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The Reading Life: Adrian Van Young

Susan Larson talks with Adrian Van Young about his new story collection, Midnight Self. 

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

The Friends of the Jefferson Public Library Big Book Sale takes place October 20-22, at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner. Hours are Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m., and Sunday, noon-5 p.m. There will be more than 65,000 used books, CD’s, DVD’s, videos and records. Credit cards only, no checks. Four books will be auctioned this time: “The Civil War Wall Chart”; a reprint of “John James Audubon: The Birds of America”; “Harry Potter: Page to Screen,” by Bob McCabe; and “Botanica's Roses: The Encyclopedia of Roses,” by David Austin.

Joshua Weissman discusses and signs “Texture Over Taste: An Unapologetic Cookbook,” Friday, October 20, at 5 p.m. at Garden District Book Shop.


Author of “Pearls Before Swine” and the New York Times bestselling “Timmy Failure” series, Stephan Pastis read from and sign his latest middle grade novel,, “Looking Up,” Sunday October 22, at 3 p.m. at Garden District Book Shop.

M.R. Fournet signs her New Orleans set middle-grade novel, “Brick Dust and Bones,” Monday, October 23, at 4:30 p.m. at Octavia Books.

Friends, pianists, and entertainers Michael Harold and Quinn Peeper' celebrate their new book, “Classical Shindig: Amateur Artistry from the Simple to the Sublime,” with a book signing and “piano in a truck” concert, Wednesday, October 25, at 6 p.m. at Octavia Books.

Marlene Trestman discusses and signs ‘Most Fortunate Unfortunates: The Jewish Children’s Home of New Orleans,” Wednesday October 25 at 6:30 pm at the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience, and Sunday, October 29 at 4 p.m. with a conversation with Tulane history professor emeritus Larry Powell at Octavia Books.

Kim Wickens discusses and signs “Lexington:” Thursday, October 26, at 6 p.m. at Garden District Book Shop.

Cynthia Newberry Martin discusses signs her new novel, “The Art of Her Life,” and appears in conversation with poet Gina Ferrara Thursday, October 26, at 6 at Octavia Books.

Columbia University professor James Shapiro will present the 33rd Josephine Gessner Ferguson Lecture, “MacBeth in Harlem: The Making of the Federal Theatre’s Greatest Hit,” Thursday, October 26, at 7 p.m. in Rogers Memorial Chapel at Tulane University.

Blue Cypress Books presents an evening with Genna Rose Nethercott, author of “Thistlefoot,”and her traveling puppet theatre, Friday, October 27, at 6 p.m.

Designer June Reese discusses and signs “Iconic Home,” Thursday, October 26, at 6 p.m. at Baldwin & Co. Books. This is a ticketed event.

One Book One New Orleans is currently in the process of choosing the 2024 reading selection. The three finalists are “All This Could Be Yours,” by Jami Attenberg; “I’m Always So Serious” by Karisma Price; and “Black Creole Chronicles,” by Mona Lisa Saloy. Vote on the group’s Facebook page.

The 19th Louisiana Book Festivalis set for Saturday, October 28, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in downtown Baton Rouge's Capitol Park with events and programming in the State Capitol, State Library of Louisiana, Capitol Park Museum, and in tents on neighboring streets. Nearly 200 authors and presenters, ranging from award winners to self-published and debut authors, will discuss their books during more than 100 panels and programs locations throughout the day, followed by book signings.

Among the authors appearing are David Armand, Jack Bedell, Richard Campanella Wendy Chin-Tanner, Andre Dubus II, John Dufresne, Marti Dumas, TR Johnson, Rodney Jones, Christine Kwon, Robert Mann, Karisma Price, Maurice Ruffin, and many others.

The 2023 Louisiana Book Festival will also include the Young Readers Pavilion and Teen HQ with activities and award-winning authors. There will also be food vendors and a wide variety of book-related activities and exhibitors.

For more information about the 2023 Louisiana Book Festival, visit LouisianaBookFestival.org.

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.