Furlough roundup: Book review at the Oxford American and patting ones own back at The Lens

Thanks for your patience, loyal readers. We know you’ve been lolling around in the heat wishing for some book and literary news to ease the tedium of summer–or, hopefully, you’ve been out frolicking and dancing and swimming and didn’t even notice we were gone–but, regardless, we’re back. Except that we’re going on another, shorter, furlough toward the end of the month, but that should be it. Can’t be helped. You’ve been warned. After that, we’re all yours.

A couple pieces related to local book and literary goings-on have popped up elsewhere in the absence of Rm220 posts, written by none other than our fearless editor, Nathan C. Martin. First, intrepid investigative journalism website and Room 220 friend The Lens posted an op-ed in which Martin recounts a year of hosting literary events–the Lens editors, wary of running hard-hitting journalism for years without respite, welcomed the self-congratulating fluff piece with open arms.

Over at the Oxford American‘s snazzy new website, which features loads of content that smartly parses Southern arts and culture, Martin looks at Baton Rouge-based music writer Alex Cook’s new book, Louisiana Saturday Night: Looking for a Good Time in South Louisiana’s Juke Joints, Honky-Tonks, and Dance Halls. In it, Cook chronicles his roaming among music venues in the state, wringing his hands about the cultural conversation unfolding before him, and drinking and eating.

Coming up, we’ve got a long-form interview with Lawrence Powell, author of widely loved The Accidental City: Improvising New Orleans, conducted by Ari Braverman, and another long interview with Daniel Wolff, author of The Fight for Home: How (Parts of) New Orleans Came Back, conducted by Jenga Mwendo. Plus, we’ll continue our regular incisive commentary on that which occurs between dust jackets in town. We’re also in the process of organizing the fall lineup of Room 220 events, which will feature some pretty incredible writers from near and far, and at least some readings will take place at the new Press Street HQ on St. Claude Avenue, into which we plan to move in November.

It’s good to be back. Now get to reading!