Monday, February 4, 2013

New book sees introverts in new light

             I’ve never shied away from a good time, leading a pack or speaking in front of a group. Anyone who remembers me from my LSU days will attest to that. But on a daily basis, I prefer the solitude of my home, penning this column, writing books and taking walks with the dog.
            It never occurred to me that I might be an “introvert.” 
             It’s not what you think. That’s the best way to describe Sophia Dembling’s book, “The Introvert’s Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World.” Dembling insists being an “introvert” is not about being anti-social or shy. It’s not about being a wallflower. It’s about feeling bombarded in loud social situations, about preferring solitude when others crave a party or enjoying one-on-one conversations.
            “I don’t hate people,” Dembling writes in the book’s introduction. “I’m not unfriendly or stuck-up. I’m not shy, socially awkward, or in any way (that I know of) social inept. I am perfectly capable of carrying on a conversation. I can even speak in public and do so fairly often. To meet me, you might think I’m extroverted. But I’m not.”
            I have met Dembling and if you buy into the stereotypical image of an introvert she is trying to dismiss in her book, she doesn’t fit the mold. And that’s precisely why she wrote the book, to dispel the myths and to give people who prefer less of a social life a jolt of self-esteem. Her book also calls into question society’s need to honor the more social, psychologists’ views of introverts and brain mechanics that might divide people into the two groups.
            It’s a small but valuable read and a wonderful new guide for those who appreciate the quiet side of life.

Romance in Lafayette
            Three best-selling romance authors will be visiting Lafayette on Feb. 16 to discuss their latest joint effort, “The Lady Most Willing…,” a novel in three parts. Set in the fairy-tale realm of Regency Scotland, authors Julia Quinn, Eloisa James and Connie Brockway will discuss their book, plus talk about the romance genre in an event titled “Stories With Heart: A Valentine’s Day Romance Author Panel Discussion” at the South Regional Library.
             Local author Deborah LeBlanc will moderate the 2 p.m. talk, and refreshments will be provided. A book sale and signing will follow the presentation.
            The book follows on the heels of “The Lady Most Likely…” (Avon), which debuted at No. 8 on the New York Times Bestsellers list in December 2010. All three authors are New York Times bestselling writers. Quinn and James are graduates of Harvard and Brockway is a multiple award-winning novelist.
            “The Lady Most Willing…” is now on sale in bookstores and as an ebook.

Humanities series
            The UL-Lafayette Friends of the Humanities will offer a “Books and Films” course highlighting New Orleans, meeting from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Feb. 20 through March 20, in Room 321 of Griffith Hall on the UL campus. The series will be taught by UL professor of English Dr. Mary Ann Wilson. 
            The cost is $75 for Friends of the Humanities members and $100 for others.             The highlight of the class will be a visit from author Ben Sandmel on March 6 to discuss his biography, “Ernie K-Doe: The R & B Emperor of New Orleans.”  The group will also read and discuss New Orleans-inspired short stories, the novel, “Almost Innocent” by Sheila Bosworth, and selections from the HBO television series, “Tremé.”  
             For those interested in attending the series, contact Wilson at (337) 298-0406 or email 
            Friends of the Humanities was established in 1989 as a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the role of the interdisciplinary humanities at UL Lafayette and in Acadiana; providing various means of support to the College of Art and the College of Liberal Arts; and strengthening the resources of UL's humanities program.

Spring Book Sale
            The Friends of the Lafayette Parish Library Spring Book Sale will be March 6-10 at the Heymann Convention Center ballroom, 1373 S. College.
            Due to the renovations of the main library downtown, Friends are asking people who wish to donate books to drop them off at the Library’s working warehouse on Refinery Street and Pinhook Road, located next to the Habitat for Humanity Restore. Warehouse dropoff hours are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursdays; please ring the bell near the entrance for assistance. Staff members will be on hand to issue receipts for tax purposes.
            For more information or to become a member of the Friends of the Library, call 261-5781 or 501-9209.

Louisiana titles
            Through news sources, libraries, Facebook and many other outlets, I come across numerous authors publishing works today. The amount of authors in Louisiana is astounding. Here are a few I have gathered from the Terrebonne Parish Library’s web page when they hosted a recent local author’s day.
            In 1954 Johnnie Frank Griffin, the father of author Franklin Griffin, witnessed the violent death of Attorney General-elect Albert Patterson of Alabama. Six months later he told a grand jury what he knew and the next day he was stabbed. Griffin tells the tale in “Touched by Fire,” intersecting with mob bosses and CIA operations. For information, visit
            Ashleigh Blanchard of Montegut has published the young adult paranormal romance novel “Katia’s Stone” (based in Montegut) and the young adult novel, “Love Lies and Pregnancy.”
            Multi-published author Rhonda Dennis offers “The Green Bayou Novels” consisting of “Going Home,” “Awakenings,” “Déjà vu” and “Unforeseen,” fast-paced romantic suspense set in the sultry swamps of South Louisiana. To get a taste, visit
            Clifford and Diane LeGrange have produced a gorgeous coffee table book about the culture, folk life and physical landscape at the confluence of Bayou Pigeon and Grand River from the early 1800s to the present day in “Bayou Pigeon, Louisiana Spirit of the Atchafalaya.” For information, visit
            Jon Paul Olivier has penned a novel, “To Be Ordinary,” concerning Archie, who comes to the United States to attend college as far away from his father and to be ordinary like his friends. When he meets Erica, Archie struggles to reconcile who he wants to be with who he should be.
            Gibbens Robichaux has written a book about monkeys at a wedding and dealing with a hurricane, a lost girl and the president of the United States in “Monkeyworks.” Read more at
            Brigett Scott’s second novel, “The Game Warden’s Catch,” is a Boudreaux and Thibodaux fairy tale and the first in a planned series of Cajun love stories by the author. Beau Thibodaux is a Louisiana game warden who has his hands full with his new job. He gets more than he bargained for when Jolie Boudreaux walks through his office door with questions about a fishing violation he gave to her dead grandfather. Scott has also written a children’s book with her daughter Sabrina Scott titled “What’s That in Mom’s Belly?,” about a little girl scared about becoming a big-sister. For information, visit
             Veteran author June Shaw has published a new suspence novel titled “Approaching Menace,” where a young woman with a phobia of bad weather moves to the Gulf Coast to help her flighty mother take care of her ill little brother. When a hurricane develops, so does a killer whose attraction to his victims is their fear. For information, visit
            Jessica Tastet’s “Muddy Grave” takes place in Barbeaux Bayou, where resident traiteur Raleigh Cheramie stumbles across a local dead girl and the top suspects are the people closest to her. For information and to read excerpts, visit
            Ollie Voelker follows an Acadian family when they are exiled from Nova Scotia in 1755 in “Home at Last: An Acadian Journey.” Once in Maryland, the Martin family survives 11 years of hardship, hunger and discrimination. Always holding on to hope, however, they eventually make their way to Louisiana.

Cheré Coen is the author of “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” She teaches writing at UL-Lafayette’s Continuing Education. Write her at