From Our Bookshelf, Travel

Season of Life Reads

Nova was the videoly that we all wanted to read in the Sixties because every issue brought something new and relevant to our lives: extraordinary fashion by Molly Parkin; innovative layouts and photographs by Harri Peccinotti; articles about the Pill and our new sexual freedom and a different take on beauty, fashion and celebrity - for one incredibly complicated story, we revamped the Queen. Our editor, Dennis Hackett, always thought outside the box a

Spring doesn’t arrive everywhere at once, but it often makes its first stop in Louisiana. To celebrate this season of new life, here are some book suggestions that may give you a new perspective on familiar topics, historical figures, and famous locales–all of them available at New Orleans Public Library.


Spring of Hope by Cora Harrison
Fans of Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins will be delighted to see those two legendary Victorian authors become characters in a cozy mystery. While the setting for this book is London, residents of New Orleans will appreciate a plotline that features city-wide sewage problems, a cholera epidemic, and murder most foul. This is a book to reward yourself with after a day of spring cleaning or weeding the garden.

These Precious Days: Essays by Ann Patchett
Sometimes the best way to find new shades of meaning in your own life is to spend some time reading your way through someone else’s, especially if that someone is a brilliant storyteller with a rich inner life and a fascinating personal history.

Novelist Ann Patchett has turned her hand to writing true stories about family, friendship, and lives lived, not perfectly, but well. In this page-turner of an essay collection, you will meet Ann’s three fathers at a wedding, befriend the personal assistant of Tom Hanks, see Paris through the eyes of a living writer, and gain newfound appreciation for Snoopy the cartoon dog. From knitting to tattoos, any topic Patchett turns her attention to becomes a wellspring of wisdom and entertainment.

Watergate: A New History by Garrett M. Graff
With new public documents come new revelations about well-known historical events. Garrett M. Graff has done his research. With a deft narrative hand, he turns a familiar chain of political events into a thrilling, edge-of-your-seat drama, revealing new and thoroughly documented information along the way to create a nonfiction narrative that is as gripping as any novel.

From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness, and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life by Arthur C. Brooks
Everyone struggles to cope with aging and decline. Arthur C. Brooks offers insights into why some of us struggle more than others, and what we can do about it. Using examples of famous people who have declared themselves “worthless” in the second half of life despite overwhelming success in the first half, Brooks teaches research-backed strategies for changing your perspective on success, failure, and self-worth. Written with realism and panache, this book is for anyone who wants to go beyond mere coping to achieve deep satisfaction from the later stages of life.

The Magnolia Palace by Fiona Davis
Nobody could blame you if you didn’t want to read a book with a pandemic in it, but it would be a shame to miss out on the literary stylings of Fiona Davis.

With a title that suggests a southern setting, you may be surprised to learn where this novel takes place: New York City. Less surprising is that the drama unfolds during the Spanish flu epidemic, and the main character has lost someone to the disease. A fast-paced literary adventure story of survival with a side of thievery and a brow-raising array of romantic trysts, this is a book that begins with grief and ends on hope.

[vc_separator][vc_column_text]Kathleen Balma is an assistant branch manager at New Orleans Public Library. She can be reached at or (504) 596-3100.

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