Louisiana Book Festival 2014

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The 2014 Louisiana Book Festival is this Saturday, November 1, from 10-5, in downtown Baton Rouge at the State Library of Louisiana, the State Capitol, the Capitol Park Museum, and nearby locations.

Whether you’re young or old, just can’t get enough of poetry or love to cook up some great Louisiana dishes, this national award-winning event has something for every book lover.

The Louisiana Book Festival is your chance to meet exceptional writers while enjoying book-related activities and presentations. Don’t forget to stop by our Library tent as we unveil our 2015 One Book, One Community selection.

Zodiac Killer Author Event

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Local author Gary Stewart will discuss his most recent book, The Most Dangerous Animal of All: Searching for My Father and Finding the Zodiac Killer, at a free event on Wednesday, October 29, at 7 p.m. at the Main Library at Goodwood.

The book, co-written with Susan Mustafa, traces Stewart’s search for his birth father. Abandoned by his father as a baby in an apartment building in Baton Rouge, his birth parents were arrested and Stewart was adopted by a couple. After his birth mother contacted him years later, Stewart began searching for his birth father, Earl Van Best, Jr., and his search led him to believe Best was the so-called Zodiac Killer, the northern California serial killer of the 1960s, an unsolved case to this day.

Please note: The October issue of The Source incorrectly lists the True Crime Book Club as a separate meeting. The True Crime Book Club will attend this author event in lieu of a book discussion this month. The club will resume regular meetings next month with a discussion of Green River Running Red by Ann Rule on Wednesday, November 19.

Book Review: Madam

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Madam: A Novel of New Orleans by Cari Lynn and Kellie Martin. Reviewed by Louise Hilton. 

Madam is set in 1897 New Orleans and centered around Mary Deubler, a prostitute in Venus Alley, a seedy area of the city that would soon be formally incorporated as the official red-light district known as Storyville. Mary is a well-developed character, perhaps due in part to the fact that she is based on the real-life Josie Arlington, one of the future Storyville’s most infamous madams.

We follow her trajectory from her time as Mary, the impoverished streetwalker with dreams for a better life for herself and her family to her reemergence as Josie, the refined and glamorous doyenne of one of the city’s so-called “sporting establishments”. The authors certainly capture the raucous environment of the Big Easy, replete with salacious details of the seedy underworld scene, licentious politicians, and cameos from colorful notables including Louis Armstrong and “Jelly Roll” Morton.

Having grown up in Louisiana, I had a few quibbles with some of the setting details: jambalaya does not have beans in it as the authors mention in one scene; it’s a café au lait that they serve at Café du Monde, not a “coffee au laits”; and we call them crawfish down here, never crayfish. Shudder. Overall though, Madam is an entertaining read.

NB: This review first appeared in The Advocate (Baton Rouge, La.) on 10/19/14.

Author Event: Clive Thompson

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Author Clive Thompson, a longtime contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired, will speak at 7 p.m. this Friday, September 26, at the Main Library at Goodwood. This is the Library’s first “after hours” event, and we will kick it off with a festive rebio-cliveception (on the third-floor terrace garden if the weather is good) beginning at 6 pm. His new book is Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the Better. It’s the perfect choice to help us celebrate 75 years of evolving Library services.

As a child growing up in Toronto in the 1970s and ’80s, Thompson became fascinated with the first “home computers”, the ones you plugged into your TV, like the Commodore 64, and programmed using BASIC. When he became a magazine writer in the 1990s, smarter-than-you-thinkthe Internet erupted into the mainstream, and he began reporting on how digital tools — everything from email to digital photography to instant messaging — was changing society.

Today, Thompson is one of the most prominent technology writers, respected for his long-form magazine stories that go beyond the headlines and harness the insights of science, literature, history, and philosophy. He specializes in writing not only on the inventors of technologies but on the often unpredictable ways in which everyday people use them. Thompson also writes for Mother Jones and Smithsonian magazines.

Banned Books Week 2014

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banned-books-week-2014September 21-27 is Banned Books Week! It’s a celebration of the freedom to read under the protection of the First Amendment. Visit our Banned Books Week InfoGuide.

Find out more about banned books on the American Library Association site (ALA) and the Banned Books Week site. You can participate in the Banned Books Virtual Read-Out by creating videos on the virtues of the freedom to read. They will be featured on a dedicated YouTube channel.

According to the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom, these were the most challenged books of 2013. How many have you read?

1) Captain Underpants (series) by Dav Pilkey
Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence

2) The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited for age group

3) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

4) Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James
Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

5) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group

6) A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl by Tanya Lee Stone
Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit

7) Looking for Alaska by John Green
Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

8) The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

9) Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
Reasons: Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit

10) Bone (series) by Jeff Smith
Reasons: Political viewpoint, racism, violence