Book Notes, Talking About Books

EBRPL Book, EBRPL Book Notes

Book Notes is a monthly email newsletter written by Gerald Lively. If you would like to sign up for his newsletter, please email him at We are going to be publishing excerpts from his newsletter in InfoBlog, thanks Gerald!

Here are interesting stories about books from the Talking About Books section of the newsletter:

Talking about Books . . .
The August 2012 issue of inRegister has a very nice article about Danny Plaisance, the owner of Cottonwood Books on Perkins Road.  Cottonwood Books may be the only remaining independent book store in Baton Rouge.  The article is on page 45.  Note: in order to read the article on the internet, you may have to install a special program called RealRead, but the images you get from the magazine as a result are stunning.
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Three boys – first cousins – were born within a 12 month period in Ferriday, Louisiana.  One would become a pioneer in rock and roll, another would become a popular evangelist, and the third would become a recording artist with 17 number one hits and part owner of the largest honky-tonk in the world.   They are the subjects of Unconquered: The Saga of Cousins Jerry Lee Lewis, Jimmy Swaggart, and Mickey Gilley by J. D. Davis.  You can read a review of the book here.  There are three copies in the EBR Parish Library (BR Room 927.82 D262u).
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WQXR Public Radio in New York City has an article in which opera singers and conductors list the books they are reading this summer.  What may make this interesting to you is that two of the highlighted singers are Lisette Oropesa (born in New Orleans, raised in Baton Rouge), and Elizabeth Futral (born in North Carolina, raised in Covington).  Read the article here.
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Kathryn Erskine, the author of Mockingbird, lists her top 10 first person narratives in an article for The Guardian. Also from The Guardian we have Will Eaves’ top 10 sibling stories.  Eaves’ most recent book is This Is Paradise.
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In the early 1950s Edward R. Murrow encouraged people, both famous and ordinary, to write short essays on their core values, and then to read them on a five minute long CBS radio program called This I BelieveThis I Believe was revived on National Public Radio (NPR) from 2005 to 2009.  It is now a feature of Bob Edwards Weekend on Public Radio International (PRI).  Some of the original broadcasts from the 1950s series can be heard hereThis I Believe has its own website at  There you can find the programs plus a list of books that are made up of the essays.  Some of the books are available through the EBR Parish Library. Some of the original Murrow programs are collected in a book entitled Edward R. Murrow’s This I Believe: Selections from the 1950s Radio Series.
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One of the fun things about reading fiction is that we have to use our imaginations to visualize what the story’s characters look like.  What does Emma Bovary look like in your imagination?  How about Dr. Moriarty or Humbert Humbert?  The Atlantic Magazine ran an article in which a police sketch program was used to draw composites of the above mentioned literary characters and many more.  In all cases, descriptions from the books in which they “appear” were used to create the images.  You can read the Atlantic article and see the sketches here.  Go to the official Composites site to see more images.
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Author and gadfly Gore Vidal recently died at the age of 86.  His books include Myra Breckenridge, Burr and Lincoln.  He was also known for his sharp tongue, and for his spats with luminaries such as William F. Buckley, Norman Mailer and Truman Capote.  You can read more about Vidal at the following sites: Washington Post Obituary. Daily Telegraph Obituary. Time Obituary.
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During the Christmas season of 2010 Justin Rowe, senior bookseller at the Cambridge University Press Bookshop in Cambridge, England decided to try an original window display.  Though he had never done book sculpture before, he decided to give it a try.  His creations, which drew big crowds and resulted in exhibits of his work, are shown at Arts in the Right Place and Days Fall Like Leaves.

The above reminds me of some spectacular book sculpture that I featured in this newsletter many months ago.  It seems that there is someone in Edinburgh, Scotland who has mysteriously created some VERY intricate book sculptures and placed them in different places throughout the city – places where they were sure to be found.  No one knows if the sculptor is a man or a woman, but one certainty is that he/she has a fantastic imagination. Below are two links to photos of these magnificent artworks.  First, go to NPR for The Library Phantom Returns and then (even better) try Mysterious Paper Sculptures.
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Ralph Fiennes as Charles Dickens?  Yes, Fiennes will portray Dickens in a film (which he will also direct) based on Claire Tomalin’s 1991 book The Invisible Woman: The Story of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens.  At age 45 Dickens began a 13 year affair with actress Nelly Ternan who was 18 at the time.  Nelly will be portrayed by Felicity Jones.  For more on the story, go to this article.  Click here to see Fiennes as Dickens and Jones as Ternan.  The release date for the movie has not been finalized yet.

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