Susan Larson

Host of The Reading Life

Before becoming the host of The Reading Life in 2010, Susan Larson was the book editor for The New Orleans Times-Picayunefrom 1988-2009. She has served on the boards of the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival and the New Orleans Public Library. She is the founder of the New Orleans chapter of the Women's National Book Association, which presents the annual Diana Pinckley Prizes for Crime Fiction.. In 2007, she received the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities lifetime achievement award for her contributions to the literary community. She is also the author of The Booklover's Guide to New Orleans. If you run into her in a local bookstore or library, she'll be happy to suggest something you should read. She thinks New Orleans is the best literary town in the world, and she reads about a book a day.

Ways to Connect

This week on The Reading Life: Susan talks with Julia Reed, author of “South Toward Home: Adventures and Misadventures in My Native Land.” It's full of tales of critters, cuisine, and plain old fun!

This week on the Tricentennial Reading List, Susan Larson and Jason Berry discuss biographies of local, notable musicians.

This week on The Reading Life: Susan talks with Keith O’Brien, author of a page-turner of a group biography,“Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History,” and Brad Richard talks about terrific new developments in the South Louisiana Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.

Here’s what’s on tap in the literary life this week:

  • “The World that Made New Orleans: From Spanish Silver to Congo Square,” by Ned Sublette
  • “Jazzmen,” edited by Frederic Ramsay, with key chapters by William Russell 
  • “New Orleans Jazz: A Family Album,” by Al Rose and Edmond Souchon    
  • “The History of Jazz ,” by Ted Gioia
  • “Louis Armstrong's New Orleans,” by Thomas Brothers
  • “Preservation Hall,” by William Carter
  • “New Orleans Style by Bill Russell,” compiled and Edited by Barry Martyn & Mike Hazeldine
  • “Subversive Sounds: Race and the Birth of Jazz in New Orleans,” by Charles Hersch

This week on The Reading Life: Susan talks with Amy Bonnaffons, whose marvelous debut story collection is “The Wrong Heaven.” Imagine getting a personal phone call from Barack Obama -- what would you ask him? We’ll also hear from Gillian Rodger, author of “Just One of the Boys: Female-to-Male Cross-Dressing on the American Variety Stage.” New Orleans was a big stop on the variety circuit -- remember the Mardi Gras tale of chanteuse Lydia Thompson.

Here’s what’s on tap in the literary life this week:

  •  “Satchmo: My Life in New Orleans,” by Louis Armstrong
  • “Treat It Gentle,” by Sidney Bechet
  • “Under a Hoodoo Moon, The Life of Dr. John, The Nightripper,” by Dr. John (Mac Rebennack) with Jack Rummel
  • “Danny Barker: A Life in Jazz,” recently reissued with Gwen Thompkins introduction
  • “Unfinished Blues: Memories of a New Orleans Music Man,” by Harold Battiste with Karen Celestan
  • “Big Freedia: Love Live the Queen Diva,” by Big Freedia with Nicole Balin
  • “The Brothers: An Autobiography,” by David Ritz with Aaron, Art, Charles and Cyril Neville
  • “Song for My Fathers: A New Orleans Story in Black and White,” by Tom Sancton

 

Susan Larson, host of The Reading Life, talks with local authors and readers about their favorite books from three hundred years of New Orleans literature.

This week on The Reading Life: Susan talks with Louis Maistros, author of “The Sound of Building Coffins,” who has just published a revised, expanded version of this book. Poet Melinda Palacio talks about what went into her most recent collection, “Bird Forgiveness.”

Audio extra: Melinda Palacio read's poem, How to Wash a Duck from “Bird Forgiveness”

July 15 calendar

Susan Larson continues our discussion of food books with Judy Walker about cocktail guides.

This week on The Reading Life: Susan Larson talks with novelist Kent Wascom, whose third novel in the Woolsack saga is “The New Inheritors.” We’ll also hear from Heather Veneziano, one of the editors and contributors to "Gateway to New Orleans, Bayou St. John, 1708-2018,” a gorgeous history/architectural survey of one of the city's most beloved neighborhoods.

Here’s what’s on tap in the literary life this week:

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