Sunday, March 27, 2016

Hearne's latest an authentic collection of Delta life

Dixon Hearne hails from the Delta so it’s natural that his stories delve into the emotions plaguing the region — heartache, prejudice, income disparity, love of family, crime. His recent book, “Delta Flats: Stories in the Key of Blues and Hope” compile some of his best, stories that range from the piney hills of northern Louisiana to the streets of New Orleans.
We follow two young girls sneaking a smoke behind an evangelical tent meeting, a young black man yearning to attend college while his brother fights in Korea and a mother and disfigured child kidnapped that ends with a sliver of hope for them both.
According to a previous story in the News Star, Hearne picked up fodder for his rich stories while accompanying his traveling salesman father along the north Louisiana backroads. Many of the stories in “Delta Flats” revolve around those country stores, their sometimes narrow-minded owners and the lives of the people who shopped there. His stories contain such authentically spoken dialogue and pinpoint details that readers imagine themselves standing in the characters’ shoes.
Hearne spent a good part of his life teaching in Southern California, but recently moved back to Monroe, specifically Sterlington. He is the author of several books, including “Native Voices, Native Lands” and “Plantatia: High-toned and Lowdown Stories of the South,” which was nominated for the Hemingway Foundation/PEN award and won the Creative Spirit Award-Platinum for best general fiction book. His most recent book, “From Tickfaw to Shongaloo,” was runner-up for novella in the 2014 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition. His work has been twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has received numerous other awards.
            For more information on Hearne and his books, including several anthologies and articles, visit

Purses and Shoes
Camille Pavy Claiborne hopes to create conversations about aging with her new book “Purses & Shoes for Sale: The Joys and Challenges of Caring for Elder Parents,” published by Acadian House. “Purses & Shoes For Sale” is a hardcover book about the author’s journey as a caregiver to her elderly parents, packed with suggestions on how to deal with issues encountered by adult children of the elderly. The book includes a section with answers to frequently asked questions, plus a resources section with practical advice, websites and a glossary of terms.
The formal book release party is from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday at the UL-Lafayette Alumni House. For more information, visit
Claibourne will also speak on “The Joys of Aging” at a special dinner Tuesday, April 5, at the Petroleum Club. Sponsored by Our Lady of Lourdes Foundation, the event will discuss caring for parents, planning for the future and exploring the sacred in caregiving. Doors open at 6 p.m., followed by buffet service, a 7 p.m. speech by Claibourne and an 8 p.m. booksigning. Cost is $30; call the Lourdes Foundation at (337) 470-4610, Ext. 2, or email

New releases
            Ashley Weaver of Oakdale is the technical services coordinator for the Allen Parish Libraries and the author of the Amory and Milo Ames mystery series. Her latest novel is “Death Wears a Mask,” a sequel to “Murder at the Brightwell.” Booklist said of her latest novel: “Weaver has followed up her debut novel with another engaging closed-house mystery sure to appeal to Agatha Christie devotees.”
            An innovative book series on American history is “Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales,” which relates important aspect of U.S. history through a graphic novel for young readers. Nathan Hale is the author (yes, that’s his name) and “Alamo All-Stars,” which comes out Tuesday, is the sixth installment in the New York Times bestselling series. The book relates the story of Texas’ fight for independence, spotlighting Jim Bowie, Davy Crockett and other settlers who defended the Alamo.
            Another excellent book to teach children about America without them thinking they’re being taught is the “Junior Ranger Activity Book” by National Geographic Kids. Its choke full of fun facts, photos, games, puzzles, trivia tests, jokes and so much more, all revolving around our national parks. My adult son and I poured over this book, which means you don’t have to be a kid to enjoy it. Since the national parks turns 100 this year, I highly recommend taking this fun-filled book along for the ride and checking out one of our country’s greatest treasures. I guarantee the whole family will be involved.
            Dr. Bill Ebarb presents a chronological history of Natchitoches’ Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts from its inception until the 2013-14 school year, as well as chapters devoted to various aspects of the school’s operation in “Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts — The First 30 Years,” published by Authorhouse. The book also contains short stories about students and events, comments from alumni and a chapter on the Natchitoches High School which serves as the classroom and laboratory home of the Louisiana School. The book is available from Authorhouse and other book retailers. Autographed copies are available through the author who can be contacted at