Four books to enjoy during hard times

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With a hurricane, a pandemic, heartbreaking international tragedies, political divisions, and back-to-school logistics, books may not erase our sorrows, but they can take us away from the uproar and build community with our fellow readers.

Yes, it’s true: when the world is too much with us, sometimes only a book can provide the momentary escape we need.

Recommendations to take your mind away from worries

If you’re a fan of Louisiana politics or history, take “Backrooms And Bayous: My Life In Louisiana Politics,” a brand new memoir by Louisiana political historian and journalist Robert Mann.

Pelican Press’s August release was praised by policy watchers with its look at Mann’s observations and experiences on everyone since the last Governors. Edwin Edwards and Kathleen Blanco at the old Sens. Russell Long and John Breaux.

“Few have seen Louisiana’s political history closer than Bob Mann,” writes national political consultant James Carville. “‘Backrooms And Bayous’ is essential reading for understanding Louisiana’s political history over the past 40 years.”

Mann holds the Manship Chair in Journalism at LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication and has written political stories about the American Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War, and American Wartime Dissent. He is also the author of “Becoming Ronald Reagan: The Rise of a Conservative Icon”. Prior to joining LSU faculty in 2006, he spent more than 20 years in the political arena, working for three US Senators and a Governor of Louisiana, and is a member of the Louisiana Political Hall of Fame.

To learn more about Mann and his new book: https://backroomsandbayous.com.

Or escape to a hot new romance novel

New Orleans author Farrah Rochon gets great reviews for “The Dating Playbook,” the second in a series about friends reunited thanks to a date they each met online.

A football romance, the new novel addresses (sorry… I couldn’t resist) what happens when a personal trainer agrees to fake a date with his client. “The Dating Playbook,” released last month, received a coveted Kirkus Reviews review.

The Dating Game Book

The parcel

Taylor Powell takes his personal training work seriously. Unfortunately, however, he does not pay the bills and the rent is due. Taylor needs more than the support of her new best friends Samiah and London, whom readers met in “The Boyfriend Project,” the popular first book in this series.

Jamar Dixon just might be the miracle Taylor needs. The oh-so-fine former footballer wants to get back into the NFL, and he wants Taylor to coach him. There is only one problem: no one can know what they are doing. But when they accidentally dated, Taylor’s game plan is completely upended. (This book won’t be spotlessly clean, so if you prefer your romance novels without blasphemy or sex, be forewarned.)

For more information on Rochon, see: https://www.farrahrochon.com.

Join friends, neighbors who read with “One Book One Parish”

We are also fortunate to come together as a community with another acclaimed book this fall: “The Vanishing Half” was voted by readers as the Shreve Memorial Library’s One Book One Parish Choice.

One Book One Parish programming runs throughout October and encourages adults to read and participate in a parish-wide conversation about the selected title. The library’s 21 branches will have special activities for “The Vanishing Half,” including virtual book club discussions, branch exhibits and interactive programs.

“The Vanishing Half,” a moving family story by Brit Bennett, explores issues of race and identity and the enduring influence of the past. After growing up together in a small black community in the south and running away at the age of 16, the twin sisters live totally differently as adults – their families, their communities and their racial identities. Although separated by many kilometers and lies, the fates of the twins remain linked.

Caddo readers picked the novel in the community vote, and the finalists’ picks are also good choices for your reading stack: “Project Hail Mary” by Andy Weir, “Educated” by Tara Westover, and “The Four Winds ”by Kristin Hannah.

Copies of “The Vanishing Half” are available by cash at any branch of the Shreve Memorial Library. For more information: https://www.shreve-lib.org.

An encouraging book, simply because

If you need to breathe deeply, literally or figuratively, take “How To Be Mindful” by Anna Barnes.

How to be attentive

I picked this simple little $ 8 book from among those enticing bargain books in front of Barnes & Noble Booksellers and found it to be a nice diversion in these tough times. With tips on things like taking a break, connecting with others, being grateful, and even bird watching, he offers proven thoughts on stress reduction and satisfaction.

For more: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/how-to-be-mindful-anna-barnes/1124896392.

May reading, whatever genre you prefer, bring peace in these tumultuous days.

Literary columnist Judy Christie is the author of 18 books, including the non-fiction: “Before and After: The Incredible Real-Life Stories of Orphans Who Survived the Tennessee Children’s Home Society,” co-authored with the bestselling author by NYT Lisa Wingate. To subscribe to Christie’s electronic newsletter: www.judychristie.com.


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