6 Louisiana Books to Catch Those Bayou State Vibes

My maternal grandmother was from Louisiana. I won’t ever be able to talk to her about it since she passed away shortly after my mom was born.

The family link might be a subconscious reason why I’ve always been interested in Louisiana. The vampire lore, its haunted history, the voodoo culture, and the melting pot diversity always fascinated me.

With that said, I found six Louisiana books that’ll give me those bayou state vibes no matter where I am in the world. Perhaps you too!

1. The Baby Dolls: Breaking the Race and Gender Barriers of the New Orleans Mardi Gras Tradition by Kim Marie Vaz

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I would’ve never known street walkers organized a part of the Mardi Gras marches. The decision to march started out as a competition between rival red light districts.

2. Beware of the Wild by Natalie C. Parker

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A sister searches for her missing brother in a swamp the town locals wouldn’t dare explore.

3. Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice

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Anne Rice and New Orleans go together like PBJ. With vampires in the mix, it’s even more delicious!

4. The King of Bones and Ashes by J. D. Horn

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Witches are turning against each other as their magic fades away. One witch’s case to solve witches’ disappearances in New Orleans may have dark connections to her family.

5. Mad Madame LaLaurie: New Orleans Most Famous Murderess Revealed by Victoria Cosner Love & Lorelei Shannon

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A locked room in Madame Delphine LaLaurie’s home hides her hidden atrocities. A city fire exposes all of its gruesome secrets.

You might recognize the LaLaurie name from  Kathy Bates’ character in American Horror Story: Coven.

6. Voodoo Dreams: A Novel of Marie Laveau by Jewell Parker Rhodes

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Voodoo Dreams is a fictional account based on the real Marie Laveau, famed voodoo priestess of New Orleans. You can visit her grave at the Saint Louis Cemetery.

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Which books make you want to travel to Lousiana right now?

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BOOK REVIEW: “Show Your Work!” by Austin Kleon

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Please Read

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Every creative person should read Show Your Work right now! This book will help you get noticed for any original work you make. Author Austin Kleon shows you how it’s done.

If you’ve finished a short film or a painting, tell someone about it. It can either be by word of mouth or online. Show it off on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Use these social media sites to your advantage. They’re more valuable using it that way than sharing the latest meme.

You don’t have to share everything. Share one small thing daily during your creative process.

You’re Not the Next DaVinci

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If you’ve suffered through strict art school, it’s okay. More than likely, your over-the-top art teachers had it all wrong. You don’t have to be like any particular fantastic artist to make it out in the world. Not everybody will be the next Andy Warhol or Leonardo DaVinci. They’re one of a kind.

Stay inspired, disciplined, and do your own thing. What you create is essentially food. Someone’s going to find it delicious.

Process > Resumé

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Showing your daily creation process is better than showing your resumé. Kleon recommends it. You’d want to tell potential employers and clients what you’re doing at the very moment besides waving your resumé in their faces and hope for the best.

Some people complain about not having their dream career yet. You have to ask: “What are you doing right now to reach your career goals?” They’ll probably stare at you tight-lipped then retreat to their rooms to watch 12 hours of Netflix.

You Like That? Me too!

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Another handy Show Your Work tip is meeting people who are obsessed with the same things as you. Eventually, you’ll meet someone who will land you a career doing what you already do every day.

Love writing and reading comics? Meet people online and offline who can go on all day about them.

If you’re a fashion designer, meet other fashion designers. You freaking love minimalist painting? No doubt there are others who freaking love it too.

Being a convention wanderer is not mentioned in Show Your Work, but it’s a topic worth acknowledging. Whatever you do, don’t be that person who wastes large sums of money wandering through con after con with no specific goals. Sure, you meet people, but you forget about them as soon as the convention is over.

The essence of networking is establishing your network system. Create your network map of the cool people you meet through conventions, clubs, and other meeting areas.

Art is Process

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Think of yourself as a never-ending maker, a forever expanding universe of creation.

When I’m at the library, I’ve noticed authors like Anne Rice and Agatha Christie who have written over 20 books. They have their creative universe running.

According to Kleon, art is more about the process than the final product. Think the universe created one planet and was like, “SweetI’ve made Earth! My work is done.” and stopped making planets? More we haven’t discovered yet are created every day.

Be like the universe. You are a part of it. Keep creating.

Conclusion

Overall, this is what you need to do based on Show Your Work:

  1. Show your creative process daily (via your website, social media sites, word of mouth, etc.).
  2. Meet obsessive people (not crazy though).
  3. Don’t listen to the naysayers.
  4. You don’t have to be DaVinci to be great.
  5. Create every day.

Show Your Work should be given to all imaginative people especially young art students.

You don’t need an MFA in underwater basket weaving to tell others how good you are. Show them your latest basket creation. Someone might give you an opportunity of a lifetime because you tweeted about it.

Have you read Show Your Work?

Relate book reviews:

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28 Book Ideas for Black History Month

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Looking for something to read during Black History Month 2018? Here’s a quick list of 28 books you can read. The list includes biographies, general non-fiction, graphic novels, and more.

Biographies/Memoirs

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  1. The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man by James Weldon Johnson
  2. Black Boy by Richard Wright
  3. Dig If You Will the Picture: Funk, Sex, God, and Genius in the Music of Prince by Ben Greenman
  4. How to be Black by Baratunde Thurston
  5. The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae
  6. Negroland by Margo Jefferson
  7. A New Orleans Voudou Priestess: The Legend and Reality of Marie Laveau by Carolyn Morrow Long
  8. Sign My Name to Freedom: A Memoir of a Pioneering Life by Betty Reid
  9. Year of Yes by Shonda Rimes
  10. You Can’t Touch My Hair by Phoebe Robinson

Children

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  1. American Slave, American Hero: York of the Lewis and Clark Expedition by Lawrence Pringle
  2. The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles

Fiction

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  1. The Book of Night Women by Maron James
  2. Coffee Will Make You Black by April Sinclair
  3. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  4. Kindred by Octavia Butler
  5. The Truth about Awiti by CP Patrick

Graphic Novels

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  1. Best Shot in the West: The Adventures of Nat Love by Patricia & Frederick McKissack
  2. March by John Lewis
  3. The Silence of Our Friends by Mark Long & Jim Demonakos

Non-Fiction

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  1. Black Magic: White Hollywood African American Culture by Krin Gabbard
  2. Black Masters: A Free Family of Color in the Old South by Michael P. Johnson & James L. Roark
  3. Dear White People by Justin Simien
  4. First Class: The Legacy of Dunbar, America’s First Black Public High School by Alison Stewart
  5. The InvisiblesThe Untold Story of African-American Slaves in the White House by Jesse Holland
  6. The Park and the People: A History of Central Park by Ray Rosenzweig & Elizabeth Blackmar
  7. Tell My Horse: Voodoo and Life in Haiti and Jamaica by Zora Neale Hurston
  8. They Came Before Columbus: The African Presence in Ancient America by Ivan Van Sertima

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Which books are you reading for Black History month?

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BOOK REVIEW: “The Art of Doing” by Camille Sweeney & Josh Gosfield

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Ordinary people take action and reach extraordinary heights. That’s the gist of The Art of Doing. Opera superstar Anna Netrebko used to be a janitor. Tony Hsieh started out delivering pizza then turned into a billionaire CEO.

Every single person in The Art of Doing has done something and finds themselves in new, exciting places. They keep growing, doing whatever they need to do to reach their goals.

Each chapter is dedicated to an entertainer, innovator, and other notable achievers.  A few of my favorites:

One Brave Sailor: Jessica Watson 

What I admired about Jessica Watson is her journey into the unknown. Watson sailed alone around the world when she was 16 years old. Her parents had utmost faith and trust in her journey.

Watson didn’t decide one day to jump on a rickety boat and sail the seas.  Preparation lead her through her nautical obstacle. She planned it all the way through taking notes from sailing experts. If something happened to her ship while she was out at sea, Watson knew how to fix it asap.

If Watson didn’t take the proper steps, she would’ve been in deep sea trouble.

Blogging Extraordinaire: Mark Frauenfelder

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I love reading about how bloggers work. You can never stop learning how to be a better blogger.

Mark Frauenfelder created his blog out of his obsession with everything to do with gadgets. If he can do it, you can too. It’s all about creating the time and building a community with those with similar interests.

If you want to see something made, make it yourself. For example, I’ve started out with this book blog reviewing new age books. Before this blog, it was hard to find book bloggers who enjoyed reading about chakras, aliens, and the law of attraction as much as I did. Since I’ve started, I’ve finally met readers and book bloggers who do the same.

The Brain Specialist: Richard Restak

The brain works in magnificent ways. I love studying how it works and hacking it. I enjoy stimulating the brain through exercise, reading, and writing.

Neurologist Richard Restak concludes focus and mind challenges improve the brain. Staying focused is a helpful tip to stay on track with your top priorities. TV and multitasking have the opposite effect.

Restak’s writing habit motivates me. In the morning, he writes 500 to 1,000 words per day. What a great way to strengthen the writing muscles.

Conclusion

If you’re interested in reading success stories, read The Art of Doing. Thanks to this book, I found new books I’ll read in the distant future:

  1. Mozart’s Brain and the Fighter Pilot by Richard Restak
  2. Rule of the Web by Mark Frauenfelder
  3. True Spirit by Jessica Watson

Have you read The Art of Doing? If sowhich chapter was your favorite?

Related Book Reviews:

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BOOK REVIEW: “The Secret Teachings of All Ages” by Manly P. Hall

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Manly P. Hall wrote The Secret Teachings of All Ages when he was 27 years old. Not many people his age studied the occult world more than he did.

It’s interesting that Hall published The Secret Teachings during the 1920s.  After WWI, people mainly focused on living happy, materialistic lives. Esoteric philosophy was nowhere on their minds.

The Secret Teachings of All Ages is a world full of mysticism still alive in today’s society. You’ll uncover everything from alchemy symbols to the zodiac signs. What you want to know about the occult world is all in here.

Why most of the book’s content was considered hidden knowledge?

Long ago,  ancient mystery followers remained silent to outsiders about their practices. The last thing they wanted is somebody tampering with their rituals. Worse, a false initiate wrecking their secret society’s existence.

Secret Subjects

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The Secret Teachings includes the following subjects (and more):

  • Alchemy
  • Black magic (I promise nothing spooky)
  • Chakras
  • Christian mysticism
  • Druids
  • Elementals
  • Freemasonry
  • Hermeticism
  • Kabbalah
  • The Mystery Cults (Eleusinian, Mithraic, etc.)
  • Pythagoras’ Life
  • Rosicrucianism
  • Tarot cards

Overall, my top three favorite chapters were about Atlantis, hermetic pharmacology, and the purpose of alchemy.

Conclusion

You’d want to refer to The Secret Teachings if you ever questioned the meaning behind the dollar bill or the Washington Monument.

Good news: You don’t have to read the entire book! I mean, it’s an encyclopedia, not your casual fiction novel. I’ve read the whole book because I’m a nerd like that.

Have you read The Secret Teachings of All Ages?  Feel free to comment below!

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My January 2018 Book Haul

Huzzah! New year, new books! Here’s what I’ve read in my January 2018 book haul.

Adult Fiction

1. The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson (3/5 stars)

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The Summer Before the War reveals the lives of a small English town before and after WWI. The story’s quite slow.  You’ll start to wonder when the war finally starts.

However, I loved Simonson’s beautiful descriptions of the English countryside. She makes you feel like you truly there.

 

Adult Non-Fiction

2. The Art of Doing by Camille Sweeney & Josh Gosfield (4/5 stars)

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What does an Indy 500 racecar driver, a New York Times bestselling author, and erotica movie director have in common? They took action to get to where they are now.

The Art of Doing is an inspiring collection of interviews with people who have accomplished amazing feats.

Guests include Laura Linney, Yogi Berra, Alec Baldwin,  Stephen J. Dubner, Constance Rice, Phillippe Petit, Jessica Watson, the founders of OkCupid, and the band OK Go.

3. Discipline Equals Freedom: Field Manual by Jocko Willink (4/5 stars)

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Discipline Equals Freedom will teach you how to boost your mental and physical state. You must have the discipline to control your life. Without it, life controls you.

4. The Great Pyramid Hoax by Scott Creighton (2.5-3/5 stars) (review)

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The Great Pyramid Hoax has an appealing premise regarding forgery in the Great Pyramids. Unfortunately, the extensive evidence has bored me to sleep.

On the bright side, I’m looking forward to reading more of Scott Creighton’s books in the future.

5. Mental Chemistry by Charles F. Haanel (5/5 stars) (review)

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Changing reality is all about mindset. Charles F. Haanel offers readers a detailed look how we are truly the creators of our realities. What we see in our lives reflects our beliefs. Control your thoughts, and you’ll control your world.

Comics/Graphic Novels

6. 1602: Marvel by Neil Gaiman (4/5 stars)

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Imagine your favorite Marvel characters and set them in the Elizabethan era. You’ll love this comic if you already love Marvel and Neil Gaiman’s works.

Queen Elizabeth is dead, and the new king is setting up an inquisition killing off mutants. Now, it’s up to the survivors to find a safe escape route out of Europe.

7. African American Classics edited by Tom Pomplun and Lance Tooks (4/5 stars)

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Stories from famous African-American writers like Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston are taken into graphic novel form. A highly recommended Black History month read!

8. Superman/Wonder Woman (volume one): “Power Couple” by Charles Soule (3/5 stars)

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Wonder Woman and Superman together? Yeah, I can see that. They make a great couple, but they don’t get to spend much quality time together. Darn villains keep threatening Earth!

9. Thor (volume one): “The Goddess of Thunder” by Jason Aaron (4/5 stars)

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This Thor series was exciting and awesome! Too bad it’s only two volumes. A woman has taken Thor’s hammer, and everybody in the universe is trying to figure out who she is.

10. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle & Hope Larson (3/5 stars)

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I’ve read the graphic novel since I’ve never had time to read the book when I was a kid. I liked Meg’s story crossing dimensions to find her missing father. I wish she weren’t such a whiner though.

Juvenile Non-Fiction

11. Hazardous Tales: Donner Dinner Party by Nathan Hale (3/5 stars)

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Never attempt to travel through America with an ox wagon during the winter. I repeat, just don’t!

This historical graphic novel unfolds the tragic story of the Donner Party. During the mid 19th-century, 87 travelers endured a harsh journey from Springfield, Illinois to California. Only 48 made it to the sunny state. Cannibalism was involved.

YA (Young Adult)

12. 23:27 by H.L Roberts (3/5 stars)

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Young rock star Lilith is trapped between staying to true herself and being a puppet to the music industry. It’s taking a toll on her relationship with her band member Alec.

This emotional roller coaster story has its highs and serious lows. You’d want to jump into Lilith’s world and make everything better for her.

 

What was in your January book haul?

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