We all have a stake in it.
More info: www.risingtidenola.com
The Third Annual New Orleans Children's Book Festival will consist of two extraordinary free family-friendly events to be held on Friday, October 19 and Saturday, October 20, 2012 at Latter Library (5120 St. Charles Ave.). The event is sponsored by New Orleans' first lady Cheryl Landrieu and the Ruby Bridges Foundation. There will be book activities, food, authors, storytellers and book giveaways.
• Twinkle, Twinkle: A Night of Music Inspired by Children’s Literature
October 19, 2012
6:30 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Twinkle, Twinkle is a special concert of classical music inspired by children’s literature performed by the Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestras. Families are encouraged to bring picnic baskets and blankets for a night of music under the stars. This free event will take place on the lawn of Latter Branch Library.
• Children’s Book Festival
October 20, 2012
10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
The 3rd Annual New Orleans Children’s Book Festival will promote literacy by providing children with the opportunity to hear readings from renowned authors. This free festival also features food, live music and a variety of engaging activities for children of all ages. Brand new donated books will be distributed to festival attendees on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Reason to go: Show the kids how much fun they can have at a library.
For info: www.nolabookfest.org
The Louisiana Book Festival is 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, on the grounds of the state Capitol in Baton Rouge. Don't miss this free event. The highlight is the presentation of the Louisiana Writer Award to New Orleanian John Biguenet. There also will be a special appearance by National Children's Literature Ambassador Walter Dean Myers. Among authors scheduled to appear are Constance Adler, Arthe Anthony, Darrell Bourque, Rick Bragg, Wiley Cash, Rich Cohen, Moira Crone, Tim Gautreaux, Julie Kane, Alice Kessler-Harris, Ron Rash, George and Wendy Rodrigue, Ben Sandmel, Olympia Vernon and John Corey Whaley.
Reasons to make the drive: The fun of taking a seat in the Louisiana Legislature and spending a gorgeous day with food, music and books all across the grounds of the Capitol.
For info: www.louisianabookfestival.org
Contraflow is a rapidly growing conference for fans of science fiction, fantasy and comics. It takes place Oct. 5-7 at the Double Tree New Orleans Airport (2150 Veterans Memorial Boulevard, Kenner). Special guests this year include five-time Hugo Award-winning author Vernor Vinge, Marvel comics author Arthur Suydam and fan Janice Liang. Other special guests include Northshore novelist Diana Rowland and "Goth librarian" Kimberly Richardson. There are writing workshops, panels, autographing sessions and a 48-hour film festival.
Reasons to go: Celebrate your life as a fan of science fiction and comics. Dress up. Go to a lot of parties. Buy some rare comic books or sci-fi merchandise in the dealers' room. (Maybe a velvet painting of Captain Kirk?)
For info: www.contraflowscifi.org
The Tennessee Williams Festival Writers Workshop is a one-day writer's workshop and manuscript critiquing session at the Hotel Monteleone (214 Royal St.) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 3. Register by Oct. 1. Led by industry professionals, the workshops offer practical advice and feedback to help writers at all stages of development. Facilitators are editor Catherine Frank (young adult and children's literature), novelist and memoirist Zachary Lazar (literary fiction), novelist Bev Marshall (contemporary fiction) and novelist/biographer Chris Wiltz (fiction and creative nonfiction). Classes are limited to 10 people, each of whom will provide a writing sample.
Reason to go: Get that writing project to the next level.
For info: www.tennesseewilliams.net or call 504-581-1144.
The Jewish Book Festival features Jewish authors and books with Jewish-centric content. It takes place Nov. 4-10, primarily at the Jewish Community Center (JCC) Uptown (5342 St. Charles Ave.). Marc Tyler Nobleman appears at 10 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 4, at the Goldring-Woldenberg JCC (3747 W. Esplanade Ave., Metairie) for "Super Sunday with Superheroes." Novelist Amy Ephron appears at noon Thursday, Nov. 8, for the Booklover's Luncheon, and author/humorist Dan Zevin provides comic relief at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, at the JCC Uptown. Octavia Books will hold a weeklong book fair that is open to the public.
Reason to go: L'chaim to Jewish writing.
For info and tickets: www.nojcc.org
Words and Music: A Literary Feast in New Orleans is set for Nov. 28-Dec. 2. The guest of honor this year is Ernest Gaines, author of A Lesson Before Dying, the book for The Big Read event sponsored by Words and Music and Xavier University. Others on the program include Lawrence N. Powell, Freddi Williams Evans, John Shelton Reed, Rich Cohen, Lori Carlson, Oscar Hijuelos, Moira Crone, Sanem Ozdural, Jonathan Yardley and Marie Arana, Justin Torres, Carole DeSanti, Patty Friedmann, Ernest Hill, T.R. Pearson, Hal Clark, Rosary O'Neill, John Biguenet, Michael Malon and Lucy Ferriss.
Reasons to go: Great writers with sophisticated topics ("time travel to the past and future" is the theme), wonderful music and good contacts in the New York marketplace. Events are scheduled at various venues around the city.
For info: www.wordsandmusic.org
Special events and visitors
The Dickens Fellowship of New Orleans gets underway from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, at Metairie Park Country Day School's Bright Library (300 Park Road, Metairie). Start with Great Expectations chapters one through six. The Fellowship intersperses lectures, book discussion and film screenings.
Reasons to go: See how the classic measures up for modern readers. You'll be surprised. Have a cup of tea.
For info: email email@example.com
Happy Birthday, Mr. Faulkner! celebrates William Faulkner's special day at 6 p.m. Sept. 25 at 624 Pirate's Alley, the house where he wrote his first novel, Soldiers' Pay, in 1925. The event will feature John Shelton Reed, who wrote Dixie Bohemia: A French Quarter Circle in the 1920s; and Luna Press, a collaboration between husband-and-wife team Dalt Wonk and Josephine Sacabo, and Luna Press' first book Nocturnes. The event is free, but make reservations now.
Reason to go: Fun in one of the French Quarter's greatest literary landmarks
For info: email Faulkhouse@aol.com
Award-winning poet Sharon Olds is the Florie Gale Arons poet at Tulane University. Olds will read from her new book Stag's Leap at 7 p.m. Oct. 1 at the Freeman Auditorium at the Woldenberg Art Center (Tulane University, Willow Street entrance).
Reason to go: Olds has mercilessly, unflinchingly plumbed her personal life in this revelatory collection of poems about the dissolution of her marriage.
For info: www.tulane.edu/newcomb
The Women's National Book Association of New Orleans sponsors an appearance by mystery novelist Attica Locke at 7 p.m. Oct. 11 at the Newcomb College Center for Research on Women (62 Newcomb Place). Locke's new book, The Cutting Season, is set in Louisiana.
Reasons to go: Get info about starting reading groups and reading group suggestions. Meet the book women of our city, hear a wonderful mystery writer, jump-start your reading group.
For info: Check out the association's Facebook page at www.facebook.-com/pages/Womens-National-Book-Association-of-New-Orleans.
Humorist David Sedaris (Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Naked, When You Are Engulfed in Flames and Squirrel Meets Chipmunk) appears Wednesday, Oct. 24, at the McAlister Auditorium at Tulane University (6823 St. Charles Ave.). His new book, Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls, won't be out until spring 2013, but he'll discuss new material and will sign books after.
Reason to go: David Sedaris. All new.
For tickets: www.ticketmaster.com
New York Times bestselling author Karen Marie Moning celebrates the release of her novel Iced with an all-night slumber/reading party at Le Pavillon Hotel (833 Poydras St.) Oct. 29.
Reason to go: When's the last time you stayed up all night to read a book?
For info: www.octaviabooks.com
Poet laureate Natasha Trethewey, who won a Pulitzer Prize for Native Guard, appears at the New Orleans Public Library (219 Loyola Ave.) at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 6.
Reason to go: She's a brilliant poet and Gulf Coast native who writes beautifully about Louisiana.
For info: www.neworleanspubliclibrary.org
Sept. 4 — Lee Barclay reads selections from New Orleans, What Can't Be Lost, which she edited, at 6 p.m. at the Columns Hotel.
Sept. 4 — Moira Crone will discuss The Not Yet at 7 p.m. at the East Bank Regional Library in Metairie.
Sept. 5 — Tal McThenia and Margaret Dunbar Cutright discuss and sign A Case For Solomon: Bobby Dunbar and the Kidnapping that Haunted a Nation at 5:30 p.m. at Garden District Book Shop.
Sept. 6 — Karma Wilson signs Bear Says Thanks at 4 p.m. at Octavia Books.
Sept. 10 — Celebrate the work of Lafcadio Hearn at the Black Widow Literary Salon with priestess Miriam from the Rampart Street Temple reading about Marie Laveau, and Trixie Minx reading about glamour in New Orleans at 7 p.m. at Crescent City Books.
Sept. 10 — Gary Michael Smith, an author, editor, publisher, instructor and editorial photojournalist based in New Orleans, conducts a seminar titled "How to Create Your Own Publishing Company" at 7 p.m. at the East Bank Regional Library.
Sept. 13 — William Barnwell discusses and signs Lead Me On, Let Me Stand at 5:30 p.m. at Garden District Book Shop.
Sept. 13 — David Lummis signs The Coffee Shop Chronicles of New Orleans Part 2 at 6 p.m. at Octavia Books.
Sept. 14 — Michael Sartisky, J. Richard Gruber and John Kemp celebrate the publication of A Unique Slant of Light: The Bicentennial History of Art in Louisiana, November 1860-April 1861, at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. Time TBA.
Sept. 15 — Bonny L. Schumaker signs Pellie Lou: A Pelican Who Survived the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill at 11:30 a.m. at Maple Street Book Shop Uptown.
Sept. 15 — Michael Sartisky, J. Richard Gruber, and John Kemp discuss and sign their A Unique Slant of Light: The Bicentennial History of Art in Louisiana at 1 p.m. at Garden District Book Shop.
Sept. 15 — Cornell Landry signs The Tiger and the Honey Badger Take on the Zoo at 2 p.m. at Octavia Books. Myra McEntire follows at 4 p.m., signing Timepiece.
Sept. 18 — Geoff Wyss reads from and signs How, his collection of short stories, at 6 p.m. at Maple Street Book Shop Uptown.
Sept. 20 — Richard Sexton and Randy Harelson sign New Roads and Old Rivers: Louisiana's Historic Pointe Coupee Parish at 5:30 p.m. at Garden District Book Shop.
Sept. 20 — T. Geronimo Johnson signs Hold It 'Til It Hurts at 6 p.m. at Octavia Books.
Sept. 21 — Stuart Woods signs Severe Clear at 6 p.m. at Octavia Books.
Sept. 22 — Madaline Herlong signs her young adult novel Buddy at 11:30 a.m. at Maple Street Book Shop.
Sept. 22 — John Shelton Reed signs Dixie Bohemia: A French Quarter Circle in the 1920s at noon at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.
Sept. 27 — John Shelton Reed discusses and signs Dixie Bohemia: A French Quarter Circle in the 1920s at 5:30 p.m. at Garden District Book Shop.
Sept. 27 — Allison Vines-Rushing and Slade Rushing discuss and sign Southern Comfort: A New Take on the Recipes We Grew Up With at 5:30 p.m. at Garden District Book Shop.
Sept. 27 — Geronimo Johnson signs Hold It 'Til It Hurts at Maple Street Books. Time TBA.
Sept. 28 — John Shelton Reed discusses and signs Dixie Bohemia: A French Quarter Circle in the 1920s at 6 p.m. at Octavia Books.
Sept. 29 — Geronimo Johnson signs Hold It 'Til It Hurts at Maple Street Book Shop on Ponce de Leon Street.
Oct. 4 — William J. Cooper discusses and signs We Have the War Upon Us: The Onset of the Civil War at 5:30 p.m. at Garden District Book Shop.
Oct. 4 — Sonpri Gray signs Kept at 6 p.m. at Maple Street Book Shop Uptown.
Oct. 8 — Andrew Kahrl reads from and signs The Land Was Ours: African American Beaches from Jim Crow to the Sunbelt South at 6 p.m. at Maple Street Book Shop Uptown.
Oct. 9 — Stephan Pastis signs Pearls Freaks the #*%# Out: A Pearls Before Swine Treasury at 5:30 p.m. at Garden District Book Shop.
Oct. 9 — John McCusker signs Creole Trombone: Kid Ory and the Early Years of Jazz at 6 p.m. at Octavia Books.
Oct. 13 — Dianne de las Casas and Marita Gentry sign Beware, Beware of the Big Bad Bear at 1:30 p.m. at Octavia Books.
Oct. 14 — Fred Thompson signs Fred Thompson's Southern Sides at 2 p.m. at Garden District Book Shop.
Oct. 16 — Michael Allen Zell signs Errata at 6 p.m. at Octavia Books.
Oct. 18 — Jilly Lagasse and Jessie Lagasse Swanson sign The Gluten-Free Table: The Lagasse Girls Share Their Favorite Meals at 5:30 p.m. at Garden District Book Shop.
Oct. 18 — Cynthia LeJeune Nobles signs The Delta Queen Cookbook: The History and Recipes of the Legendary Steamboat at 6 p.m. at Octavia Books.
Oct. 19 — Michael Allen Zell signs Errata at 6 p.m. at Maple Street Books on Ponce de Leon Street.
Oct. 20 — Melinda Palacio signs and reads from her debut novel, Ocotillo Dreams at Maple Street Book Shop at the New Orleans Healing Center.
Oct. 23 — Claire Keegan, The Irish Times award-winning writer, reads at 7 p.m. at Loyola University New Orleans' Danna Center.
Oct. 25 — Arthe Anthony discusses and signs Picturing Black New Orleans: A Creole Photographer's View of the Early Twentieth Century at 5:30 p.m. at Garden District Book Shop.
Oct. 25 — Robert Olen Butler signs The Hot Country at 6 p.m. at Octavia Books.
Oct. 26 — George Singleton signs Stray Decorum at 6 p.m. at Octavia Books.
Oct. 28 — Arthe Anthony discusses and signs Picturing Black New Orleans: A Creole Photographer's View of the Early Twentieth Century at 1 p.m. at Octavia Books.
Oct. 29 — Poet Beau Boudreaux reads from and signs Running Red, Running Redder at 6 p.m. at Maple Street Book Shop Uptown. He will be joined by Theodore Ross, author of Am I a Jew?: Lost Tribes, Lapsed Jews, and One Man's Search for Himself.
Nov. 1 — Katherine Soniat signs A Raft, A Boat, A Bridge at 6 p.m. at Octavia Books.
Nov. 4 — Pit bull activist Ken Foster celebrates the release of his new book I'm a Good Dog at 2 p.m. at Maple Street Book Shop in the New Orleans Healing Center. A portion of proceeds benefit the Sula Foundation.
Nov. 8 — Tom Varisco signs Jackson Squared: The Heart of the Quarter at 6 p.m. at Octavia Books.
Nov. 13 — David Spielman and Fred Lyons sign When Not Performing: New Orleans Musicians at 5:30 p.m. at Garden District Book Shop.
Nov. 14 — B.A. Shapiro signs The Art Forger at 6 p.m. at Octavia Books.
Nov. 15 — Suzanne Johnson reads and signs River Road at 6 p.m. at Maple Street Book Shop on Ponce de Leon Street.
Nov. 19 — Debra Shriver signs In the Spirit of New Orleans at Maple Street Book Shop Uptown. Time TBA.
Nov. 24 — Todd-Michael St. Pierre signs Taste of Treme: Creole, Cajun, and Soul Food from New Orleans' Famous Neighborhood of Jazz at 6 p.m. at Maple Street Book Shop Uptown.
Dec. 1 — Dixon Hearne reads from and signs When Christmas was Real at 1 p.m. at Maple Street Book Shop Uptown. He will be joined by Vallie Lynn Watson signing A River So Long.
Dec. 5 — Rene Brunet and Jack Stewart discuss and sign There's One in Your Neighborhood — The Lost Movie Theaters of New Orleans at 7 p.m. at the East Bank Regional Library.
Dec. 6 — David Spielman signs When Not Performing: New Orleans Musicians at 6 p.m. at Octavia Books.
Dec. 8 — Bill Finch signs Longleaf, Far As The Eye Can See: A New Vision of North America's Richest Forest at 1 p.m. at Garden District Book Shop.
Dec. 13 — Poet Melinda Palacio signs How Fire Is A Story, Waiting at 6 p.m. at Octavia Books.
Book signings/ readings venues:
The Columns Hotel (3811 St. Charles Ave., 504-899-9308; www.thecolumns.com)
Crescent City Books (230 Chartres St., 504-524-4997; www.crescentcitybooks.com)
East Bank Regional Library (4747 W. Napoleon Ave., Metairie, 504-838-1190; www.jefferson.lib.la.us)
Garden District Book Shop (The Rink, 2727 Prytania St., 504-895-2266; www.gardendistrictbookshop.com)
Loyola University Danna Student Center (6363 St. Charles Ave., 504-865-3622; www.studentaffairs.loyno.edu/-cocurricular/danna-student-center)
Maple Street Book Shop (New Orleans Healing Center, 2372 St Claude Ave., 504-710-4506; 3141 Ponce de Leon St., 504-309-9815; 7523 Maple St., 504-861-2105; www.maplestreetbookshop.com)
Ogden Museum of Southern Art (925 Camp St., 504-539-9600; www.ogdenmuseum.org)
Octavia Books (513 Octavia St., 504-899-7323; www.octaviabooks.com)