Staff Picks

The Fish That Ate the Whale

posted Jan 26, 2013, 1:18 PM by Jeremy Burke

The Fist That Ate the Whale Rich Cohen Bay Books Bay Saint Louis

The Fish That Ate the Whale is about the life of Samuel Zemurray, the Banana King. You know the phrase, "Banana Republic", well Sam invented it. Let me first say that I'm embarrassed to say I've never heard of the man before reading the book, and yet his business accomplishments rank right up there with the greats. When you look back at the turn of the 19th century, these were the years of the business titans. Rockefeller with Oil, Carnegie with Steel, JP Morgan with Electricity, Ford with Automobiles, Vanderbilt with Railroads, and Sam Zemurray with Bananas.

Sam immigrated to America in 1891 with absolutely nothing and became one of the richest men in the world. Sam made his fortune in the banana business. He started at the very bottom and due to his relentless worth ethic and lack of ethics, rose to the top. To give you a sense of the size and scope of his control later in life: By 1942, Sam via his interests in the United Fruit Company owned and controlled 75% of all private land in Guatemala, controlled 75% of all trade, and owned almost all of the roads, power stations, phone lines, seaports, and every mile of railroad in Guatemala. And this is just one country.

The reason most of us have never heard of Sam Zemurray is the tactics he used to gain such power and influence and the things he was willing to do to protect it. Such as literally hiring a private army to overthrow the government of Honduras in 1911, and overthrowing the government in Guatemala in 1953 (with the support of the US Government!). Sam had just as many US government officials on the payroll as he had employees.

The book reads like a novel, and as soon as I picked it up I couldn't put it down. The book provides a great history on the fruit trade and the rise of Sam Zemurray, The Banana King.

Cat Island: The History of a Mississippi Gulf Coast Barrier Island.

posted Dec 20, 2012, 11:20 AM by Jeremy Burke

Cat Island Bay Books Bay Saint Louis bookstore Jeremy Burke Old Town Bay Saint Louis

What John Cuevas accomplished in his detailed account of Cat Island was truly a heartened journey into the past of his own personal heritage. Cat Island, encountered in 1699 by the French while seeking the mouth of the Mississippi River, has been studied by many historians including myself. I reviewed the works of other contemporary writers such as; M. James Stevens' research papers, Nap Cassibry's Ladner Odyssey, Gloria Moran's files, and Kat Bergeron's chronicles - they all added various slices of the passing centuries, but the depth and breadth of detail is only brought forth in John's Cat Island: The History of a Mississippi Gulf Coast Barrier Island.

It is interesting to follow the changeover of ownership of the Gulf Coast from French to English to Spanish to American and the string of ownerships of the Island that resulted. As reported, Lafitte's pirates and Copeland's rum-runners hid some of their loot on Cat Island. Pirates Cove was supposedly named due to its use by Jean Lafitte. The Cat Island lighthouse, erected in 1831, was temporarily discontinued due to hurricane damages in 1860 followed by a shut-down by the Confederates in 1861. The island is now protected by being included in the Gulf Islands National Seashore (U.S. National Park Service.)

Cat Island can be seen from the shores of Pass Christian, Long Beach, and Gulfport resulting in being visually familiar to locals and tourists alike, but in reading the John Cuevas historic version, makes one want to see the Island up close - to see and feel it as Juan de Cuevas of the 1790s, knew it.

Cat Island: The History of a Mississippi Gulf Coast Barrier Island is an 191 page paperback book that with the most detailed and accuratehistory ever published about Cat Island. Cat Island: The History of a Mississippi Gulf Coast Barrier Island retails for $45.00 at Bay Book.

The Encyclopedia of Cajun & Creole Cuisine

posted Jun 25, 2012, 1:22 PM by Jeremy Burke   [ updated Dec 5, 2012, 9:04 AM ]

The Encyclopedia of Cajun & Creole Cuisine by Chef John Folse is the authoritative publication on Cajun and Creole cuisine. The research is reliable, the photography is stunning and recipes are amazing. The historical content is commanding and gives one an insight not only into the culture of South Louisiana but also the determining factor into how and why the cuisine evolved. This is a dependable reference book one can be confident in for any culinary research or party planning. The stories associated with each recipe make wonderful dinner conversation. 

The Encyclopedia of Cajun & Creole Cuisine is an 852 page beautiful cookbook and history. The Encyclopedia of Cajun & Creole Cuisine retails for $55.95 at Bay Book.

Fifty Shades of Grey

posted Apr 6, 2012, 10:07 AM by Jeremy Burke

Fifty Shades of Grey Jeremy Burke Bay Books 39520 bookstore

Fifty Shades of Grey is an erotic novel by an obscure author that has been described as “Mommy porn” and “Twilight” for grown-ups.  Fifty Shades of Grey has electrified women across the country, which have spread the word like gospel on Facebook pages, at school pickup lines and in Zumba classes.

Fifty Shades of Grey is the debut of author E L James, a former television executive who began the trilogy by posting fan fiction online. Fifty Shades of Grey center on the lives of Christian Grey, a rich, handsome tycoon, and Anastasia Steele, an innocent college student, who enter into a dominant-submissive relationship.  

Before buying this book you must have 4 hours set aside for uninterrupted reading. Once you started reading Fifty Shades of Grey you will not be about to put it down.

Modern Hospitality by Whitney Miller

posted Feb 8, 2012, 1:55 PM by Jeremy Burke   [ updated Jun 25, 2012, 1:25 PM ]

Whitney Miller Modern Hospitality Bay Books Jeremy Burke

I had an amazing opportunity to taste a handful of the recipes that are in Modern Hospitality made by Whitney Miller at a dinner a few weeks ago and let me tell you that was a treat.  Whitney Miller's cookbook Modern Hospitality is down home southern recipes with a modern flair.  Whitney has a gift of taking classic southern dishes and elevating them to the next level.  The best part of Modern Hospitality is all the recipes in the book are easy to cook with easy to obtain ingredients. 

The best part of this books is Bay Books has signed copies of Modern Hospitality in stock

Through My Eyes by Tim Tebow

posted Feb 7, 2012, 3:09 PM by Jeremy Burke

Tim Tebow Bay Books

Through My Eyes by Tim Tebow is an enjoyable and inspirational book. It is inspiring to read a book written by Tim Tebow which has so much fame yet uses it not to his own benefit but rather for the glory of God. It is a testimony to how celebrities have such a platform to influence others. Tim Tebow is everything that kids in the younger generation should be looking for in a role model. Throughout this book, it is evident how sincere and genuine his faith is. He also gives insight to every game played in his college and NFL career. As a fan, avid reader, and football lover, I cannot recommend this book enough.

Salvage the Bones

posted Jan 25, 2012, 5:58 PM by Jeremy Burke   [ updated Jan 25, 2012, 6:00 PM ]

Salvage the Bones Jesmyn Ward Bay Books Jeremy Burke

DeLisle, Mississippi native Jesmyn Ward writes with a power and depth of feeling that is rare and exhilarating. Her novel about twelve days in the life of a poor black family living on the Mississippi coast as a hurricane gathers in the gulf displays the gifts of a writer with exceptional skill and no fear. The characters seem almost to claw their way off the pages, so vividly has Ms. Ward created them. This is a novel of flesh and blood, heart and soul, dreams and terrors that I will not soon forget.      

The P & J Oyster Cookbook

posted Dec 27, 2011, 9:23 AM by Jeremy Burke

P & J Oyster Cookbook

The P & J Oyster Cookbook by Kit Wohl and the Sunseri Family. What a great cookbook for anything oyster. Great photos and favorite recipes.

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