Book List

Five Books For Mardi Gras

February 24, 2017
Keri Horan
Riveted Editorial Board

I’ve been lucky enough to travel around the United States quite a bit, but there’s one place that’s high on my list that I just haven’t managed to get to yet, and that’s New Orleans. That’s why I waste no time in reading TONS of books set in the Big Easy.I figure if I can’t enjoy Mardi Gras in New Orleans, I can at leas imagine I’m in New Orleans. And since Mardi Gras is next Tuesday, here are a few of my favorites!

Have I missed any? Let me know in the comments!

Interview With The Vampireby Anne Rice

We are in a small room with the vampire, face to face, as he speaks--as he pours out the hypnotic, shocking, moving, and erotically charged confessions of his first two hundred years as one of the living dead. . .

He speaks quietly, plainly, even gently . . . carrying us back to the night when he departed human existence as heir--young, romantic, cultivated--to a great Louisiana plantation, and was inducted by the radiant and sinister Lestat into the other, the "endless," life . . . learning first to sustain himself on the blood of cocks and rats caught in the raffish streets of New Orleans, then on the blood of human beings . . . to the years when, moving away from his final human ties under the tutelage of the hated yet necessary Lestat, he gradually embraces the habits, hungers, feelings of vampirism: the detachment, the hardened will, the "superior" sensual pleasures.

Out of the Easyby Ruta Sepetys

It’s 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street.

Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.

With characters as captivating as those in her internationally bestselling novel Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys skillfully creates a rich story of secrets, lies, and the haunting reminder that decisions can shape our destiny.

City of Refugeby Tom Piazza

In the heat of late summer, two New Orleans families—one black and one white—confront a storm that will change the course of their lives.

SJ Williams, a carpenter and widower, lives and works in the Lower Ninth Ward, the community where he was born and raised. His sister, Lucy, is a soulful mess, and SJ has been trying to keep her son, Wesley, out of trouble. Across town, Craig Donaldson, a Midwestern transplant and the editor of the city's alternative paper, faces deepening cracks in his own family. New Orleans' music and culture have been Craig's passion, but his wife, Alice, has never felt comfortable in the city. The arrival of their two children has inflamed their arguments about the wisdom of raising a family there.

When the news comes of a gathering hurricane—named Katrina—the two families make their own very different plans to weather the storm. The Donaldsons join the long evacuation convoy north, across Lake Pontchartrain and out of the city. SJ boards up his windows and brings Lucy to his house, where they wait it out together, while Wesley stays with a friend in another part of town.

But the long night of wind and rain is only the beginning—and when the levees give way and the flood waters come, the fate of each family changes forever. The Williamses are scattered—first to the Convention Center and the sweltering Superdome, and then far beyond city and state lines, where they struggle to reconnect with one another. The Donaldsons, stranded and anxious themselves, find shelter first in Mississippi, then in Chicago, as Craig faces an impossible choice between the city he loves and the family he had hoped to raise there.

Ranging from the lush neighborhoods of New Orleans to Texas, Missouri, Chicago, and beyond, City of Refuge is a modern masterpiece—a panoramic novel of family and community, trial and resilience, told with passion, wisdom, and a deep understanding of American life in our time.

Dead Until Darkby Charlaine Harris

The first novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling series that gave life to the Dead and inspired the HBO® original series True Blood.

Sookie Stackhouse is just a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana—except for her “disability.” She can read minds. But she can’t hear a word that Bill Compton is thinking when he walks into her life—and then one of her coworkers is killed...

Maybe having a vampire for a boyfriend isn’t such a bright idea.

My Mother the Cheerleaderby Rob Sharenow

Acts of courage come in all shapes and sizes.

In the tumultuous New Orleans of 1960, thirteen-year-old Louise Collins finds her world turned upside down when a stranger from the North arrives at her mother's boarding-house. Louise's mother spends her mornings at the local elementary school with a group of women known as the Cheerleaders, who harass the school's first black student, six-year-old Ruby Bridges, as she enters the building. One day a Chevy Bel Air with a New York license plate pulls up, and out steps Morgan Miller, a man whose mysterious past is eclipsed by his intellect and open-manner—qualities that enchant mother and daughter alike.

For the first time, Louise feels as if someone cares what she thinks, even if she doesn't know what she believes. But when the reason for Morgan's visit is called into question, everything Louise thinks she knows about her mother, her world, and herself will change.

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