Monday, September 20, 2010

Humor and horror at the Maple Street Book Shops

When I heard that local humorist, playwright and author Bud Faust was appearing at the Maple Street Book Shop on Saturday to sign the second volume of his hilarious book Great Moments in New Orleans History, I couldn't resist stopping by to finally meet the man himself. Not to mention, I've never actually been inside the "new" side of the duo.

If you've never been there, the Maple Street Book Shops consist of two gorgeous, shotgun-style homes that were converted into two separate stores, currently there's a "new" side and a "used" side, both carrying a large selection of books.

I arrived a tad early because I wanted to visit the "used" side first. Out in front leaning against the telephone pole was a huge painted board listing the shops' hours, "Fighting the Stupids Since '64" emblazoned at the end. Researching their website, I discovered that this shop, originally owned and operated by two women, was the "hip" place to gather for intellectual youth and "free thinkers" struggling to support a leftist ideal in a conservative time.

As I browsed I noticed that they carried quite a few hardcovers (which can be unusual for a used bookstore) and several first edition signed copies from some very interesting authors. Quotes handwritten on long strips of paper adorn many of the bookshelves citing wisdom from figures like Richard Nixon. Right in front was a display for Banned Books Week which starts this Saturday, September 25th and runs to October 2nd. What banned book are you reading next week?

I left the "used" side and headed for the "new" as I didn't have a lot of time to linger and discovered Mr. Faust sitting right up front. He recognized me at once and we talked about the new book. Enamored of the new cover art, Faust told how he had the work commissioned by local painter Raven Creature who apparently is often found selling her work in Jackson Square.

I'll soon finish reading Great Moments in New Orleans History, Volume 2. I'll let you know how it was, though I am sure it'll turn out as good as his first. If you missed seeing him on Maple Street, I heard his next gig is at Octavia Books on Thursday, September 30th at 6 p.m. where he'll be reading, too.

After procuring my signed copy, I browsed the rest of the store. I spotted Stephen King's latest epic novel Under the Dome in trade paperback and I just couldn't resist. It had been a long time since I'd enjoyed anything by King, but I decided to give his latest tome a chance.

Making my purchases quickly, I had to run for the door. If I stay too long in any bookstore, I will spend far more money than I ever intend...or can afford. Momentarily sated by my new purchases, I walked back to the car with a smile on my face. Now, which one do I read first?


Dani said...

The "used" side used to be the children's book shop. I was so sad when they closed it. I miss reading at storytime.

Unknown said...

I forgot about that! I remember when you used to read there...They still have a pretty heft children's section in the new side tho...