Celebrating The Arts And Louisiana
● By Robert Frey
LEONARDOBy Walter Isaacson (Simon and Schuster $35)
Fortunately for readers, Isaacson, the famed biographer, presents the story of the great Leonardo da Vinci, making the amazing Renaissance man more accessible to our generation. Leonardo had immense talents: architect, engineer, inventor and, in an application for a job, he is said to have added to his resume’, “I also can paint.” Indeed! The Last Supper and Mona Lisa were more than enough proof of that. The book is solidly bound with lavish illustrations and art. Truly magnificent.
THE NOVEL OF THE CENTURYBy David Bellos (Farrar, Straus & Giroux $27)
Bellos correctly calls Les Miserable, the Novel of the Century. Victor Hugo’s classic is the story of Val de Jean, imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his starving family. The penalties were cruel and relentless as his nemesis, Inspector Javier, hunts him throughout the novel. The story captivated audiences of several movies, TV adaptations and even a Broadway musical. Bellos lends an extra dimension to the novel by describing how Hugo himself struggled for years to finally complete the book.
MEDITATIONS FOR LENTBy Jacques-Bossuet (Sophia Books $12.95)
If you’ve struggled to develop the habit of meditation, you may find no better time than Lent, guided by the voluminous writings of 17th Century Bishop Jacques-Benigne Bossuet. Beginning with Ash Wednesday and continuing through Easter Sunday, there are short and eloquent homilies for each day of Lent by the famed homilist from France and its’ messages promise to prepare you for Easter.
EXPRESSIONS OF PLACE The Contemporary Louisiana LandscapeBy John R. Kemp (U of Mississippi Press $40)
This is an impressive collection of paintings and commentary that illustrate wonderful Louisiana landscapes by 37 artists from all around our state. Each one is an invitation to tour our state and enjoy its beauty before it’s gone. It may already be too late, as we’ll see in the contrary view below.
AIN’T THERE NO MORELouisiana’s Disappearing Coastal Plain
By Carl A. Brasseaux and Donald W. Davis (University of Mississippi $30)
Louisiana’s disappearing coastline is no longer a matter of conjecture. That day is here, now, at least for the village of Isle de St. Charles in Terrebonne Parish, whose residents are virtually forced to move further North near Houma as water laps their doorsteps. The authors make no effort to minimize the ravages of the waters on the environment, but suggest some mediation.
YOU’LL NEVER KNOW, DEARBy Hallie Ephron (William Morrow $26.99)
Here’s a new twist on a “missing child” mystery. Not only the child, but her doll is taken as well. What’s unique is that the doll is one of a kind created by the girl’s mother and which, 40 years later, may help to solve the kidnapping.
ELVIS PRESLEY A Southern LifeBy Joel Williamson (Oxford University Press $34.95)
This is, without a doubt, the definitive biography of the iconic singer. Going beyond the music, the author traces Elvis’ life from birth in Tupelo to heights in TV, movies and an Army career and back without losing a step. The photos are especially interesting as are the details of his death.