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The Reading Life With Jon Michael Varese And Renee Hodges


This week on The Reading Life: Jon Michael Varese, whose gorgeous debut novel is “The Spirit Photographer," and Renee Hodges, author of “Saving Bobby: Heroes and Heroin in One Small Community.”

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

  • Renee Hodges discusses and signs “Saving Bobby: Heroes and Heroin in One Small Community,” Tuesday, May 8, at 6 p.m. at Garden District Book Shop.
  • Rosemary James discusses “William Faulkner in New Orleans” at the meeting of the Friends of the Jefferson Public Library Wednesday, May 9, at 10 a.m. at the East Bank Regional Library in Metairie.
  • Former Tulane University president Scott Cowen. Cowen discusses and signs his new book, “Winnebagos on Wednesdays: How Visionary Leadership Can Transform Higher Education,” Wednesday, May 9, at 7 p.m. at the New Orleans Advocate, 840 St. Charles Ave. This is a ticketed event, but tickets are free, and you can reserve yours at event
  • Marc Matrana discusses and signs “Southern Splendor: Saving Architectural Treasures of the Old South,” Thursday, May 10, at 6 p.m. at Garden District Book Shop.
  • Lisa Poche Calhoun discusses her science fiction novel, “Superflare – The Fortunate Ones,” Thursday, May 10, at 7 p.m. at East Bank Regional Library in Metairie.
  • Jon Michael Varese discusses and signs “The Spirit Photographer,” Friday, May 11 at 6 p.m. at the Beauregard-Keyes House when he appears in conversation with Rosana Cruz of Race Forward; he also appears in conversation with Tulane University’s Rosanne Adderly, Saturday,  May 12 at 4 p.m. Community Book Center..
  • A happy reminder: Saturday, May 12 is Independent Bookstore Day in New Orleans. Celebrate it at your local indie. These stores— Blue Cypress Books, Garden District Bookshop, Octavia Books, and Tubby and Coo’s Mid-City Bookshop – will feature special merchandise and a scavenger hunt. Enjoy!
  • Participants from the In the Garden Writers' Workshop hosted by poet Delia Tomino Nakayama, present a  Reading in the Garden,Saturday, May 12, from 2-4 p.m. at the Alvar Branch Library of the New Orleans Public Library.
  • 100,000 Poets for Change presents a Wetlands Poetry Tourhas changed -- Poetry for Okwata, "Spirit Water," Lake Pontchartrain, Okalok, the Gulf of Mexico, and your local bayou Bonfouca or St. John. The event features Paul Catafago, Jonathan Penton, Jessica Mashael Bordelon, Valentine Pierce, Gina Ferrara, Liz Garcia & Dennis Formento, Saturday, May 12, from 2-4 p.m. at Antenna Gallery, 3512 St. Claude Ave.
  • Just a reminder: The Main Library of the New Orleans Public Library is closed through May 13 for renovations.

Coming up: Whitney Stewart, author of “What’s On Your Plate? Exploring the World of Food,” and “Mindful Me: Mindfulness and Meditation for Kids.” She will be part of Raising Kind Kids in Today’s World One-Day seminar, Wednesday, May 16, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Ace Hotel, 600 Carondelet St. for parents, educators, therapist grandparents and caring adults. Go for ticket information.

Also getting close: June 1-3 is the annual Walker Percy Weekend in West Feliciana Parish, with an emphasis this year on the work of Shelby Foote as well. Check out to buy tickets; the event is headquartered at Conundrum Books in St. Francisville.

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.