Sunday, October 2, 2016

New Orleans artist Beard explains 'Brush with Nature'

             One of the most innovative children’s author and illustrator lives in New Orleans, also working as an acclaimed painter. I’ve enjoyed Alex Beard’s books over the years and he now has a new title out — one for the big readers — titled “A Brush with Nature: Abstract Naturalism and the Painting of Life.” I wish I could explain more about this coffee table book besides the blurb (I didn’t get a review copy) but the book describes Beard’s unique style of painting called Abstract Naturalism, which combines abstract expressionism with naturalist environmental art. Many have likened his “abstract visual arithmetic” to the works of visual mathematician M.C. Escher.
            Beard will discuss his book and sign copies at 6 p.m. Thursday at Octavia Books in New Orleans.

New releases
Fun children’s books to consider this fall include:
Ada Marie Twist doesn’t talk until she’s three but then she can’t stop asking questions in Andrea Beaty’s “Ada Twist, Scientist,” an adorable rhyming board book that celebrates the curious child. Ada Twist drives her parents mad with her ponderings but eventually they get in on the act “because that’s what you do when your kid has a passion and heart that is true.”
It’s a fabulous book dedicated to those girls and women who delve into science. Ada Marie is named for two real-life science pioneers, Ada Lovelace and Marie Curie.
Beaty, and illustrator David Roberts, are the creators of “Iggy Peck, Architect;” “Rosie Revere, Engineer” and “Happy Birthday, Madame Chapeau.” “Rosie Revere, Engineer” is currently orbiting Earth about the International Space Station as part of the Story Time from Space program.
Other cute rhyming books for very young readers are “What’s an Apple?” and “What’s a Banana?” by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by Greg Pizzoli.  Both incorporate fun text with imaginative illustrations to spotlight each fruit.

Book events
Ethan Brown will discuss and sign copies of his new book “Murder in the Bayou: Who Killed the Women Known as the Jeff Davis 8,” at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Barnes & Noble in Lafayette.
            As part of its upcoming exhibition “Goods of Every Description: Shopping in New Orleans, 1825–1925,” The Historic New Orleans Collection will host a book signing from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the French Quarter location in New Orleans. The event will include former French Quarter business owner Diane Genre and internationally renowned arts scholar John E. Vollmer as part of the team behind the new title, “Re-Envisioning Japan: Meiji Fine Art Textiles,” the first comprehensive book about Japanese textiles of the Meiji period (1868–1912). Reservations are encouraged and can be made by emailing or by calling (504) 523-4662.
Claire Manes discusses her book, “Out of the Shadow of Leprosy: The Carville Letters and Stories of the Landry Family” from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 9, at the Alexandre Mouton House/Lafayette Museum in downtown Lafayette. For information, call 234-2208.
Author and comedian David Sedaris will perform at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 25 at the Orpheum Theater in New Orleans, offering a selection of all-new readings and recollections, as well as a Q&A session and post-show book signing.

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