Events

Throughout the year Maple Street Book Shop hosts authors for book signings, readings and other events. We provide drinks and refreshments at book signings for the comfort of our authors and customers. If you can’t make it to a book signing, but would like a signed copy of the book, we’ll be happy to take your order over the phone or via our new online service, have the book signed, and ship it to you.

And if you’re interested, watch for our story times and other kids events listed on New Orleans Macaroni Kid.

Maple Street Book Club: May - A Free State - Tom Piazza

May 11th, 2017

For our May meeting of the Maple Street Book Club, we will be discussing A Free State by Tom Piazza, and the author will be with us to join the conversation!


As always, the book-club selection will be available at a 10% discount, no sign-up is necessary, drinks and snacks will be served, and we hope to see you there!

“The author of City of Refuge returns with a startling and powerful novel of race, violence, and identity set on the eve of the Civil War.

The year is 1855. Blackface minstrelsy is the most popular form of entertainment in a nation about to be torn apart by the battle over slavery. Henry Sims, a fugitive slave and a brilliant musician, has escaped to Philadelphia, where he earns money living by his wits and performing on the street. He is befriended by James Douglass, leader of a popular minstrel troupe struggling to compete with dozens of similar ensembles, who imagines that Henry’s skill and magnetism might restore his troupe’s sagging fortunes.

The problem is that black and white performers are not allowed to appear together onstage. Together, the two concoct a masquerade to protect Henry’s identity, and Henry creates a sensation in his first appearances with the troupe. Yet even as their plan begins to reverse the troupe’s decline, a brutal slave hunter named Tull Burton has been employed by Henry’s former master to track down the runaway and retrieve him, by any means necessary.

Bursting with narrative tension and unforgettable characters, shot through with unexpected turns and insight, A Free State is a thrilling reimagining of the American story by a novelist at the height of his powers.”

Tom Piazza is celebrated as a novelist and a writer on American music. His twelve books include the novels A Free State and City Of Refuge, the post-Katrina manifesto Why New Orleans Matters, and the essay collection Devil Sent The Rain. He was a principal writer for the innovative HBO drama series TREME, and the winner of a Grammy Award for his album notes to Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues: A Musical Journey. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Bookforum, The Oxford American, Columbia Journalism Review, and many other periodicals. He lives in New Orleans.

Room 220 Presents: Cassie Pruyn & Benjamin Aleshire

May 11th, 2017

ROOM 220 hosts the book launch for Cassie Pruyn’s Lena at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 11, at Saturn Bar (3067 St. Claude Avenue). Lena is the winner of the 2017 Walt McDonald First-Book Prize in Poetry.

Cassie Pruyn is a New Orleans-based poet born and raised in Portland, Maine. Her poems have appeared in AGNI Online, The Normal School, The Los Angeles Review, The Adroit Journal, Poet Lore, Salt Hill Journal, and others. She is the author of a forthcoming narrative history of New Orleans’ Bayou St. John, and of Lena (Texas Tech University Press), winner of the 2017 Walt McDonald First-Book Prize in Poetry.

Benjamin Aleshire composes poems for strangers in the street on a manual typewriter. His writing is forthcoming in Iowa Review and Boston Review. He works for Green Mountains Review, and will be in residence this summer at the Kunstlerhaus Vorwerk-Stift in Hamburg. Find him atwww.poetforhire.org, or on the corner of Royal & St. Peter.

Independent Bookstore Day

May 13th, 2017


Octavia Books, Garden District Book Shop, and Tubby & Coo’s Mid-City Book Shop and Maple Street Book Shop are celebrating Independent Bookstore Day in New Orleans. Each store is planning special activities; and together we are offering the chance to win $100 in gift certificates for book lovers who visit all four participating New Orleans bookstores as part of a fun, city-wide scavenger hunt.

The four stores have also joined together to give away a limited number of Blackbird Letter Press New Orleans City Notebooks (printed in Louisiana) to customers who purchase who spend $25 or more on Saturday, May 13th.
Over 400 independent bookstores are celebrating Independent Bookstore Day. In New Orleans, we have our own special day to celebrate, 2 week later in deference to Jazz Fest.

More details to follow!

James Nolan - Flight Risk

May 18th, 2017


Please join us Thursday, May18 at 6:00pm when we will be hosting James Nolan, author of Flight Risk:Memoirs of a New Orleans Bad Boy
Flight Risk takes off as a page-turning narrative with deep roots and a wide wingspan. James Nolan, a fifth-generation New Orleans native, offers up an intimate portrait both of his insular hometown and his generation’s counterculture. Flight runs as a theme throughout the book, which begins with Nolan’s escape from the gothic mental hospital to which his parents committed the teenaged poet during the tumult of 1968. This breakout is followed by the self-styled revolutionary’s hair-raising flight from a Guatemalan jail, and years later, by the author’s bolt from China, where he ditched his teaching position and collectivist ideals. These Houdini-like feats foreshadow a more recent one, how he dodged biblical floods in a stolen school bus three days after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.

Nolan traces these flight patterns to those of his French ancestors who fled to New Orleans in the mid-nineteenth century, established a tobacco business in the French Quarter, and kept the old country alive in their Creole demimonde. The writer describes the eccentric Seventh Ward menagerie of the extended family in which he grew up, his early flirtation with extremist politics, and a strong bond with his freewheeling grandfather, a gentleman from the Gilded Age. Nolan’s quest for his own freedom takes him to the flower-powered, gender-bending San Francisco of the sixties and seventies, as well as to an expatriate life in Spain during the heady years of that nation’s transition to democracy. Like the prodigal son, he eventually returns home to live in the French Quarter, around the corner from where his grandmother grew up, only to struggle through the aftermath of Katrina and the city’s resurrection.

Many of these stories are entwined with the commentaries of a wry flâneur, addressing such subjects as the nuances of race in New Orleans, the Disneyfication of the French Quarter, the numbing anomie of digital technology and globalization, the challenges of caring for aging parents, Creole funeral traditions, how to make a soul-searing gumbo, and what it really means to belong.

James Nolan, New Orleans, Louisiana, a fifth-generation native, is a widely published fiction writer, poet, essayist, and translator. Recent books include You Don’t Know Me: New and Selected Stories (winner of the 2015 Independent Publishers Gold Medal in Southern Fiction) and the novel Higher Ground (awarded a William Faulkner/Wisdom Gold Medal in the Novel). He has taught at universities in San Francisco, Florida, Barcelona, Madrid, and Beijing, as well as in New Orleans.