Read and Spin

Our Songs is the first original project of Pfister Sister Holley Bendtsen and pianist Amasa Miller. On it they exhibit their New Orleans-inspired lyrics and invite their local musician peers – including fellow Pfister Sisters and Charmaine Neville — along for their sweet serenades and jazzy numbers – like the premier song about Jazz Fest and “Dr. John.” Our Songs features playful fun from seasoned entertainers who have been around a French Quarter block.

Nonfiction l The Healing Spell by Kimberly Griffiths Little is a bayou bildungsroman (a novel form that focuses on a person’s psychological growth) with a tomboy heroine who uses her pirogue and secret pet alligator to escape from the sadness and guilt she feels at home with her mother in a coma. Young adult readers will be spellbound by the mystery and magic surrounding Livie as she searches for peace within while juggling her do-no-wrong sisters and even a romance with her neighbor T-Jacques Landry. The story is strong in its depiction of the beauty and lure of the Louisiana backwoods.

History l Tom Fitzmorris takes a big bite out of the “it” scene of our city — the food scene of course — with Hungry Town: A Culinary History of New Orleans: The City Where Food Is Almost Everything. After more than 35 years of savoring, critiquing and preaching local food, Fitzmorris has created a part-encyclopedia/part-journal covering New Orleans’ unique food traditions and his extensive experiences with his mouth to the fork and his ear to the chefs. It’s a satisfying read for reminiscences about great meals and a testament to the all-encompassing power of the culinary arts.

Nonfiction l Sean Payton and Ellis Henican’s Home Team: Coaching the Saints and New Orleans Back to Life is a spirited first-hand encounter of team New Orleans’ inspirational journey. Readers will be charmed by Payton’s honest storytelling — following the coach from his quarterback high school days to working for The Big Tuna (former NFL Coach Bill Parcells) and through the Saints’ triumphs — on and off the field — to the emotional Super Bowl victory parade. There’s more Coors Light and Kenny Chesney than you would expect and just as much heart-and-soul football. Included are 25 photos highlighting grin-worthy moments. Payton’s insider’s view of the team’s bonding activities helps make for a particularly jolly read (there’s a jazz funeral for the 2006 season) while his initial outsider’s view as a new New Orleanian post-Katrina reminds us how far we’ve come together.

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