are few times better than now to make it a point to set aside time and enjoy a
great book. One of the most easily accessible forms of enrichment, books are
also the core of what our entertainment industry today prides itself on. Though
movies and high-production quality TV series may have the flash and thunder of
explosive trailers and wow-inducing marketing, books are still by and large the
most plentiful and distilled way to enjoy a narrative. This Author's Day on
November 1, kick back and enjoy one of the five books listed below that have a
distinct focus on the storied port city of New Orleans.
by Kate Chopin and published in 1899, The Awakening recounts the story
of one Edna Pontellier as she grows increasingly distant from the enforced and
rigorous roles of a woman of her rank. The book is acclaimed in modern times,
not only for its excellent prose, but for being one of the seminal and early
works of feminist literature. The character of Edna Pontellier is both a
controversial and much-analyzed feminist figure in literary circles, and the
New Orleanian and Gulf Louisianian environments she must endure are excellent case
studies on the topic as well. This is an excellent novel and not a terribly
difficult read, so if you have yet to peruse its contents, then make it a point
to do so soon.
A Streetcar Named Desire
woefully and almost suspiciously incomplete list this would be were it to omit
what is arguably the most salient work of New Orleans fiction thus far. Though
it was not Tennessee Williams's personal favorite in his repertoire of plays,
many would argue that it is both his magnum opus and his most influential work.
A Streetcar Named Desire was published in 1947, and the script of this
famed play is more than worth the short amount of time it will take you to
read. With lovely, timely descriptions of important areas like the French
Quarter and incredibly deft development of now-famous characters like Blanche
DuBois and Stanley Kowalski, the script for this play is an outstanding read
and a masterpiece that no one should pass up.
A Confederacy of Dunces
piece of New Orleans literature with that familiar property of having its name
in the back of many people's heads but its actual contents in the heads of much
fewer, A Confederacy of Dunces is still one of the greats in the
Crescent City's literary lexicon. The book has sweeping and fabulously detailed
descriptions of many of New Orleans's greatest features and districts and also
prominently displays our magazine's namesake, the "Yat" dialect of English that
permeates the city. This novel was published fairly recently compared to the
other two mentioned thus far, with a posthumous publication date of 1980.
of the lesser-known entries in the legendary William Faulkner's repertoire, Mosquitoes
is a strange, satiric novel following a group of eccentrics and is largely set
in the city of New Orleans. It made no real splash upon its initial
publication, and while it has seen somewhat of a rise in popularity in more
recent times, the book is considered very difficult to read, due both to
Faulkner's well-known tendency to circumlocute and cohesiveness issues. While
many cited The Sound and The Fury as incredibly incohesive and difficult
to read, it is both of those things by design, and that is a critical part of
the novel's identity. Mosquitoes, conversely, actually suffered a
butchering by Faulkner's editor that removed many plot points and important
sections that contained taboos considered too risqué to publish for the time.
Nonetheless, Mosquitoes is well-written and an interesting project for
you to read and research on your own.
finishing this list is Walker Percy's first and most famous book to date.
Published in 1961 and widely praised since, The Moviegoer is a novel
abounding with poetic and philosophical issues that tackles themes of identity
and our quest for meaning. Using New Orleans as the main character's residence
and springboard for his philosophical quest, The Moviegoer is an
excellent read for anyone looking for a bit of New Orleans literature that is a
bit off the beaten path but nonetheless masterful.