books

Laurence Copel founded the Lower Ninth Ward’s free library and currently operates the city’s only functional book mobile. According to a 2015 report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, 77 percent of fourth graders in Louisiana are not proficient in reading. Tyler Gillespie has this profile of Copel, whose work is focused on child literacy. She says some children in New Orleans face extreme disadvantages because of limited access to books.

This week on The Reading Life: Adrian Van Young, who conjures the Spiritualists in his debut novel, Shadows in Summerland. And we celebrate Poetry Month with Loyola's Mark Yakich, author of Poetry: A Survivor’s Manual, and UNO's Carolyn Hembree, author of Rigging a Chevy into a Time Machine and Other Ways to Escape a Plague.

This week on The Reading Life: Vivian Swift, author of Gardens of Awe and Folly: A Traveler’s Journal on the Meaning of Life and Gardening, and Bill Lavender talks about the first New Orleans Poetry Festival, coming up April 15-17.

The bronze statue of Ignatius J. Reilly, on Canal Street.
Todd Murray / Flickr

John Kennedy Toole's novel A Confederacy of Dunces is internationally revered for having captured the essence and eccentricity of New Orleans — and for introducing readers to its larger-than-life protagonist, Ignatius J. Reilly. On this week's show, we take a culinary look between the pages of the book that, 35 years ago, was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

Imaginative view of Madame Delphine's House, 253 Royal Street in the Vieux Carre.
Kemble, Edward Windsor / Historic New Orleans Collection

TriPod: New Orleans at 300 returns with a story about George Washington Cable, and the beautiful danger of writing New Orleans-based historical fiction.


This week on The Reading Life: Bestselling author Erik Larson, author of Isaac's Storm, The Devil in the White City, In the Garden of Beasts, and Thunderstruck. He's coming to New Orleans April 12 to talk about his most recent book is Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, which is new in paperback.We’ll also talk with Lydia Pyne, whose most recent book is Bookshelf.

This week on The Reading Life: Two of this year’s guests at the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival — Mary Badham, who portrayed Scout in the 1962 film version of To Kill a Mockingbird, and novelist Cynthia Bond, author of Ruby, the first selection for the Oprah Book Club 2.0.

This week on The Reading Life: Alexander Chee, a featured guest at the upcoming Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival. His new book is the stunning historical novel, The Queen of the Night. Well also talk with Claudia Baumgarten, who’s doing her one-woman show, Wit and Wrath: The Life and Times of Dorothy Parker, at the Festival.

This week on The Reading Life: Mary Farmer-Kaiser, co-editor with Shannon Frystak, of a great collection of essays, Louisiana Women: Their Life and Times, Vol. 2, and Alison Gaylin, author of the new thriller, What Remains of Me. Alison is one of the featured guests at the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary festival, coming up March 30-April 3.

This week on The Reading Life: Paul Willis and Tracy Ferrington Cunningham preview the 30th annual Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival. Marlene Trestman talks about Fair Labor Lawyer: The Remarkable Life of New Deal Attorney and Supreme Court Advocate Bessie Margolin, and prize-winning poet Rickey Laurentiis tells us about writing Boy with Thorn and coming home for LitFest.

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