Monday, September 26, 2011

Civil War title marks anniversary

This year marks the beginning of 150th anniversary of the American Civil War. For history buffs, re-enactors and those wanting to know more about war, there’s been a rush of new titles.
Lyons Press has published a handy “The Civil War 150: An Essential To-Do List for the 150th Anniversary” by the Civil War Trust, a non-profit battlefield preservation organization. The book is comprised much like a travel guide, with references to the battlefields open to the public throughout the United States. In Louisiana, there’s Port Hudson, for instance, the last Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River. Port Hudson fell after learning that Vicksburg surrendered after a 47-day siege by Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. The Vicksburg National Military Park, naturally, is also included in the book. The book is not a comprehensive guide, however. The authors trimmed a list of more than 1,000 places to an essential 150. Mansfield State Historic Site, for instance, is not included.
“My ultimate goal was to assemble 150 things that every Civil War enthusiast should do encompassing a topical and geographic variety that would appeal to an array of people, and I hope I succeeded,” writes Gerry Adelman in the book’s introduction, director of history and education for the Civil War Trust.
Regardless, it’s an excellent reference guide, with a fun check-off list in the back for those who want to document their travels. There’s also a quick reference guide, a “books to bullets” section that explains the elements of the era and things you can do while visiting historic sites, and handy maps. The authors hope the book will help inspire visitors to these battlefields and monuments to help preserve them for future generations.

New Releases
Maya Seymour of New Orleans was named after her mother’s favorite author, Maya Angelou, a good sign if your ambitions are to be writer. This year Seymour has published her debut novel, a love story between a black attorney and a white judge with ties to the Klan, titled “Gray Love: A Black and White Affair.” The book is published by Booklocker Inc. and is available online from Amazon and
The skies are darkening and animal are heading to Noah’s Ark, but two snails are slowly inching forward in the children’s book “Why Snails Are Slow” by Lafayette’s Terry L. Bethea, illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz. The book is published through Tate Publishing,, (888) 361-9473. For an autographed copy (and the only place to purchase a hard-back edition), visit the author's web site at
Ron Usry of Mississippi has set a captivating mystery in Louisiana, the first in his “Houseboat Thriller” series. In “Return to Justice,” Tool O’Bear leaves  Stonewood, Louisiana, after being framed for raping a rich girl. He is given the choice of going to prison or enlisting in the military. He chooses the latter and ends up a happy man in New Hampshire, until he gets a call 22 years later informing his sister has gone missing. Now Tool must face his past and solve a mystery. For information, visit
Two new cookbooks incorporating fresh ingredients into fun, healthy dishes are “Cucina Povera: Tuscan Peasant Cooking” by Pamela Sheldon Jones and “Plum Gorgeous: Recipes and Memories from the Orchard” by Romney Steele. Both books offer a smaller, square format, complementing recipes with stories, anecdotes and beautiful photography. And both authors agree that it’s time to slow down and enjoy the pleasures of eating well with good company. Bon appetite!

FOW Contest
The Festival of Words student writing contest, open to Acadiana students in grades 6-12, is now on for poetry, fiction or creative nonfiction. Students may enter one piece from those three categories by Oct. 15. First, second and third place winners will receive certificates at an awards ceremony at the South St. Landry Parish Community Library at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 3. There will be readings by guest poets and an open mic that evening as well. For a copy of the guidelines and entry forms, visit or email me at

The Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library will host five creative writing WordShops at the State Library of Louisiana, the Capitol Park Welcome Center and the Capitol Park Museum on Oct. 28, the day before the eighth annual Louisiana Book Festival. WordShops focus on writing styles including memoir, poetry and creative nonfiction. Registration is $40 for half-day WordShops and $75 for full day. The fee for attending both a morning and afternoon WordShop is $75. To register, call Charlene Moore at (225) 219-0946 or download the registration form at

Book events
The Writer’s Guild of Acadiana meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 27, at Barnes & Noble, 5707 Johnston St. in Lafayette.
The film “The Milagro Beanfield War” will be shown at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29, at the South Regional Branch Library, 6101 Johnston St., as part of Hispanic Heritage Month. There will be a “Movie Coffee Break” at 8 p.m. to discuss the movie and the John Nichols book on which it was based.
Casa Azul Gifts in Grand Coteau will host a poetry reading by Nicole Poret, followed by an open mic, concluding with a dramatic reading of Jo Englerth’s and Bonnie Camos’ “The Gris Gris Sisters” performed by Patricia Cravins and Becca Begnaud at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29. This free event is appropriate for all ages, and is sponsored by The Festival of Words, Frederick L’Ecole Des Arts and the Thensted Center. For more information, contact Patrice Melnick at (337) 662-1032 or