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The Reading Life with Amy Bonnaffons and Gillian Rodger

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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:

Historian Carolyn Kolb discusses “The History of Hurricanes,” Wednesday, Aug. 1, at 7 p.m. at the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon, Metairie.

Justin Nystrom discusses and signs his new book, “Creole Italian: Sicilian Immigrants and the Shaping of New Orleans Food Culture,” Thursday, August 2, at 6 p.m. at Octavia Books. 

Kimberla Lawson Roby discusses "Better Late Than Never," the final book in her Curtis Black series,  Thursday, August 2, at 6 p.m. at the Magnolia Pavilion Theatre at Baton Rouge Community College, sponsored by Between the Lines Bookstore.

The East Bank Regional Library in Metairie is presenting The Tricentennial Literary Festival, 300 years of Literature, Tuesday, August 4, at the Library. Susan Larson kicks things off with some thoughts on New Orleans writing at 9:30 a.m.. Historian Patricia Brady talks about the role of such outsiders as Lafcadio Hearn and Frances Parkinson Keyes at 11, followed by Emily Toth presenting “Kate Chopin’s Secrets” at 12:30. The event concludes with cookbook author Cynthia Lejeune Nobles on “Ignatius J. Reilly - A Very Lucky Dog” at 2 p.m.

Amy Bonnaffons discusses and signs “The Wrong Heaven,” Monday, August 6, at 6 p.m. at Garden District Book Shop.

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.