Sunday, December 6, 2015

James Lee Burke revisits Holland family in new novel

            New Iberia native and New York Times bestselling author James Lee Burke continues the saga of the Holland family from his 2014 novel “Wayfaring Stranger” with his latest novel, the epic “House of the Rising Sun.” The book centers around Texas Ranger Hackberry Holland who at the turn of the 20th century is determined to be reunited with his estranged son, Ishmael.
            The story begins in revolutionary Mexico where Holland is hoping to find his son, serving as a captain in the U.S. Army. Holland discovers a stolen artifact belonging to an Austrian arms dealer at a remote bordello and, after fighting his way out, brings the artifact back to Texas. In the process, this artifact, believed to be the Holy Grail of Christ, brings Ishmael in the crossfires between father and his enemy, while the three women who make up Holland’s life, including Ishmael’s mother, play a part.
The New York Journal of Books wrote of the novel: “James Lee Burke’s finest literary work to date, cementing his reputation as one of America’s all-time masters.”

New releases
Rebecca Vizard of St. Joseph is known for her innovative use of rare antique textiles. She has just released a lovely book spotlighting her collection of pillows and accessories, many of which are sold in Neiman Marcus and have graced the covers of national publications, titled “Once Upon a Pillow: A Story of Home, Design, and Exquisite Textiles.”
The book naturally feature Vizard’s stunning designs but also the landscapes of Louisiana that inspire her. Photos by Antoine Bootz, for instance, juxtapose a foggy morning of bald cypress on a lake with a Vizard pillow sporting 18th century distressed metallic appliqué on French blue velvet. Another shows off the deep reds of an old crepe myrtle that translates to an Ottoman Empire embroidered pillow on top of a green settee with deerskin. It’s a gorgeous exploration of her creations and the environment and history tied to the textiles.
Vizard will be signing copies of her book from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 10, at Material Things and from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 10, at Parterre, both in Monroe.

At the library
            The Shreve Memorial Library and the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry will host a Yule Ball from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11, at the library, 424 Texas St. in Shreveport. Open to students in grades sixth through 12th (must have a completed permission slip to attend) and wizarding attire is encouraged.

Book news
Shane K. Bernard who serves as historian for the McIlhenny Company was appointed a Research Fellow at the Center for Louisiana Studies at the UL Lafayette. His forthcoming book, “Teche: A History of Louisiana’s Most Famous Bayou,” has been accepted for publication by University Press of Mississippi. 

Cheré Dastugue Coen is the author of “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “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 also writes Louisiana romances under the pen name of Cherie Claire, “A Cajun Dream” and “The Letter.” Write her at