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Double Whammy: The Coffee Shop Chronicles of New Orleans and Books-A-Million

Posted: Oct 18, 2010

This week I am excited to provide the Swampland audience with a double whammy. My friend David Lummis' novel The Coffee Shop Chronicles of New Orleans has just been picked up by one of the nation's largest bookstores Books-A-Million. Why, you ask, is this so significant and why is it a double whammy?

In the first place, The Coffee Shop Chronicles is an independently published novel that has metamorphosed into quite a local phenomenon. Secondly, Books-A-Million is also a local phenomenon having its roots in a small indie bookstore in Florence, Alabama (Anderson Books) and expanding from its humble beginnings to 229 stores in 23 states and the District of Columbia. Last year I published a feature on Anderson Books when internationally known clothing designer Billy Reid moved his corporate headquarters into the old Anderson Books building on Court Street in Florence.

Csaba Lukacs of River House Publishing commented that it is "a great honor to be selected by Books-A-Million, one of the nation's largest bookseller. TradingMarkets.com has the following to say about The Coffee Shop Chronicles: "Shortly after its publication in June, The Coffee Shop Chronicles of New Orleans was chosen by The Times-Picayune as a 'Hot Read' of the summer. Now approaching the 1,000 copies sales milestone, it is stocked by over two dozen shops in New Orleans, including independent bookstores, coffeehouses, gift shops, college stores (Tulane and Loyola), Hudson Booksellers, Borders, and Barnes & Noble. The first installment in a three-part serial novel written and printed in New Orleans, the novel blends satire, mystery, fact, and fiction while exploring such weighty themes as the 'sacrament' of coffee drinking, living sober, and the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow in America."

The novel takes place in New Orleans' French Quarter and nearby Faubourg Marigny and  "reviews" such local coffee shop haunts as CC's, PJ's, Cafe Rose Nicaud, Cafe du Monde, and Rue de la Course. Its protagonist is the agnostic, ten-years-sober son of a Baptist minister, B. Sammy Singleton, who has an opinion about everything and a guidebook on New Orleans coffee shops to write. However, when Sammy's best friend Catfish -- reluctant heir to the Beaucoeur sugarcane fortune -- is arrested for "grave robbing" and then goes missing, events spin out of control.

You can read the full review of The Coffee Shop Chronicles on RiverVue and learn more about the author David Lummis in a RiverVue feature entitled "Meet David Lummis."

---Penne J. Laubenthal
Related Links
      Reading The Coffee Shop Chronicles of New Orleans

      Rags to Riches: From Anderson Books to Books-A-Million

     More Southern Success Stories in Florence, Alabama

     Clothing Designer Billy Reid Moves Corporate Headquarters


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