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Read & Spin

Amanda Shaw’s well-rounded Good Southern Girl updates the fiddler’s fans of her growth on the stage and in life; she just “made” 20 and it’s apparent as she belts out “One Night Stand.” Upbeat and saucy – like the star herself – the record shows off the young star’s talent for composing and songwriting with the title track and “Cruise.” And for those who aren’t quite ready to admit that she’s all grown up, there are also the revered Cajun favorites performed charmingly by the cutie.

Fiction l My Bright Midnight is a gritty novel set in the Crescent City with the dramatic backdrop of World War II. Josh Russell, an award-winning writer and creative writing professor, deftly creates his protagonist Walter’s world – one filled with Hubig’s pies, Gulf Coast getaways and New Orleans streets and smells. Walter is a German immigrant – an outsider – who longs to find home. The tense plot centers on a racy love triangle with Walter’s beloved wife and volatile best friend, though the emotionally heavy mood is lightened at times by kooky characters and wild adventures; this is the Big Easy after all.

Nonfiction l Mario Tama’s Coming Back: New Orleans Resurgent showcases powerful portraits of New Orleanians fighting to overcome Hurricane Katrina. The historically important book includes an introduction by Anderson Cooper followed by quotes from Mark Twain, Leah Chase and even FEMA”s Michael “Brownie” Brown accompanying the images. Said Tennessee Williams, who has a literary festival named after him here in The City That Care Forgot, “After all, high station in life is earned by the gallantry with which appalling experiences are survived with grace.”

Nonfiction l Found within the “88 Stories and Traditions from the Sacred City” of New Orleans: What Can’t Be Lost, are those perfect New Orleans moments that can’t be experienced any place else. Editor Lee Barclay assembled a team of top-notch contributors whose distinctive and colorful stories are ones of worship to the city. Black-and-white photographs by Christopher Porché West showcase the intrigue of daily life here. The stories will haunt you and inspire you to go make more New Orleans memories of your own.

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