Report from Louisiana: Loose Thoughts

By: Pat Austin

Some loose, random thoughts this week:

Books: Finally, The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles comes out this week!  I had the privilege of receiving an Advance Reader’s Copy (ARC) las year and I just loved this book. If you enjoy historical fiction at all, put this one on your list.

Navigating dual timelines, Miss Charles weaves an engaging plot between two characters, Odile and Lily. Set in both WWII Paris and 1980s Froid, Montana, we are drawn into both their stories knowing they will soon combine, and they do in a beautiful way.

Odile begins a new job as a librarian at The American Library in Paris at the onset of WWII, and her narrative is peppered with Dewey Decimal references which could have been very odd and distracting but is in fact absolutely charming. As the employees of the library work to protect their books, and themselves, during the Nazi occupation of Paris, it is interesting to note that many of the characters in this novel are real people and many of the events also all to real.

This is a novel for all book lovers, library lovers, history lovers, and anyone who wants to get lost between the pages of an interesting story for a few hours.

Also out this month, but I have not yet read, is Kristen Hannah’s The Four Winds, set in the dustbowl. I have it on hold at the library.

Covid Recovery: I’ve done a lot of reading over the past ten days because I’m too fatigued to do anything else. Steve and I are both moving past our Covid symptoms but the ongoing fatigue is staggering. I feel lucky and grateful that neither of us has the terrible congestion and lung symptoms, no high fever either, but man this fatigue….I can’t get past it. I’m still off work; planning to return to the classroom on Wednesday, but it will be very low energy for the time being.

Mardi Gras:  As you probably know, there are no parades or big celebrations for Mardi Gras this year which is really strange. But, have you seen the float houses in New Orleans!? They are so cool…people are putting the floats artists to work making props and decorations for their homes, dressing their houses up like giant floats! Some of them even play music like the real floats. Go online and check those out if you get a chance!

In New Orleans, Mayor LaToya Cantrell is doubling down on the Covid restrictions in these last two weeks of Mardi Gras season. She’s closing all bars and certain streets. Large gatherings are strictly forbidden. Tourists are discouraged.

Strange times.

Super Bowl: did you watch? We just had it on for background noise. I watched the Puppy Bowl. I’m just ready for baseball season.

Y’all have a good week!

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.

3 thoughts on “Report from Louisiana: Loose Thoughts

  1. As a person having recovered from Covid I can give you a hint for overcoming the ongoing fatigue. Exercise. Not stamina training or cardio, strength training. Weight lifting and related workouts at a moderate pace. Bicep curls, for instance. Gradually increase the pace and the amount of weight. It will speed up the recovery enormously.

  2. Your comment about the Super Bowl reminded me of out Super Bowl experience. I wasn’t planning to watch at all, but my wife decided that she did, because our daughter-in-law and her mother were at the game and are major KC fans. Since we don’t have cable or even an over-the-air antenna, only streaming, I went to You Tube to find a streaming channel carrying the game. CBS had the game but you had to sign up for their streaming service, which we didn’t want to do, so I kept looking. I found ESPN on our smart TV and sure enough they had the game for free, but with commentary in Spanish.

    We started streaming that, figuring that the commentary is mostly a distraction anyway, but got to practice our Spanish language skillz. We got it going about 5 minutes or so before half time and KC was already down a couple of touchdowns. We watched until halftime when some guy we had never heard of came out and started singing songs we had never heard (OK, so we are Boomers, and don’t pay much attention to current pop culture!) Then a bunch of people came out and marched around the field with what looked like jockstraps on their faces. That is when we turned it off and had dinner. I wonder if our 15 minutes or so of viewing were counted toward the total viewership.

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