Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Big Easy



The selection of books on The Big Easy so far,

Bienville's Dilemma

Zeitoun

The Year Before the Flood

A Confederacy of Dunces

The Great Deluge 

The Moviegoer

Your choice?  Any other suggestions?

33 comments:

  1. The Moviegoer by Walker Percy

    ReplyDelete
  2. Perhaps we should just focus on the topic of New Orleans and read any of the books we like, sharing with one another how the one we chose sheds light, or doesn't, on the place.

    And don't forget Dinner at Antoine's!

    ReplyDelete
  3. We've done theme-based group reads before. Certainly, New Orleans is broad enough for such a discussion.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I would then add"A Hall of Mirrors" by Robert Stone which in a perverse way is akin to A Face in the Crowd.

    ReplyDelete
  5. There is also,

    Managing Ignatius: The Lunacy of Lucky Dogs and Life in the Quarter

    http://www.nytimes.com/books/business/9803shelf.html

    which looks like fun.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I've read Zeitoun and have The Great Deluge and Confederacy of Dunces. Will have to look through some plastic boxes to find C of Dunces one of these days.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I also have Spike Lee's documentary, When the Levees Broke, for which I will make a post. I think it would help us focus if we concentrated on Katrina and its aftermath.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Louisiana politics have always been highly corrupt. Several very striking books have been written about this:

    ''The Earl of Louisiana'':

    http://books.google.com/books?id=5JjFrymF1JcC&dq=Earl+of+Louisiana+Liebling&printsec=frontcover&source=bn&hl=en&ei=eAGBTITsHofksQOe2KD3Bw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CCkQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q&f=false



    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


    ''Every Man A King: The Autobiography Of Huey P. Long''

    http://www.amazon.com/Every-Man-King-Autobiography-Huey/dp/0306806959/ref=pd_cp_b_2

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    ''All the King's Men''

    http://www.achievement.org/library/bookcovers/AlltheKing_0.jpg

    This is a book I meant to read a long time ago but put it down for some reason. Perhaps it's time to read it.

    By getting a good background on the historical corruption, it may give us a better understanding of the unhappy events in NOLA.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I read the book on Lucky Dogs.Chartres sent it to me a few years back .Very entertaining.

    ReplyDelete
  10. 'lucky dogs'

    A got a story for you from my days working for the IRS in NYC:

    One day I was in a tax seminar and a field agent who examined the tax records of a franks vendor lectured us on his work. He told us that he was utterly disgusted at the lack of cleanliness at the West Side (W 40s) meat packing factories. There were MILLIONS of roaches, mice, and other forms of filth. He said whatever you do, NEVER, NEVER eat a street bought hot dog!

    He was quite sincere when he said that and I have never gone near a NYC street vendor ever since.

    ReplyDelete
  11. The Spike Lee documentary is quite fine, his mature work in that certainly surpasses the mess that was "Miracle at St. Anna."

    I'm looking forward to reading "Zeitoun" and hope to check out some of the other recommendations. I read "Confederacy of Dunces" but just could not muster the enthusiasm of so many others in the nyt forum for it, I know not why.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Greetings from Nevada City, CA. I mentioned to a friend here that we might be reading about New Orleans. He's a huge NOLA fan. His slightly eccentric suggestions to add to the mix:

    Gumbo Ya Ya

    http://www.amazon.com/Gumbo-Ya-Ya-Folk-Tales-Louisiana/dp/0882896458

    The Geopsychic Wonders of New Orleans

    http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Geopsychic-Wonders-of-New-Orleans/D-Eric-Bookhardt/e/9780830042258

    If we decide to go the multiple book route, as much as these two sound intriguing, I think I'll pick the Moviegoer, which I've never read.

    NY, I loved Confederacy of Dunces but I can see how it's not for everyone. Definitely one of those over the top sort of books. And I'm sure anyone who reads it will have second thoughts about eating a Lucky Dog, that's for sure.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Avrds,I'm over in Glenbrook,Nevada on Lake Tahoe but I'm heading back to L.A. in the morning.Wish I had known you were over in Grass Valley.

    ReplyDelete
  14. The Moviegoer really isn't "about" New Orleans, but the story is set there and at times it's laugh out loud funny.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I was unaware until just a few minutes ago that Nelson Algren's "A Walk on the Wild Side" and William Burrough's "Junkie" are both set in New Orleans.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Here's another title that caught my eye,

    Wide Awake in the Pelican State

    http://books.google.lt/books?id=LH9E5muAnRkC&dq=wide+awake+in+the+pelican+state&printsec=frontcover&source=bn&hl=lt&ei=aQmGTN2yOsKoOOLfxckO&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CCwQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q&f=false

    ReplyDelete
  17. I got "Zeitoun" yesterday and will begin this week. Will check in to see what "all y'all" are reading and remarking on.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Went to the library today and picked up a copy of Strahan's ''Managing Ignatius ... Lucky Dogs''. Definitely a fun book -- thanx for recommending it.

    Will look into the possibility of reading ''Confederacy of Dunces'' or ''Walk On the Wild side''.

    All these misfits remind me of my days in NYC's Greenwich Village and Upper West Side back in the mid 70s to early 80s. Of course, Brooklyn is not without its own set of wackos but they are the local types whereas Manhattan attracts goofies from all over the place.

    I have been accused of being a goofball over the years and am sympathetic to that type of crowd since the appellation is rather apropos for me. Goofy, yes, but not a bad hearted type. Some of the crowd can actually be quite harmless while being rather kool. After all, it takes all types to make up this world.

    ... more ...

    ReplyDelete
  19. One thing I don't like is conformity. Ugh, conformists just are a puke to me.

    You know, there was an old Rock n Roll group that I loved back in the 70s and 80s called the Good Rats. They were from Long Island sang about many subjects thought they did not have abig following outside of the Northeast. One thing they hated was conformity. Here are the lyrics to a song I especially loved because of its hostility to conformance:

    INJUN JOE:


    I wanna see this house burn
    I wanna see it tumblin' down
    I'm gonna watch the white burn from her eyes

    Well, I'm gonna light the fuse (Whoa, Yeah!)
    I'm through payin' my dues
    I refuse, to kick off my shoes

    [CHORUS]
    Hey Injun Joe - what you know?
    Went to the city - to organize
    Hey Injun Joe - what you know?
    Went to the city - to organize

    I'm gonna take their black robes
    I'm gonna wipe my waste on them
    Your honor, my ass is my honor
    That's all the lie

    Well, this time I'll stand and fight (Whoa, Yeah!)
    Like the suckers they are
    I'll run them into the sea

    [CHORUS]

    (Instrumental bridge)

    [CHORUS]

    Yeah! (to fade out)

    ------------------------------


    One thing about these misfits we are reading about (like the eccentrics of the Transcendentalist School) is that while they are/were different, the world is definitely better off because of them.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Good Rats on youtube:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSWUX-uQtuc

    Injun Joe ~ great anthem for those who believe in non-conformity.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Thanks for the link, trip, and I agree conformity is a drag, which is why I love New Orleans so much. This is a city that has bucked the trend from day one and despite a few breaks in the levees still keeps its renegade spirit alive.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Isn't Injun Joe a figure of fear (and perhaps a little respect) for Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn?

    ReplyDelete
  23. In Mark Twain's era half breeds were often portrayed as evildoers. Injun Joe was on the run because he menaced others. Thus, he was isolated and imperiled by others who seek retribution for the trouble he caused. In the song, the singer feels isolated and imperiled as well but fights on because he seeks retribution from injustices created by others. That's taking non conformity to its limits.

    Very interesting how the symbolism is turned around.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Went hotfooting it over to bookstore a couple blocks from work where Eggers was to give a reading from "Zeitoun" at noon today, fully intending at question period to ask about the current state of the family, arrived only to find out it wasn't a reading at all but a signing and I'd already given my copy to someone else to read. ARRGGGHHHH (wait, is it too late for Talk Like a Pirate Day?)

    So I turned around & hied meself back to work but soon will follow-up via e-mail -- such a mama I am, I find myself worrying about 'em.

    ReplyDelete
  25. http://www.zeitounfoundation.org/

    ReplyDelete
  26. NY, I once participated in a book event in Virginia where Edward P. Jones was signing books. I'd left my book at home but still stood in line to meet him.

    Usually bookstores frown on you bringing your own book from home, but I'm sure Eggers would have welcomed your interest in the family. But email works, too!

    ReplyDelete
  27. I was finishing up Zeitoun at dinner hour last evening when on (the radio) came the City Arts and Lectures program at which Eggers interviewed the Zeitouns. Amazing that they could be so totally upbeat, although I'm sure the particular attention and support and encouragement they have received have helped greatly.

    ReplyDelete
  28. This is off the specific subject, but on the general one of books and reading. The Friends of the Library Big Book Sale opened last night. Prices from $1 to $5, with a few exceptions for rarities. We made $71,000 in four hours. The most ever before taken in at an opening was $53,000. Midday today I was calling prices at one of the checkout stands, and of the 25 folks whose purchases I called, six bought over $100 worth. I think we will easily give the SF Public Library a million dollars again this year. Books in the hands of the people; cash in the hands of the library. What's not to like?

    ReplyDelete
  29. Wow! Congratulations! What a great project to work on. Maybe one of these years I can arrange to be in town for this.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I am reading Robert Olen Butler's "A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain." Many of the stories are set in and around New Orleans. If you have not read this book, you are missing something truly special.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Sorry I didn't express thanks for the help/reassurance re the family Z (tried once but but couldn't figure out which thread it was in). So, thanks folks!

    (Drat, tried to find that City Arts & Lectures session--it seems to be the only NPR/KQED program that doesn't make archived shows available.)

    ReplyDelete
  32. Well, nytemps, neither NPR nor KQED sponsor that program; they just air the edited version. The proprietor is City Arts & Lectures. Although, when I checked their FAQs (http://www.cityarts.net/questions.html#11) I didn't learn much about who might make the programs available. I guess you can go over to Bancroft Library and listen. Clearly not satisfactory.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Thanks again, carol, for the effort. It is appreciated. I see "1 City 1 Book" has events going on through Oct., too, so it's not going to drop off the radar.

    The brief youtube or other video excerpt I saw during my googling-about made Kathy seem like a real pistol. Makes one wonder about possible conversations beginning something like "I guess the next time your wife says 'Get out of there' you'll listen to her."

    ReplyDelete