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The Reading Life: Tom Piazza

Susan Larson talks with Tom Piazza, whose new novel is The Auburn Conference.

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

Independent Bookstore Day is coming up Saturday, April 29, and New Orleans independent bookstores are teaming up for a city-wide literary "crawl" with a chance at a grand prize drawing for $175 in gift cards, ($25 at each store), along with an HD radio from The Reading Life, for those who visit and get their IBD "passport" stamped at all seven participating stores, including Octavia Books, Baldwin & Co., Blue Cypress Books, Community Book Center, Frenchmen Art & Books, Garden District Bookshop, and Tubby & Coo’s Mid-City Book Shop. The New Orleans Passport Challenge will take place over two weeks instead of just one day! Pick up your "passport" at any of the participating stores; get it stamped at each stop along the way; and turn it in at your last. You will have until May 13 to visit all seven stores.

Brad Richard leads a poetry workshop Sunday, April 30, from 4-6 p.m. at Blue Cypress Books.

Tom Piazza appears with Roy Blount, Jr. and Sister Helen Prejean to launch his new novel, “The Auburn Conference,” Monday, May 1, at 6 p.m. at Blue Cypress Books; he also appears Wednesday, May 3, at 6 p.m. at Octavia Books.

Jessamyn Violet appears in conversation with Abram Himelstein and signs “Secret Rules of Being a Rock Star,” Tuesday, May 2, at 6 p.m. at Garden District book Shop.

Marti Dumas appears with Dhonielle Clayton and signs “Charmed Life,” the second volume in her Wildseed Witch series, Tuesday, May 2, at 6 p.m. at Blue Cypress Books.

Michelle Miller signs “Belonging: A Daughter’s Search for Identity through Loss and Love,” Wednesday, May 3, at 3 p.m. at Garden District Book Shop.

The Friends of the UNO Library Spring Program, Confronting Censorship in Louisiana Libraries, takes place Wednesday, May 3, at 5 p.m. at the Earl K. Long University of New Orleans Library room 407. The panel discussion will be moderated by Roby Chavez, Correspondent for the PBS NewsHour, who appears with Jennifer Thiele, LSU School of Library and Information Science, A’Niya Robinson, Advocacy Strategist for Louisiana ACLU, and Patricia Austin, UNO Professor of Children’s Literature, Room 407.

Lee Durkee discusses and signs “Stalking Shakespeare: A Memoir of Madness, Murder, and My Search for the Poet Beneath the Paint,” Wednesday, May 3, at 6 p.m. at Garden District Book Shop.

Bayou Magazine is having its first launch party since the pandemic began. Celebrate the new issue Thursday, May 4, at 5:30 p.m. at Windowsill Pies.

Jamilla Minnicks discusses and signs “Moonrise Over New Jessup,” Thursday, May 4, at 6 p.m. at Baldwin & Co. Bookstore.

Kevin Griffin discusses and signs “The Greatest Song: Spark Creativity, Ignite Your Career, and Transform Your Life,” Thursday, May 4, at 6 p.m. at Octavia Books.

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.