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Read and Spin

Jenny Brooks’ story is classic country – kid packs U-Haul and leaves Slidell for Nashville, trying to make it big. She released a short 10-song album, then Down in the Bayou, her latest. She writes all her own songs, and they’re cute and pretty catchy (“Cadillacation,” “Dixie for the Chicks”). Jenny sang at the Cajun Hot Sauce Festival in New Iberia last month, and will appear this month in Nashville at McGuinness Girls Night.

Memoir l In the Sanctuary of Outcasts is Neil White’s memoir of his time incarcerated at Carville’s Federal Medical Center, a facility originally designed to house sufferers of Hansen’s disease (leprosy). The people White meets during his sentence transition well into characters on the page. Also, the contrast between inmates and patients leads to interesting observations and character development. The writing is good, the story is very intriguing and the oddity of subject matter alone makes the book worth perusing. White’s credentials, incidentally, include having been an executive for the former parent company of New Orleans Magazine and having once had the title of publisher of this magazine.

Fiction l Murder mystery writer Erica Spindler’s latest book, Breakneck, follows two cops trying to catch a killer targeting upstanding citizens. While hunting the murderer, protagonists and detectives Mary Catherine and Kitt become friends, but the case quickly sends the ladies’ personal lives into turmoil. Spindler, a local resident, writes a engaging crime story, a good choice for afternoon levee reading.

Childrens l “Goodnight red beans, goodnight rice/Goodnight pralines and Zatarain’s spice,” writes Cornell Landry in Goodnight NOLA, sure to be New Orleans’ next kiddie craze.

Landry wrote the rhymes, and friend/illustrator Louis Schmitt hand-drew the whimsical images, then added computerized coloring. The cute characters are already set to appear on a clothing line to be sold at local stores. Daddies, if you need a Mother’s Day gift for the Missus, Schmitt is going to sign books at the Barnes & Noble on Veterans Memorial Boulevard the day before (May 9).

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