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Book Reviews

New Orleans Griot

by Tom Dent, edited by Kalamu Ya Salaam

UNO Press

 

Merriam Webster Dictionary defines the term griot as any of a class of musician-entertainers of western Africa whose performances include tribal histories and genealogies.” New Orleans writer, poet, activist, journalist and philosopher, among other noted work, Tom Dent transformed this definition with a modern New Orleans spin with his work in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. An early board member of the Jazz and Heritage Foundation, his work lives on through the Tom Dent Congo Square Lectures, periodically held in the city. The writer’s extensive body of work is collected in “New Orleans Griot” by fellow writer and apprentice Kalamu Ya Salaam, who presents a thorough profile of a passionate writer exploring race, culture and its place in New Orleans and beyond.

 

★★★★

 


 

Kevin Belton’s New Orleans Kitchen

by Kevin Belton with Rhonda K. Findley

Gibbs Smith Publishing

PBS/WYES chef Kevin Belton’s new cookbook gives readers a delicious glimpse into his own kitchen, with recipes and anecdotes of his childhood growing up in New Orleans. Stories abound, from drinking café au lait in his momma’s kitchen on Valence Street, peeling shrimp with his grandmother and exploring the Vietnamese culture, restaurants and bakeries in New Orleans East with his dad. All are paired with Lagniappe cooking tips and secrets and colorful, easy to prepare dishes. A cookbook that just may inspire new family traditions in your own home kitchen.

 

★★★★★

 


 

The City of Lost Fortunes

by Bryan Camp

For book lovers of the fantastic, Bryan Camp’s debut novel The City of Lost Fortunes has it all: magic, monsters, mystery and miracles. A graduate of the University of New Orleans’ MFA program, Camp relies on his own personal experiences magnified through a magical lens. Set in post Hurricane Katrina New Orleans, street musician Jude Dubuisson finds himself in a supernatural poker game with the gods of New Orleans. In this fantasy-literary-mystery mash up, myths take human form and walk the streets, with Dubuisson on the line to sort through the chaos, culture and conflicts.

 

★★★★

 


 

By Ashley McLellan, Please send submissions for consideration, attention: Ashley McLellan, 110 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Suite 123, Metairie, LA 70005

 

★ = Did not finish     ★★ = Sort of ok, but kind of meh     ★★★ = Enjoyable    ★★★★ = Really, really liked it    ★★★★★ = Loved it; a new favorite!

 


 

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