Report from Louisiana: Reading List

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – It seems like January lasts forever, but one thing these long, cold months are good for is to catch up on some reading. My reading tastes range far and wide, and I tend to binge read when I discover an author new to me that I enjoy. I’ll generally read almost anything, from chick-lit to serious non-fiction. I’m not a big fan of fantasy.

I did read, and loved, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus a while back, and now that her long awaited second book is out, The Starless Sea, I picked it up, but I couldn’t get into it. I’m going to try again, maybe in the spring. It’s getting nice reviews, but just was not resonating with me at the time.

I’ve been on an Elizabeth Strout binge; I loved Olive Kitteridge, so when Olive, Again came out, I snapped it up and loved it. I relate to Olive. The older I get, I seem to get crankier. Cantankerous. I’m not as bristly as Olive, but I can relate. And now that I’ve seen the HBO adaptation of Olive Kittridge, I can’t help but see Frances McDormand as I read. Such fun! Now I’m on to My Name is Lucy Barton, also by Strout, and am enjoying that. Strout is sort of like a female version of Fredrik Backman, to me. Both authors are so adept at character development and in creating characters we become sympathetic to even though we may not want to.

In that same way, consider Steph Post’s final book in her Judah Cannon series, Holding Smoke. Post is an author who should be on your radar and who is not as well known right now as she will be.  Her Judah Cannon series has been referred to as “grit-lit” as a nod to its gritty, Florida noir setting and characters, some of whom are truly inspirational in their evil deeds. I received an ARC of Smoke a few weeks ago – its release date is next week, and I immediately jumped in and could not put it down. I would recommend reading the first two books in the series so that you are more invested in this one, plus, the story arc is fabulous. Post is a versatile writer and her last novel, Miraculum, might be my favorite of her works; that’s hard to say because I dearly love the Judah Cannon series.  Miraculum can hold its own with Night Circus any day, all day long.

In the non-fiction realm, I’ve recently finished Sarah Broom’s The Yellow House, which is a memoir about growing up in New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina, and the aftermath. It is more than a story about her family and Katrina, however. It reminds you that so many people around us are living lives that are ignored and unseen, forgotten, misunderstood. Broom’s skill in wrapping complicated themes around her family’s little yellow house is what makes her the gifted writer she is.

I just finished reading The Silent Patient, the much acclaimed new book by Alex Michaelides. It was a page-turner, and I couldn’t put it down, but in the end, I felt manipulated. I’m not sure how to explain that without spoilers, but let me just say the book was a good read, I enjoyed it, but the ending left me irritated. I’m not sorry I read it, and I’ll read this author again, but ….  I guess the last time I felt irritated by the conclusion of a book was Stephen King’s Elevation. I don’t want to give spoilers on that either, but at the end of Elevation, let’s just say there was a lot of profanity involved on my part and a huge reluctance to contribute to King’s bank account any further.

Next on my reading list is American Dirt. What are you reading? Give me some recommendations!

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Plantation. Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.

9th surprise, Adam Who? CNN as Tragedy, CNN as Comedy and two SB stats Under the Fedora

If you want to know why the left is so afraid of Donald Trump this headline says it all:

9th Circuit Dismisses Climate Change Lawsuit Brought By Kids

The idea that a federal court would dismiss a frivolous lawsuit is in general not all that odd a thing, but that the 9th circuit, the historical court of liberal insanity is doing so is a sign of the difference Donald Trump is making.


This was the fun story of the week.

Let’s point out that Congressman Schiff was on TV constantly, the media was pushing him constantly, newspapers were mentioning him constantly and three contestants on Jeopardy, the folks who know everything about everything had no idea who the hell he was, even with a picture. included.

That’s how little impeachment means to the public.


Speaking of things nobody cares about the media outrage over Senator McSally putting media hack Manu Raju in his place is really funny:

Given the abysmal ratings of CNN these days, the complete disintest by the country in impeachment and the low opinion the press is currently held while their anger is in fact a “tale told by an idiot” or rather idiots and does “signify nothing” I don’t think it their whining rises to the level of being “full of sound and fury” although it is full of something.


I’m really enjoying all of the outrage by the Bernie Sanders fans and others over CNN as being biased:

The big loser of the night was the network that hosted the event. CNN was so consistently aligned against Bernie Sanders that it compromised its claim to journalistic neutrality.

That’s from that well known right wing bastion the Nation in fact some Bernie sites are taking direct action:

A Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) subreddit has banned all content from CNN over the network’s coverage of the presidential candidate.

A moderator with the r/SandersForPresident subreddit, which has more than 373,000 members, announced the decision on Wednesday following the presidential debate in Des Moines, Iowa.

The post argues that CNN, which hosted Tuesday evening’s debate, has “abandoned their journalistic integrity” in an effort to derail Sanders’ campaign.

The level of outrage is really amusing as much worse than all of this is the kind of treatment that any conservative who isn’t willing to attack conservatives is subjected to daily.

Of course the Sanders crew has never been outraged over this kind of behavior as long as it’s directed at conservatives, but the idea that they might be the target, is beyond the pale.

cue the Troll in chief

Point and laugh time.


Finally it’s the Chiefs vs the 49ers in the Superbowl in two weeks. Basically an unstoppable offense vs an impenetrable defense but there are two stats that I find amusing going into this game

Stat 1: Going into the playoffs there were four QB’s in the playoffs that are locks for the hall of fame. Brees, Brady, Rogers and Wilson. Only Rogers made it to the final four and none of them made it to the big game suggesting this will be the passing of the torch.

Stat 2: If San Francisco wins this will be Jimmy G’s 3rd Superbowl ring as he won two with the Pats, one as a backup all season and the other starting a pair of games without losing one (he gone by the time they lost to the Eagles) that will put him at a full half Brady and he’s just getting started.