FICTION: In You Don’t Know Me: New & Selected Stories, by James Nolan, you’re immediately drawn into the comedy and tragedy that’s so much a part of the fabric of New Orleans. From the first page of its amusing opening story, “Reconcile” – chronicling a few days in the life of three unlikely roommates and the case of a missing cat during the days after Hurricane Katrina, when the city was still under a curfew and missing pets were the evening news topic du jour – the fifth-generation New Orleanian crafts portraits of the French Quarter inhabitants and the surrounding suburbanites as intimately as one would a member of their own family. Catch Nolan at Maple Street Books on Nov. 1, 6 to 7:30 p.m., and at the Hotel Monteleone on Nov. 20, at 9:45 a.m., for the Words and Music Festival.
FASHION: Influenced by Spanish, French, Creole, and of course, American Southern style, New Orleans Style by Andi Eaton sashays through the centuries, weaving together a history of fashion in the Crescent City. Historic and modern photos and illustrations add color and charm to this petite yet information-packed book.
ROOTS ROCK: It has been years since Louisiana-born Lucinda Williams – known for her weathered, bluesy voice and poetic tales of grit, suffering and survival – released an album. Which makes her 11th, the double CD, Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone, an even sweeter proposition for Williams’ fans. The 20-song opus is laden with original, soul-filled tracks, save the song “Compassion,” adapted from a poem by her father, poet and former Loyola professor Miller Williams and a cover of “Magnolia,” by J.J. Cale. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Williams credits the South, a stream of collaborators, singers, songwriters and her co-producer husband, Tom Overby as inspiration. Williams’ weary voice cuts through lush lyrics woven into tales familiar to most southerners, but spun in a way that’s so distinct to the singer-songwriter.
JAZZ: In case you missed it in October, the Jason Marsalis Vibe Quartet dropped its second release, The 21st Century Trad Band. Funky beats and rhythms permeate lavish, contemporary jazz tracks.
Please send submissions for consideration, attention: Melanie Spencer, 110 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Suite 123, Metairie, LA 70005.