YOUNG ADULT: In The Casquette Girls, Alys Arden taps into the supernatural world amid a backdrop of a deserted post-hurricane French Quarter. The story is told through the eyes of 16-year-old Adele Le Moyne, who’s trying to make sense of a string of murders mysteriously tied to her ancestors. Arden is scheduled to speak at the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival, March 30 through April 3.
COOKBOOK: In chef John Folse’s massive, 950-page opus Can You Dig It: Louisiana’s Authoritative Collection of Vegetable Cookery, there’s no soil left unturned. From the history of agriculture as told by co-author Michaela York, including a deep dive into Louisiana’s farming methods and agricultural roots, to more than 600 recipes for vegetable-centered dishes, the book is positioned to become the definitive resource on vegetables for both professional and novice cooks.
AMERICANA: Louisiana native Lucinda Williams, originally from Lake Charles, has established herself as an expert on the blues, folk, rock and Americana music scenes. February marks the release of her 12th studio album. The Ghosts of Highway 20 consists of multiple themes ranging from pain, as heard on “Bitter Memory,” to the desire to be free, so to speak, as heard on “Doors of Heaven.” The album title refers to Interstate 20, which runs through Northern Louisiana, and all the time she has spent traveling on it all while making lasting memories, whether good or bad. While the album moves very slowly, you never really feel out of place while listening. It is perfect for a long Southern road trip. The guitars and bass mesh perfectly with Williams’ raw, gravelly voice to create a sound that’s pure and feels organic to the listener. Nothing about this album seems forced. When you listen to The Ghosts of Highway 20 you feel like Williams is giving a live performance to you alone. The Ghosts of Highway 20 will be released Feb. 5.