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The Reading Life with Michael Allen Zell and Lou Berney


This week on The Reading Life:  Thrillers! Michael Allen Zell, author of “City Krystal Soulman,” the latest in his New Orleans-set Bobby Delery series, and Lou Berney, author of “November Road,” a thriller which takes off from the Kennedy assassination and imagines the Carlos Marcello empire. Sunday at noon, Tuesday at 1:30, and Wednesday at 8. 

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

  • Sunday, October 21, is the last day of The Friends of the Jefferson Public Library Big Book SaleIt takes place from noon-5 p.m. at the Pontchartrain Center, 4545 Williams Blvd. at the Lake, Kenner.
  • Sybil Morial signs the paperback edition of her memoir, “Witness to Change: From Jim Crow to Political Empowerment,” Tuesday, October 23, at 6 p.m. at Octavia Books.
  • Michael Allen Zell signs “City Krystal Soulman,” Tuesday, October 23, at 6 p.m. at Garden District Book Shop.
  • Anne Boyd Rioux, professor of English at the University of New Orleans, will discuss her newest book, “Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters”Tuesday, Oct. 23, at 7 p.m. at the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon, Metairie.
  • Maurice Carlos Ruffin reads and discusses his work, Thursday, October 25, at noon at the Tim Baker Auditorium at Delgado Community College.
  • Tyler Bridges signs the updated paperback edition of his biography, “The Rise and Fall of David Duke,” Thursday, October 25, at 6 p.m. at Octavia Books.
  • Poppy Tooker signs “Pascal’s Manale Cookbook: A Family Tradition,” Thursday, October 25, at 6 p.m. at Garden District Book Shop.
  • River Road Publishing presents seven local authors discussing their books, Thursday, October 25, at 7 p.m. at the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon, Metairie. The authors are Yvonne Spear Perret, author of “The Little Float that Could,” and “Simon of New Orleans”Erin Rovin, author of “Little Laveau: A Magical Bedtime Story” and “Little Laveau: Bayou Beware”; Michael and Sarah Hewes, authors of “The Tempestuous Trial of Maybelline Meriweather”; Cornell Landry, whose most recent book is “Goodnight to da Parish”; Alexis Braud, author of “Bayou Ballet,” “One Two, Rougarou,” and “Gumbo: A Magical Bayou Tale”; Johnette Downing, whose most recent book is “Who Got the Baby in the King Cake.”; and John Magill, author of “The Incomparable Magazine Street.”
  • Dogfish presents Rita Bullwinkel and Maurice Carlos Williams reading Thursday, October 27, at 7 p.m. at 2448 N. Villere.
  • Rien Fertel discusses and signs his book,Drive-By Truckers' Southern Rock Opera,”  Saturday, October 27, at 6:30 p.m. at The Church of Yoga, 1480 N Rocheblave St. There will be free red beans and rice and a southern rock dance party to follow.
  • The Louisiana Creole Association presents its annual conference “300 Years in Creole New Orleans: Family Researchers Tell Their Stories, Saturday, October 27, beginning at 9 a.m. at Xavier University. For more information, visit
  • Brian Kilmeade discusses his book “Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans” with historian Ron Drez, Sunday, October 28, at 1 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center, 5342 St. Charles Ave. Tickets are available at Octavia Books.
  • Tracey Duncan will be teaching a six-week course, Writing as Becoming, November 5-December 10, Mondays from 6:30-9 at the Dragonfly, 3921 St. Claude Ave. For registration and fees,
  • The Louisiana Book Festival is coming up November 10 on the grounds of the State Capital in Baton Rouge, with a full day’s programming by Louisiana writers. An important offering is the series of WordShops for aspiring writers at the State Library Friday. November 9, with such well-known writers as Suzanne Hudson and Joe Formichella, Josh Wheeler, Jonathan Evison and Tessa Fontaine. Sign up now, as these fill up quickly. For information about fees and registration, go to The Festival is also looking for volunteers; check out the web site for info.
  • Also coming up: Words and Music: A Literary Feast in New Orleans, takes place November 15-18, headquartered at the Renaissance New Orleans Pere Marquette Hotel. Among the authors appearing are Leah Chase, Justin Nystrom, Jason Berry in conversation with TR Johnson, Kelly Harris DeBerry in conversation with Melissa Weber, DJ Soul Sister; Kim Vaz DeVille, Alison Pelegrin, James Nolan, Peter Cooley, Nicole Cooley, and Maurice Carlos Ruffin. For more information, check out the Facebook page.
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.