from EarlyWord.com:

Most-Ordered Summer Fiction — Edelweiss

The top 30 most-ordered fiction titles, with a pub date before Aug 1, through Edelweiss in the past 60 days, as of 4/20/11.

Edelweiss creates electronic catalogs used by publishers sales reps primarily with independent booksellers. it does not represent all publishers; those that are represented are listed on the Edelweiss home page.

The next list will be available in the next two to three months.

1. State of Wonder by Patchett, Ann (HarperCollins/Harper) PubDate: Jun 7 2011
– HarperCollins

2.  Ghost Story by Butcher, Jim (Penguin Group (USA) Inc./Roc Hardcover) PubDate: Jul 26 2011

3.  Smokin’ Seventeen by Evanovich, Janet (Random House/Bantam) PubDate: Jun 21 2011

4. Dreams of Joy by See, Lisa (Random House/Random House) PubDate: May 31 2011

5. Portrait of a Spy by Silva, Daniel (HarperCollins/Harper) PubDate: Jul 19 2011

6. The Last Werewolf by Duncan, Glen (Random House/Knopf) PubDate: Jul 12 2011

7. Maine by Sullivan, J. Courtney (Random House/Knopf) PubDate: Jun 14 2011; Large Type, Thorndike, 9781410438379 7/6/2011 $33.99

8. ” target=”_blank”>Silver Girl by Hilderbrand, Elin (Hachette/Reagan Arthur Books) PubDate: Jun 21 2011

9. Caleb’s Crossing by Brooks, Geraldine (Penguin Group (USA) Inc./Viking Adult) PubDate: May 3 2011; Large Type, Thorndike, 9781410437341 5/4/2011 $35.99

10.  The Snowman by Nesbo, Jo (Random House/Knopf) PubDate: May 10 2011

11.  Against All Enemies by Clancy, Tom (Penguin/Putnam Adult) PubDate: Jun 14 2011; Large Type, Thorndike, 9781410440112 7/6/2011 $35.99

12.  Dead Reckoning by Harris, Charlaine (Penguin Group (USA) Inc./Ace Hardcover) PubDate: May 3 2011; Large Type, Thorndike, 9781410435088 5/4/2011 $33.99

13. Once Upon a River by Campbell, Bonnie Jo (W.W. Norton/W. W. Norton & Company) PubDate: Jul 5 2011; ; Large Type, Thorndike; 9781410440792 9/7/2011 $30.99

14. Robopocalypse by Wilson, Daniel H. (Random House/Doubleday) PubDate: Jun 7 2011

15. 10th Anniversary by Patterson, James and Paetro, Maxine (Hachette/Little, Brown and Company) PubDate: May 2 2011

16. One Summer by Baldacci, David (Hachette/Grand Central Publishing) PubDate: Jun 14 2011

17. The Devil All the Time by Pollock, Donald Ray (Random House/Doubleday) PubDate: Jul 12 2011

18. The Dog Who Came in from the Cold by Mccall Smith, Alexander (Random House/Pantheon) PubDate: Jun 21 2011

19. Faith by Haigh, Jennifer (HarperCollins/Harper) PubDate: May 10 2011

20. Sisterhood Everlasting by Brashares, Ann (Random House/Random House) PubDate: Jun 14 2011

21. Heat Wave by Thayer, Nancy (Random House/Ballantine Books) PubDate: Jun 21 2011

22. The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb by Benjamin, Melanie (Random House/Delacorte Press) PubDate: Jul 26 2011

23. Iron House by Hart, John (Macmillan/Thomas Dunne Books) PubDate: Jul 12 2011; Large Type, Thorndike; 9781410438485 7/12/2011 $35.99

24. Vaclav & Lena by Tanner, Haley (Random House/The Dial Press) PubDate: May 17 2011

25. Before I Go To Sleep by Watson, S. J. (HarperCollins/Harper) PubDate: Jun 14 2011

26.  ” target=”_blank”>Tabloid City by Hamill, Pete (Hachette/Little, Brown and Company) PubDate: May 5 2011

27. The Hypnotist by Kepler, Lars (Macmillan/Farrar, Straus and Giroux) PubDate: Jun 21 2011

28.  The Final Storm by Shaara, Jeff (Random House/Ballantine Books) PubDate: May 17 2011

29. Conquistadora by Santiago, Esmeralda (Random House/Knopf) PubDate: Jul 12 2011

30. The Kid by Sapphire (Penguin Group (USA) Inc./Penguin Press HC, The) PubDate: Jul 5 2011

From article in the Guardian.uk, written by Bella Bathurst:

“Worksop has a resident book-eater. “We kept noticing that pages had been ripped from some of the books,” says Peter Collins. “Not whole pages, just little bits. It would always be done really neatly, just the tops of the pages. And then we’d see these little pellets everywhere, little balls of chewed paper cropping up in different parts of the library. Eventually we figured out who it must be. None of us wanted to say we’d noticed him munching away at the books, so I approached him and said something like I’d noticed ‘tearing’ on some volumes. He said he didn’t know anything about it, but we’ve never seen him back.”

“And we had a streaker once,” Collins continues. “In Tamworth. He got into the lifts, and somewhere between the first and second floors he managed to take off all his clothes, run naked through Music and Junior, and then vanish out the front doors. The library there is right next to a graveyard, so goodness only knows what happened to him. Still, all part of life’s rich tapestry.”

Our library seems downright boring next to this.

3 Irish Authors short listed for the
2011 International IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award.

The short list will be confirmed by
the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Gerry Breen at 11.00am on 12th April 2011 in the Mansion House, Dublin

10 novels have been shortlisted for the International IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award, from a total of 162 novels nominated by 166 public library systems in 126 cities worldwide. For the first time, the shortlist includes novels by three Irish authors; Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann, Brooklyn by Colm Toibín and Love and Summer by William Trevor. The International IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award is worth €100,000 and is the world’s most prestigious literary prize nominated by public libraries world-wide. 
 
The Lord Mayor of Dublin Gerry Breen, Patron of the Award, officially confirmed the titles on this year’s shortlist, nominated by public libraries in Australia, Barbados, Belgium, Canada, England, Germany, Greece, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Scotland, South Africa, Switzerland, and the USA.

The short listed titles are:

  1. Galore by Michael Crummey (Canadian). Doubleday Canada
  2. The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver (American). Faber & Faber, HarperCollins, USA
  3. The Vagrants by Yiyn Li  (Chinese / American) Random House, USA
  4. Ransom by David Malouf  (Australian) Random House Australia
  5. Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann (Irish) Bloomsbury, UK, Random House, USA
  6. Little Bird of Heaven by Joyce Carol Oates  (American) Ecco Press, USA
  7. Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey  (Australian) Allen & Unwin
  8. Brooklyn by Colm Toibín (Irish) Viking UK, Scribner, USA
  9. Love and Summer by William Trevor (Irish) Viking, UK
  10. After the Fire, a Still, Small Voice by Evie Wyld (Australian) Pantheon Books, USA

More about the shortlist

From this list, all I’ve read is Evie Wyld’s After the Fire, a Still, Small Voice. I’d be ecstatic if it won, but then again I have no others to compare it with, which makes that a trifle biased. Not that that’s ever stopped me.

I have a copy of Galore for review, haven’t heard of  The Vagrants, Jasper Jones or Love and Summer, though of course I know of William Trevor. The others I know of but have never read.

So, once again, I’m faced with having no idea  on earth who will win, only that I’ll hope it’s Evie Wyld since her book was positively brilliant.

What’s that you say? Did I hear, “Lisa, why don’t you read the shortlist, then make an informed guess?!”

Are  you trying to kill me, people?!  Yes, it’s a prize generated via the opinions of public librarians, and yes, I’m a public librarian. And, if you offer to fly me to Ireland for the awards ceremony I wouldn’t hesitate to read these novels while standing on my head. (Okay, maybe not standing on my head.)

The award date isn’t until June 15, but I’m already reviewing for two sites, plus for NetGalley at my own pace, and I have half a mind to apply to Kirkus, too. Oh, and the Orange Prize Longlist. I’ve been too eager to wait for the short, plus for whatever completely insane reason thought I should also guess the short…

Oh, hell. Maybe. But keep in mind a ticket to Ireland would positively seal the deal. Ireland in June? Yes, please!

National Drop Everything and Read Day

What is National D.E.A.R. Day?
D.E.A.R. stands for Drop Everything and Read. National D.E.A.R. Day is a special reading celebration to remind and encourage families to make reading together on a daily basis a family priority.

Can I celebrate D.E.A.R. Day on another date?
Yes, of course. Every day is a great day to Drop Everything and Read! The goal is to make reading a regular part of your routine. So, go ahead and read today, tomorrow, and every day!

Who is leading the National D.E.A.R. Day Celebration? The National Education Association (NEA); Parent Teacher Association (PTA); the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association; Reading Rockets; The General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC); the Newspaper Association of America Foundation (NAA); First Book; HarperCollins Children’s Books; Read Kiddo Read; Walden Media and Ramona Quimby.

More about the partners

When is National D.E.A.R. Day?
The birthday of beloved author Beverly Cleary is the official event date, April 12th. Ramona Quimby, the program’s official spokesperson, is responsible for spreading the word and the love of reading.

Why is National D.E.A.R. Day celebrated on Beverly Cleary’s birthday?
Beverly Cleary receives thousands of letters a year from young readers, many who have participated in D.E.A.R. at school. Their interest in and enthusiasm for this special reading activity inspired Mrs. Cleary to give the same experience to Ramona Quimby, who gets to enjoy D.E.A.R. time with the rest of her class in Ramona Quimby, Age 8.

How can I participate?
Schools, libraries, bookstores and other organizations are being asked to host Drop Everything and Read events on April 12th. You can attend an event in your community or participate right in your own home by reading for 30 minutes!

From Guardian.co.uk:

Could an online booksharing scheme spell the end for the traditional library?

A scheme where residents post their own books online to swap, then meet to complete the transaction has worried some library campaigners

Sutton Bookshare scheme

Testing out Sutton council’s new online bookshare scheme. Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian

With more people using the internet, an online booksharing scheme might appear to be the perfect solution for people unable to visit their local library. But the idea has caused dismay among some library campaigners. The London borough of Sutton last Monday launched its online booksharing scheme where residents post their own books to swap, then meet in person to complete the transaction.

Registered users upload details of books they want to share using open source data. Once they tap in the ISBN, a small picture of the publication appears with a few explanatory notes and the owner’s details. Borrowers can then get in touch to agree loan terms and where to meet.

Read more…

For the past decade Library Journal has been honoring librarians who’ve gone above and beyond the call of duty, singling them out via the “Movers and Shakers Award” for their innovation, service and ways they’ve otherwise raised the profile of quality library service.

This post is the first in a series of interviews I conducted with the 2011 Mover & Shaker winners. Here’s to the librarians who’ve brought so much innovation to the field!

________________________________________________________

Jaime HammondLibrary Journal March 15, 2011: Jaime Hammond , Mover & Shaker

 

Library name: Naugatuck Valley Community College    

Library type (public, academic, etc.): Academic, 2 year Community College

Address: 750 Chase Parkway Waterbury CT

Website: nvcc.commnet.edu/library

Your/other websites: movablelibrary.wordpress.com

Why she was chosen for this honor:

 

 Antidote to Apathy

The library at Naugatuck Valley Community College (NVCC), in Waterbury, CT, serves students from every socioeconomic and educational background. Despite its wide mandate, until this past summer the library’s main entrance was a narrow passage hidden on a lower level of campus.

It was then that reference/serials librarian Jaime Hammond, working on a limited budget, reimagined the “secondary” entrance on the main artery as the central one.

“Jamie made sure the main level entrance was expanded, with all library services easily accessible from the school’s major thoroughfare,” says nominator Kate Sheehan, an open source implementation coordinator at the nonprofit Bibliomation, which provides technological and automation services for over five dozen Connecticut public libraries and schools.

The more prominent location, says Hammond, allowed “for the most exposure to students as they pass by.” It was an immediate improvement. “We were able to make a maximum impact with minimum changes, materials, and costs, and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.”

Opening doors is what Hammond is all about. An active member of professional organizations including the Connecticut Library Association, she cochaired the 2010 annual conference. Sheehan calls her “Connecticut’s antidote to cynicism, lethargy, and apathy.”

Today, the NVCC library renovation continues—on a strict budget. For Hammond, at NVCC since 2007, the financial limitations present the right kind of challenge. “[I’ve] always been artistic and interested in design, [but] I never thought my career choice to become a librarian would allow me to be this creative,” she says. “My desk is covered in flooring samples, tape measures, and fabric swatches.”

1).        Do you hold an MLS degree? From which school?

Yes, Southern Connecticut State University, 2005

2).        If you hold an MLS, what was your undergraduate field of study? Have you applied that degree in your library career?

My undergraduate degree is from Sarah Lawrence College and is in Liberal Arts. Yes, I apply it every day!

3).        Is there anything unique about the history and/or architecture of your library?

Well, the architecture of my library is sort of what earned me the Movers and Shakers nod! Our library is on the 4th and 5th floors of a building that is connected to the other buildings via the 5th floor. The stacks are interior and connected by tiny staircases that resemble Escher’s Relativity. It’s… unique.

4).        What stands out about your library? What special features or services does it offer?

Other than the odd layout, our library has some wonderful features. Our new classroom is laid out in an X shape, with the instructor at the center, to group the students naturally and allow the instructor to move around the class freely. Our most exciting space is our Collaboration Studio- a room with three of Steelcase’s “media:scapes”- a collaborative workspace ideal for group projects. Users can project their laptops onto a 42” flat panel monitor and switch off between users using a switcher technology called a PUCK.

5).        How many patrons does your library serve?

We have approximately 5000 FTE, plus community members.

6).        What is the demographic in your area?

We are located in Waterbury, CT, an urban area with a high unemployment rate.

7).        What are your favorite reading genres? Any favorite books or authors you’ve read recently?

I like fiction- specifically magical realism and mystery. The last book I absolutely loved was Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese.

 8).        What are your thoughts on the eBook vs. book debate? Will books as we know them ever be completely usurped by eBooks?

As a community college librarian, most of our students don’t have ebook readers and some don’t have computers or internet access at home. I think that if the library provided an ereader with textbooks on it, the students would like that, but the demand hasn’t trickled down to us yet.

9).        Have your patrons been receptive to eBooks?

See above

10).      Finally, what concerns – if any – do you have about the future of libraries?

I think the future of public libraries is probably different from academic libraries, in that our students are still being forced to use the library! However, I take my two young sons to the library every Saturday, and I know that they value it as much as I do. I hope that people continue to realize what a gift libraries are, and that librarians actually remind people of that as well!

Author Robyn Okrant spent one year living the Oprah life as expressed on her TV show and website. Then she wrote a book about her experience, outlining the good, the bad and the ugly.

Robyn will be here to read from her book and answer questions about her experiences, writing, and anything else that’s on your mind. After the reading there will be a book signing.

Come out and meet Robyn Okrant! It’s sure to be a fun and inspirational event.

Robyn Okrant

Wednesday, September 28

7:00 p.m.

Algonquin Area Public Library – 7:00

Description from Amazon:

Product Description

What happens when a thirty-five-year-old average American woman spends one year following every piece of Oprah Winfrey’s advice on how to “live your best life”? Robyn Okrant devoted 2008 to adhering to all of Oprah’s suggestions and guidance delivered via her television show, her Web site, and her magazine. LIVING OPRAH is a month-by-month account of that year.
Some of the challenges included enrollment in Oprah’s Best Life Challenge for physical fitness and weight control, living vegan, and participating in Oprah’s Book Club. After 365 days of LIVING OPRAH, Okrant reflects on the rewards won and lessons learned as well as the tolls exacted by the experiment.

About the Author

Robyn Okrant is a writer, filmmaker, performer, and yoga teacher. A graduate of Bennington College, she also holds an MFA in performance from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She lives with her husband and two cats in Chicago.

Don’t think I’ll try to read these, especially since the prize is for each writer’s whole body of work. Even I don’t feel I can tackle that. Still working on the Orange Prize Longlist as well as the NBCC winners (selected).

But here’s the info:

Thirteen selected for finalists’ list

30 March 2011

Thirteen writers have made it on to the judges’ list of finalists under serious consideration for the fourth Man Booker International Prize, the £60,000 award which recognises one writer for his or her achievement in fiction.

The authors come from eight countries, five are published in translation and there are four women on the list. One writer has previously won the annual Man Booker Prize for Fiction and two have been shortlisted. Famously, another, John le Carré, asked that his books should not be submitted for the annual prize to give less established authors the opportunity to win.

The Finalists’ List is announced by the chair of judges, Rick Gekoski, at a press conference held at the University of Sydney, today Wednesday 30 March 2011 at 10.00 (EST).

The thirteen authors on the list are:

  • Wang Anyi (China)
  • Juan Goytisolo (Spain)
  • James Kelman (UK)
  • John le Carré (UK)
  • Amin Maalouf (Lebanon)
  • David Malouf (Australia)
  • Dacia Maraini (Italy)
  • Rohinton Mistry (India/Canada)
  • Philip Pullman (UK)
  • Marilynne Robinson (USA)
  • Philip Roth (USA)
  • Su Tong (China)
  • Anne Tyler (USA)

The judging panel for the Man Booker International Prize 2011 consists of writer, academic and rare-book dealer Dr. Rick Gekoski (Chair), publisher, writer and critic Carmen Callil, and award-winning novelist Justin Cartwright.

More info at the Man Booker website.

For the past decade Library Journal has been honoring librarians who’ve gone above and beyond the call of duty, singling them out via the “Movers and Shakers Award” for their innovation, service and ways they’ve otherwise raised the profile of quality library service.

This post is the first in a series of interviews I conducted with the 2011 Mover & Shaker winners. Here’s to the librarians who’ve brought so much innovation to the field!

__________________________________________________________

Name:  Anthony Molaro

Library name:  Messenger Public Library, Aurora, IL

Library type (public, academic, etc.):  Public

Address:  113 Oak Street, North Aurora, IL 60542

Website:  http://informationactivist.com/

Why he was chosen for this honor:

Information Activist

Anthony Molaro is a true “information activist.” Whether he’s blogging as the Information Activist Librarian, engaged as a public speaker, or gathering like-minded people to support a worthy cause, he is driven by “the poor understanding of the role of libraries in a democratic society.” As a regular contributor to the Libraries and Transliteracy blog, Molaro is part of a team that is committed to removing barriers between people and information. They recognize the importance of library support for communicating across a range of platforms, from reading and hand writing to signing and social networking. But Molaro does more than write. He cofounded Chicago Deskset, a local offshoot of the New York City—based group of librarians, bibliophiles, and information professionals who “thrive through social events and give something back to our community.” A supporter of libraries in their essential form, he believes that attacks on libraries, intellectual freedom, and human rights can be countered with “the very stories contained within our walls.” Those stories illustrate a critical service in action. “There is no greater reward in the world than knowing that our profession saves lives,” he says. “Whether it is a lonely senior or a kid trying to find [his] way in this world, their sanctuary is the public library.”

1).        Do you hold an MLS degree? From which school?

            MBA Elmhurst College

            MLIS Dominican University

            PhD Anticipated Dominican University

2).        If you hold an MLS, what was your undergraduate field of study? Have you applied that degree in your library career?

            BA History.  History, like LIS, is an all encompassing field.  Much of what I have learned pursuing that degree has been relevant in my current position.

3).        Is there anything unique about the history and/or architecture of your library?

            My library is known for its porches and fireplace.

4).        What stands out about your library? What special features or services does it offer?

            Messenger Public Library stands out because of the level of service it offers.  Since I started, we have been the first in the area to lend out eReaders, create a video game collection, lend out comic books, dump RFID, and create a Blu-ray collection.  We are on the cutting edge but have managed to avoid the bleeding edge.

5).        How many patrons does your library serve?

            Our geographic boundary is 15,848.  However we are often the library of use for many patrons in both Aurora (who does not have a branch anywhere near so many of their patrons) and Sugar Grove (the library is closed on Sunday and Monday and only open half days for Friday and Saturday).

6).        What is the demographic in your area?

            About 80% white, 10% Latino, 5% African-American

7).        What are your favorite reading genres? Any favorite books or authors you’ve read recently?

            As a PhD Candidate, most of my reading is related to LIS theory and research theory.  On my free time I tend to read nonfiction.

8).        What are your thoughts on the eBook vs. book debate? Will books as we know them ever be completely usurped by eBooks?

Usurped is a tricky word.  If by that do you mean that eBooks will have a larger market share than print books, well yes I do think that will happen much sooner than we had thought.  For libraries, the important question is whether we will be forced out of the eBook race.  If publishers and retailers continue to create services, products and terms that leave libraries out, well then we are faced with forced obsolesces. 

9).        Have your patrons been receptive to eBooks?

            Yes, our patrons have used eBook services that we have offered, and they turn to us for recommendations on eReader advice.  Our local Barnes & Nobles pushes Overdrive and libraries pretty hard.  I’m not sure if this is universal for B&N or if it’s just the one by us, but it has been great.

10).      Finally, what concerns – if any – do you have about the future of libraries?

            I am worried that we don’t see the writing on the wall.  I believe that libraries need to shift their focus from content consumption to content creation.  YouMedia is the future of libraries.  Those that don’t see that will follow what the systems are experiencing in the state. 

__________________________________________________________

As an “expert” in Technology, Technological Exploration, Technical Services, Management & Leadership Issues, Strategic Planning, Social Media, Information Activism, Social Justice, and all around coolness, I am available to speak to your library group.  You may contact me at anthony.molaro@gmail.com.

Upcoming Presentations:

April 8, 2011: Schaumburg, IL, “eBooks: Dreams, Realities & Nightmares”, LACONI Technology Section.

September, 2011, Chicago, IL, “Grassroots Organizing: How Librarians are Getting Stuff Done”, Illinois Library Association 2011 Annual Conference with Leah White and Adam Girard.

Acadiana

I’m native to Mississippi, but I am in love with Louisiana. I associate it with mysterious swamplands and sprawling cyprus trees dripping Spanish moss, peopled with an Acadian culture marked by fierce independence and a shared multi-cultural heritage. To me it’s one of the most romantic, beautiful and fascinating places on earth.

I’ve been to the state only once, during Mardi Gras as a teenager (an eye-opening experience.) I’m  told part of my family tree sprouted from New Orleans – via the founder of the now defunct Gibson’s department stores. And, of course, with that supposed legacy comes the ubiquitous palatial plantation home we could never locate to claim, due to incomplete records and the ineptitude of the county clerk. But could it have been any other way? Do you ever find out your family lived in a shack, deeply in debt, uneducated and missing most of their teeth? Of course not. No one wants to admit that. If it’s true or not I’ll likely never know.

And Zydeco music. I have a soft spot for it in my heart. There’s something about it, exuding raw  joy despite shared hardships, that lifts the spirit. It’s like jazz funerals in New Orleans. Through times of sadness and challenge a celebrative hopefulness lingers; a zest for life shines through. Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you may die. And in the meantime, don’t stop for tears.

When NetGalley offered up an eGalley of Louisiana’s Historic Cajun Country I pounced. The photography turned out to be stunning, as well as heartbreaking in an “I wish I could be there right now” way. Also, in an I wish I had a hard copy of this and not an eGalley, the better to appreciate the gorgeous shots. Because it isn’t quite the same looking at them on the computer. Good enough to recognize their beauty, but, well, you know. I’m not going into the eBook versus book debate, but suffice to say nothing satisfies like the original.

Taking a photo of a photo robs it of beauty, but when the original is so perfect maybe this will give you some idea what Philip Gould‘s shots are like. Just stunning.

IMG_6546

The well-researched history was so beautifully executed I didn’t realize how much I was being taught as I read. You know what I mean. While text books teach you the facts, very well-written works of history educate and entertain you along the way. If I hadn’t enjoyed the book so much I wouldn’t have read it through twice, something I almost never do. There’s just too much to read, too many books I’m committed to reviewing to take the time to read books through more than once. But Brasseaux’s prose took me on a journey I didn’t want to end.

And no wonder! Carl Brasseaux is an expert on Acadian culture, one of the leading authorities on French North America, having published thirty-three books related to the topic. He’s been editor and associate manager of the Center for the Louisiana Studies publication program, and I could go on and on. This doesn’t even scratch the surface. Suffice to say, he’s very well-qualified. Not surprising I found this work so entrancing.

The book covers the history of Acadiana from the earliest settlements up to the present, taking the story area by area: Pointe Coupée & Avoyelles Parishes, German/Acadian Coasts, Lafourche-Terrebone Area, Upper Prairie and Lower Prairie. Each  has its own distinct history, but as a whole share several things in common: great ethnic diversity, a landscape shaped by water, fertile soil, plantation or grazing land used largely for agriculture, eventual ethnic unrest and economic depression both following the Civil War and the devastation of the 1927 flood.

The depression following the Civil War brought on a severe labor crisis due to the end of slavery, complicated by the continued occupation of Acadiana by Union troops. Then came the yellow fever epidemic in 1867, hitting the area hard. Rice, planted instead of corn, helped dig them out of the hole they were in. Shortly after, the rail system and national roadways were built, followed by increased industrial development. Commerical hunters, exporting ducks and frog legs, added yet more of a boost.

Between WW II and the present, Acadiana made its way via war-time construction jobs, shipyards and the availability of French translators to help the war effort. More oil exploration provided many more jobs as the area became increasingly modernized.

Today Acadiana still has its own distinct flavor, though much of the French language and heritage has either been lost or morphed into what we now know as Cajun culture. What’s left is still distinctive, still recognizable as the culture of southern Louisiana, though by reading Brasseaux’s book the full story of the region’s past gives us an idea what changes it has gone through.

My verdict? This is a beautiful book, both for its stunning photography and thorough treatment of the history of Acadiana. Anyone interested in Cajun culture or the early history of southern settlement – including the Spanish influence – would find this book an essential addition to his or her library. It’s simply gorgeous.

Thanks to NetGalley.com for the opportunity to read and review this ebook.

  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Louisiana State University Press (May 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807137235
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807137239