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The Reading Life: Bob Mann


Susan Larson talks with Bob Mann about his new book, “Backrooms and Bayous: My Life in Louisiana Politics.”

Here’s what’s on tap in the literary life this week
And just a reminder: with evolving COVID restrictions, best to check with venues before attending in-person events, and be sure to mask up.

The Octavia Books Book Club is discussing Jodi Picoult's “Small Great Things,” Saturday, August 21 at 10:30 a.m.

Bob Mann discusses and signs “Backrooms and Bayous: My Life in Louisiana Politics,” Saturday, August 21, from 11-1 at Barnes & Noble in Metairie, and again Saturday, August 28, from noon -2 p.m. at Barnes & Noble in Harvey.

Tubby and Coo’s Mid-City Book Shop is sponsoring a virtual Romance Day August 21 and 22. There will be a virtual book fair and a panel featuring Sharon Lynn Fisher (“The Warrior Poet”), Everina Maxwell (“Winter’s Orbit”), Jessie Mihalik (“Chaos Reigning”), and Elizabeth Lim (Six Crimson Cranes), Sunday, August 22 at 1 p.m. Register at to attend.

L.F. Ranner discusses and signs her novel, “Sailing to Byzantium,” Sunday, August 22, at 3 p.m. at Octavia Books.

Bruce Spizer, a New Orleans lawyer and internationally recognized expert on The Beatles, will discuss the fourth book in his Beatles album series, The Beatles Finally Let It Be, at 6 p.m., Monday, Aug. 23, via video conference online. Visit for more details, including how to join the discussion.

Merissa Nathan Gerson discusses and sings her memoir. “Forget Prayers, Bring Cake: A Single Woman’s Guide to Grieving,” Tuesday, August 24 from 6 to 7 p.m, at the Broad Theater. Please pre-order books at Octavia Books.

Maurice Carlos Ruffin discusses and signs “The Ones Who Don’t Say They Love You,” Tuesday, August 24, at 6 p.m. at Blue Cypress Books, and again Tuesday, August 31 at 6 p.m. at Octavia Books.

James Lee Burke appears in a virtual conversation with Colette Bancroft to discuss "Another Kind of Eden," Thursday, August 26, at 6, sponsored by Garden District Book Shop. Go to for tickets.

Jonathan Santlofer discusses his book, “The Last Mona Lisa,” with Tom Piazza, Thursday, August 26, at 6 at Octavia Books.

And congratulations to Mona Lisa Saloy, the new Louisiana State Poet Laureate. Her first book, Red Beans & Ricely Yours, won the T.S. Eliot Prize and the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Award. Her second book is Second Line Home. Mona Lisa is a New Orleans native, an author, folklorist and educator who teaches at Dillard University.

The Reading Life in 2010, Susan Larson was the book editor for The New Orleans Times-Picayune from 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.