This week The Reading Life is all about crime fiction. Susan talks with two bestselling authors: Tana French chronicles the adventures of the Dublin Murder Squad; her new book is The Trespasser. James Lee Burke, creator of Cajun detective Dave Robicheaux, writes about his native Houston in The Jealous Kind.

This week on The Reading Life: National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward talks about editing the important new anthology, "The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race," and New Orleans native Clint Smith, one of the poets in that anthology, talks about his new book, "Counting Descent."

**Lagniappe Audio**

This week on The Reading Life: Susan talks with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Olen Butler, whose new novel is "Perfume River." We'll also hear from Michael Allen Zell, whose new novel in the New Orleans-set Bobby Delery  series is "Law & Desire."

The Sweet Success Of Bananas Foster Has An Unsavory Past

Sep 30, 2016

There's more to the story of Bananas Foster than flambeed fruit. While the enticing dessert is a sweet legacy of New Orleans' once-booming banana trade, there's also a less savory one: banana republics.

Today, the banana is America's favorite fruit, but it was once considered exotic. The fruit only became commonplace in the United States starting in the 1870s, thanks to improvements in shipping and botany. By the turn of the century, the banana trade was a million-dollar industry.

This week on The Reading Life:  Whitney Stewart talks about tracking her family's history through World War II for "Feldpost: The War Letters of Reiner Niemann." We’ll also hear from Raymond Boudreau, who’s the guest coordinator of Contraflow VI, the fantasy and science fiction convention coming up this weekend with featured guest Ben Bova. And Susan reviews Colson Whitehead's "The Underground Railroad."

This week on The Reading Life:  Bestselling crime novelist Sara Paretsky, author of the V.I. Warshawski series and this year's winner of the Pinckley Prize for Crime Fiction for a Distinguished Body of Work, who's coming for Bouchercon, the great mystery writers and fans convention taking place next weekend.

This week on The Reading Life: Writers and activists Haki Madhubuti (publisher of Third World Press) and Ishmael Reed (author of "Shrovetide in Old New Orleans" and "Mumbo Jumbo"). They are among the headliners at this weekend’s Black Arts Movement 2016 conference at Dillard University. We’ll also hear from Ken Foster, celebrating ten years of his book, The Dogs Who Found Me.

This week on The Reading Life: Poet Alison Pelegrin, whose new book is "Waterlines."  We’ll have a visit with Doug Keller and Ashley Teamer of Big Class, the city-wide writing initiative. Then Sisira Holbrook, Allison Flemington, Emma Rioux, and illustrator Kara Daveron , 7th graders at Lusher Charter School, tell us about publishing the Harry Potter newspaper the Quibbler.

This week on The Reading Life: Lara Naughton, author of The Jaguar Man: A Memoir, and Peyton Burgess, author of The Fry Pans Aren’t Sufficing.

**Lagniappe Audio**

This week on The Reading Life: Elda Rotor, vice president and publisher of Penguin Classics, and Paul Buckley, creative director for Penguin Classics. They’re celebrating the line's 70th anniversary with a gorgeous book, Classic Penguin: Cover to Cover.