Nov. 30, 2015 01:16 PM

Man-o-man, the UL Lafayette Press is cranking ’em out these days. From fiction to photo collections to nature guides and more, the press at UL Lafayette is producing top-shelf titles worthy of that book shelf in the front room.

The UL Lafayette Press will host its holiday book sale from 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1 at the Alumni Center, 600 E. St. Mary Blvd. A number of authors will be on hand to sign copies of their work, among them former Louisiana poet laureate Darrell Bourque, photographer John Slaughter, indigenous-music expert/journalist/savant Todd Mouton, singer-songwriter Zachary Richard and more.

We recommend:

Dead Dog Dying & Other Stories
By Norman German, $15

This excellent collection of short stories has a South Louisiana theme threaded deeply within its pages. German can turn a phrase masterfully, but he also immerses the reader, deeply and with abiding affection, into the region’s fishing culture.

Louisiana Swamps and Marshes: Easy-Access Hikes and Drives
Text by Anne Butler, photos by Henry Cancienne, $24.95

Eco-tourism is the new thing, ya heard? This is the most serviceable guide to Louisiana’s state and national parks/forests, wildlife refuges and other wild places. Everything one needs to know to get there and enjoy the experience — location, contact information, flora, fauna and history — is laid out in words and colorful photos.

The Good Times Rolled: Black New Orleans, 1979-1982
Photos by Bernard Herman, $49.95

Herman’s photos will remind aficionados of the work of Debbie Fleming Caffery in the rich interplay between light and shadow in these immaculate black-and-white photographs chronicling the life of African-Americans in this “chocolate city” during a period of particular exuberance and creativity. The Funky Meters weren’t the only thing grooving NOLA in this three-year period, and Herman captures its essence — from Mardi Gras Indians and second line funerals to the working the docks and the perils of prison life.

Duck Thief and Other Stories
By David Langlinais, $15

The author’s name is familiar and so are the people and places in this rich collection of short stories. Part of the Louisiana Writers Series, Langlinais’ collection touches on topics poetic, prosaic and in between, weaving together a menagerie of characters and conundrums that are uniquely of the bayou.

Catahoula: Louisiana State Dog
Photos by John Slaughter, $19.99

Slaughter is a Louisiana photographer through-and-through. His 2012 collection, Grand Coteau, focused on one of the most picturesque towns not just in Cajun Country but anywhere. With Catahoula he examines the beauty — those gray eyes! — of the state dog.

New Orleans: Life and Death in the Big Easy
Photos by Cheryl Gerber

Gerber’s color photography celebrates the unique ways New Orleanians celebrate — birth, death and the life in between. The photographs chronicle a roughly 10-year period in the life of the city, from just before Hurricane Katrina to present. These cultural touchstones are alternately lively and morbidly touching but always sincere.

The Legend of L’il Red
Zachary Richard, with illustrations by Sarah Lattès, $14.95

From its opening line — “The hurricane was on the coast, holding the world by the scruff of its soggy neck.” — Zachary Richard, with the aid of capable, playful illustrations by his French stepdaughter, Sarah Lattès, takes young imaginations on a sally with a blind turtle and a one-clawed crawfish who find each other in the tempest, and they just survive, damn it, they survive.

Richard tells the tale in the voice of the raconteur, winking and rhythmic, with the sing-song ease of telling great, sweeping and soulful stories that is Richard’s most basic thing — in his songs, his poems, his personal crusades.


Way Down in Louisiana: Clifton Chenier, Cajun, Zydeco, and Swamp Pop Music
Todd Mouton, $24.95

In a quarter century of writing about South Louisiana music as a journalist, curating and programming concerts as a producer, rhapsodizing about it as a radio host, promoting it as an impresario and musician himself, Todd Mouton had to pop. This book could not have not happened.
A dozen artists are profiled in the colorful, graphically engaging and photo-heavy pages of this book — through anecdotes, asides, scenes and recollections, Way Down in Louisiana is a masterful turn in storytelling, long-form journalism and love letter to the widest margins and the nth degree.

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