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Read & Spin

Irvin Mayfield recently released a memoir of sorts, A Love Letter to New Orleans (see below), though the final product is part photo-essay and all about the music. The songs that correspond to the book were released in an accompanying CD, also called A Love Letter to New Orleans, which features compositions written by Mayfield, including “Mo’ Better Blues,” performed with Ellis Marsalis, and “Blue Dawn,” performed with Wynton Marsalis. Other collaborators include Los Hombres Calientes and the Dillard University Choir.

Musical memoir l Irvin Mayfield’s A Love Letter to New Orleans chronicles the musician’s life through important songs – songs that correspond to heartbreak, joy and personal discovery. The book features a foreword by CNN’s Soledad O’Brien and a cover photo by the late Herman Leonard. The book is not only a love letter to the city, but to its music and its artists, including James Booker, George Porter Jr., Gordon Parks and many more.

Novel l New York Times bestselling author Isabel Allende’s latest novel, Island Beneath the Sea, begins in 18th-century Saint-Domingue, following the life of Zarité, known as Tété, a slave who suffers a life of brutality while finding solace in African drumbeats and voodoo. Tété travels to New Orleans, where she says “the street smelled of jasmine” and where she searches for her own strength and identity despite her enslavement in this inspiring novel translated from its original Spanish.

History l The Isleños of Louisiana: On the Water’s Edge chronicles the history of the Canary Islanders – now commonly called Isleños – who journeyed to Louisiana, then under Spanish control. Samantha Perez’s book explores the culture, language and history of the Isleños, including their part in such historic events as the Battle of New Orleans, the building of Higgins boats during World War II and even their participation in the Deepwater Horizon disaster relief.


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