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Posts Tagged ‘summer reading’

Schools across North Carolina and out and summer has been here officially for a week. There are so many great things to see and do over the coming season that we decided to put together a list of 10 things that are on our agenda for the summer:

1. Discover North Carolina’s rich history of film and television production at the N.C. Museum of History’s Starring, North Carolina! exhibit. The museum is running a Starring, North Carolina! summer special, with all tickets marked down 50%.
MoH-Summer
2. Try to strike it rich by panning for gold at Reed Gold Mine in Midland.
Reed-Summer
3. Take a look back at the Tar Heel vacations of yesteryear through photos and videos made available online by the State Archives. The Outer Banks History Center’s Flickr site, the Travel and Tourism Digital Collection and the State Archives’ Travel and Tourism Videos playlist are three great places to start your search.
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4. Stop by one of our historic sites or museums near your beach house or on the way to it.
Roanoke-Island-Summer
5. See a movie or concert under the stars at the N.C. Museum of Art in Raleigh.
NCMA-summer
6. Attend a summer arts or music festival or watch an outdoor drama. The N.C. Arts Council has a great list of the not-to-miss events.
7. Add a North Carolina novel or work of non-fiction to your summer reading list.
Reading-Summer
8. Check out I DO! Weddings in the Albemarle, 1831-2015, a new exhibit at the Museum of the Albemarle in Elizabeth City.
MoA-Summer
9. Beat the heat and cool off in the air conditioning at one of our nine art and history museums across the state.
Museums-Summer
10. Step aboard President Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train when it makes its only stop in the Southeast at the N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer August 29 and 30.
NCTM-Summer

Check out the summer section of our newly-redesigned website for more tips on experiencing authentic North Carolina arts, history and culture this summer. Happy exploring!

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From bioluminescent bays to a Benson childhood, area writers explore the interconnections of nature, place and family in volumes of poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction ideal for summer reading.

North Carolina Arts Council literature and theater director David Potorti has assembled a selection of recent books by N.C. Arts Council fellowship recipients and other North Carolinians, recently published in paperback.

1. Blue Yodel
Ansel Elkins
(Yale University Press, 2015)

In her debut collection of poetry, Greensboro resident Elkins introduces readers to a multitude of characters whose “otherness” has condemned them to live on the margins of society, inviting us to find the humanity in every person. She is a 2011–12 N.C. Arts Council fellowship recipient in the category of poetry. Blue Yodel is the 109th volume the Yale Series of Younger Poets, honoring exceptional American poets under the age of forty.

2. Phenomenal: A Hesitant Adventurer’s Search for Wonder in the Natural World 
Leigh Ann Henion
(Penguin Press, 2015)

A Boone resident and 2013–14  N.C. Arts Council literature fellowship recipient in the category of non-fiction, Henion chronicles her experience of the world’s natural phenomena — including Sweden’s aurora borealis, Tanzania’s wildebeest migration, Venezuela’s Catatumbo lightning and Puerto Rico’s bioluminescent bays — as a means to rekindle her sense of wonder and deepen her experience of parenting.

3. Land of Enchantment
Liza Wieland
(Syracuse University Press, 2015)

Arapahoe resident Wieland interweaves stories from New Mexico, Atlanta and New York City showing how art reveals the depth and complexity of human love, in all its betrayals and losses, beauty and redemption. She is a 2013–14 N.C. Arts Council Fellowship recipient in the category of fiction.

4. 27 Views of Greensboro: The Gate City in Prose & Poetry
(Eno Publishers, 2015)

27 Views of Greensboro showcases the literary life of this city as seen through the eyes of 27 hometown writers of fiction, journalism, history, poetry, and more. Contributors include Fred Chappell, Michael Parker, Ann Deagon, Maria Johnson, Ed Cone, Veronica Grossi, Lee Zacharias, Joya Wesley, Stuart Dischell, Quinn Dalton, Linda Beatrice Brown, Jeri Rowe, Allen Johnson, Jim Schlosser, Richard Zweigenhaft, Diya Abdo, Val Neiman, Logie Meachem, and others.

5. The Girl in the Road
Monica Byrne
(Broadway Books, 2015)

A 2013–14 N.C. Arts Council Fellowship recipient in the category of playwrighting, Durham resident Byrne pens her debut novel about a future world where global power has shifted east and revolution is brewing. Two women, from India and Africa, embark on vastly different, and unexpected, journeys.

6. Hotel Worthy
Valerie Nieman
(Press 53, 2015)

Greensboro resident Nieman’s second collection of poetry promises “poems of love, loss, and survival.” She is a 2013–14 N.C. Arts Council literature recipient in the category of poetry.

7. Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir
Frances Mayes
(Broadway Books, 2015)

The author of three books about her life in Italy, Hillsborough writer Frances Mayes now revisits the turning points that defined her early years in Fitzgerald, Georgia, exploring the power of landscape, the idea of home, and the lasting force of a chaotic and loving family.

8. Amazing Place: What North Carolina Means to Writers
(UNC Press, 2015)

Authors from every region of North Carolina ruminate on the meaning of place in this collection of 21 original essays, untangling North Carolina’s influence on their work, exploring how the idea of place resonates with North Carolinians, and illuminating why the state itself plays such a significant role in its own literature. Contributors include Belle Boggs, Marianne Gingher, Stephanie Griest, Jill McCorkle, Michael McFee, Michael Parker, Bland Simpson and Lee Smith.

9. Steal Away
Shelby Stephenson
(Jacar Press, 2014)

An intimate, tender and lyrical chapbook that looks back at a childhood where friendship, family, and slavery intersect. These poems ponder the conflicted emotions, from joy to sorrow, that come from meditating on one’s legacy. Stephenson, a Benson resident, is the current Poet Laureate of North Carolina.

10. The Petals of Your Eyes
Aimee Parkison
(Starcherone Books, 2014)

An eerie  tale of modern-day kidnapping and slavery by Charlotte resident Parkison, a 2013–14 N.C. Arts Council literature fellowship recipient in the category of fiction.

11. Falling Into Place
Catherine Reid
(Beacon Press, 2014)

A 2013–14 N.C. Arts Council fellowship recipient in the category of non-fiction, Asheville resident Reid explores insights into how the mysteries of nature are interwoven with those of family and community.

12. The Life of the World to Come
Joseph Bathanti
(University of South Carolina Press, 2014)

George Dolce aspires to leave his blue collar, Catholic neighborhood in 1970s Pittsburgh to attend law school, but his involvement with a local gambling ring threatens his plans, and ultimately, his life. Escaping to North Carolina, he meets a mysterious woman who joins him in the task of reconciling his past and avoiding his punishment. Vilas resident Bathanti was awarded N.C. Arts Council fellowships in the categories of poetry (1995–96) and fiction (2009–10) and served as the poet laureate of North Carolina from 2012 to 2014.

13. An Infuriating American: The Incendiary Arts of H. L. Mencken
Hal Crowther
(Muse Books, 2014)

Mencken, the belligerent newspaperman from Baltimore, was considered by many to be the most powerful individual journalist of the 20th century. Hillsborough resident Crowther, who followed in Mencken’s footsteps as a reporter, magazine editor, literary critic, and political columnist, paints a picture of the pundit and how he came to be such an outrageous original.

14. Deadliest of Sins
Sallie Bissell
(Midnight Ink, 2014)

Asheville author Sallie Bissell’s latest Mary Crow mystery takes place in Campbell County, North Carolina, where a recent murder and a preacher could be linked in a conspiracy.

Still looking for more suggestions? The Read North Carolina Novels blog from UNC-Chapel Hill and the North Carolina Literary Map from UNC-Greensboro and the State Library are two great places to start.

Don’t forget as well that public libraries across North Carolina will be offering summer reading programs for adults and kids alike.

What will you bee reading this summer? Tell us in the comments.

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From Asheville to the Outer Banks and from intimate poetry to  small-town murder mysteries, North Carolina authors have stories to brighten up your summer, whether you’re headed to the beach or sitting at home in your favorite chair.

The N.C. Arts Council has selected just a few new 2014 releases from some of our state’s finest authors for you to explore.

Here are 10 of their picks:

1. Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen (St. Martin’s Press, 2014): New York Times bestselling author Sarah Addison Allen’s atmospheric novel examines a collection of aging lakeside cabins and the visitors who return, year after year, in pursuit of their dreams and desires.

2. The Hunger of Freedom by Shelby Stephenson (Red Dashboard, 2014): Former editor of Pembroke Magazine, and soon to be inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, Benson native Shelby Stephenson’s new poetry collection explores family, ancestors, ghosts and landscape.

3. Byrd by Kim Church (Dzanc Books, 2014): The debut novel from this Raleigh resident and N.C. Arts Council Fellowship recipient tells the story of a 33 year-old woman coming to terms with secretly bearing and surrendering a son for adoption without telling his father.

4. Miss Julia’s Marvelous Makeover by Ann B. Ross (Viking Adult, 2014): New York Times bestselling author Ann B. Ross’s latest installment in her popular series chronicles Miss Julia’s efforts at teaching a visiting granddaughter how to be a lady.

5. Limestone Gumption by Bryan E. Robinson (Gale/Five Star Publishers, 2014): Retired UNC Charlotte professor Bryan Robinson crafts a mystery around a psychologist who becomes a murder suspect after returning to his hometown to confront his long-lost father.

6. Nothing Below But Air by Pat Riviere-Seel (Main Street Rag, 2014): A new poetry collection from Shelby native and Asheville resident Pat Riviere-Seel, who serves as associate editor for the Asheville Poetry Review.

7. Doing It at the Dixie Dew by Ruth Moose (St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books, 2014): A long-time member of UNC-Chapel Hill’s Creative Writing faculty, Ruth Moose pens her first “cozy,” a small-town murder mystery with a touch of comedy, playing out at the Dixie Dew Bed and Breakfast in the fictitious Littleboro, N.C.

8. Just Add Water by David R. Tanis (Moonshine Cove Publishing, 2014): Outer Banks resident David R. Tanis draws on his career as an attorney and a judge to create the character of Hamish O’Halloran, an unconventional lawyer who bumbles his way through a series of humorous misadventures.

9. In the Season of Blood and Gold by Taylor Brown (Press 53, 2014): Wilmington writer Taylor Brown’s debut story collection features a host of timeless characters from alligator wrestlers to Confederate soldiers to a tattooed artist.

10. Lost in Bermooda by Mike Litwin (Albert Whitman & Company, 2014): Greenville resident Mike Mitwin tells the story of a “mootpian” tropical island society populated by walking, talking cows with human intelligence. Mitwin wrote and illustrated this tale for young readers.

More to Explore from the Arts Council

Don’t forget to check out the N.C. Arts Council’s North Carolina Literary Trails website and guidebooks for more information on Tar Heel writers and the places they lived and wrote about. The featured writers list that is part of the Trails website is a great place to start.

The Arts Council has also produced guidebooks to African American music in eastern North Carolina, the music traditions of western North Carolina and western North Carolina’s Cherokee heritage that are great companions for a specific trip or fascinating reads in their own right.

If you missed the Arts Council’s guides to books and bookstores from last summer, be sure to see those, too.

Other Resources on North Carolina Writers and Books

If history’s more your thing, be sure to check out the offerings of N.C. Historical Publications. From an overview of the pirates who operated off the Outer Banks to histories of specific people and places, they have something for just about everybody.

If all the above isn’t enough, the N.C. Literary Hall of Fame and the N.C. Literary Map, produced by UNC Greensboro and the State Library will give you even more ideas for authors and great summer reads.

So that’s about it from us. What are you reading this summer? Tell us in the comments.

Special thanks to the N.C. Arts Council’s literature and theater director, David Potorti, for compiling this list of great reads.

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Looking to get started on your summer reading, but not sure where to start? Look no further, than North Carolina Historical Publications!

From general overviews of historical topics to detailed histories of specific places and people to primary documents and maps, Historical Publications has something for everyone, and between now and the end of the June, most of Historical Publications’ more than 160 titles are discounted between 50 and 90 percent!

As part of series of blog posts we did last year, Historical Publications recommends checking out the following titles if you’re specifically interested in looking for a light summer read:

  1. The Lost Colonists: Their Fortune and Probable Fate by David Beers Quinn: A discussion the composition of the Lost Colony of 1587, the conditions on Roanoke Island, and the activities of the English colonists after landing there.
  2. The Pirates of Colonial North Carolina by Hugh F. Rankin: Originally published in 1960, this paperback is the most popular title ever published by the Historical Publications Section and has never gone out of print.
  3. Gold Mining in North Carolina: A Bicentennial History by Richard F. Knapp and Brent D. Glass: The first documented discovery of gold in the United States was in 1799 at John Reed’s farm in Cabarrus County. This book traces the history of gold mining in North Carolina from that discovery to the 20th century.
  4. North Carolina Legends by Richard Walser: North Carolina is a place where history has been enriched by legends and folklore. The 48 colorful Tar Heel tales in this volume include well-known stories like “Virginia Dare and the White Doe” and “Old Dan Tucker” and some less-familiar ones, too!
  5. North Carolina as a Civil War Battleground by John G. Barrett: This popular title presents an overview of Civil War North Carolina, with information on secession, preparations for war, battles fought in North Carolina, blockade-running, and the coming of peace.

Conveniently enough all five of these titles and many, many more are significantly marked down, so head on over to the Historical Publications online store and order your copy today!

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This post is the last in a three-part series we’re doing on summer reading. Click here to read part one and here to read part two.

So you’ve reached that point in the summer where you’ve gotten to every interesting book on your list. You want to try to something new because there are still a few precious weeks left in the season, but the deluge of specific book suggestions is overwhelming , and you’re looking for somewhere to browse.

Inside McIntyre's Books in Pittsboro

Inside McIntyre’s Books in Pittsboro

That’s where the N.C. Arts Council comes in. They put together this awesome list of the best bookstores that emphasize North Carolina writers from Chapel Hill to Charlotte, from Southern Pines to Sylva and beyond. Enjoy!

1. Quail Ridge Books & Music
3522 Wade Ave., Raleigh
(919) 828-1588
2. So & So Books
704 N. Person St. , Raleigh
(919) 426-9502
3. The Regulator Bookshop
720 9th St., Durham
(919) 286-2700
4. Flyleaf Books
752 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd .,Chapel Hill
(919) 942-73735. McIntyre’s Books
220 Market Street, Fearrington Village, Pittsboro
(919) 542-3030

Fireside Books and Gifts in Shelby

6. Duck’s Cottage Coffee & Books
105 Sir Walter Raleigh St., Manteo
(252) 473-1056

7. City Lights Bookstore
3 E. Jackson Street, Sylva
(828) 586-9499

8. The Country Bookshop
140 NW Broad St., Southern Pines
(910) 692-3211

9. Malaprop’s Bookstore
55 Haywood St., Asheville
(828) 254-6734

10. Park Road Books
4139 Park Road, Charlotte
(704) 525-9239

11. Fireside Books and Gifts
212 S. Lafayette Street, Shelby
(704) 487-8477

12. The Fountainhead Bookstore
408 N Main St., Hendersonville
(828) 697-1870

13. The Book Shelf
94 N Trade St., Tryon
(828) 859-9304

14. Two Sisters Bookery
318 Nutt St., Wilmington (#32 In the Cotton Exchange)
(910) 762-4444

Do you have a favorite bookstore that focuses on North Carolina authors in your community? Tell us about in the comments!

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This post is the second in a three-part series we’re doing on summer reading. Click here to read part one. Check back here on the next Friday for part three. 

From Cullowhee to Pine Knoll Shores and from quirky humor to murder mysteries, North Carolina authors have stories to brighten up your summer at the beach or at home in your favorite chair. North Carolina Arts Council Literature Director David Potorti has selected a few of the 2013 releases from some of our state’s finest authors for you to explore:

1.  A Different Sun: A Novel of Africa by Elaine Neil Orr (Berkley Trade, 2013): This debut novel from NC State professor of English Elaine Neil Orr, born and raised in Nigeria, tells a tale of social and spiritual awakening. Orr is a 2002 N.C. Arts Council Artist Fellowship recipient in literature.

2.  Allegiance and Betrayal by Peter Makuck (Syracuse University Press, 2013): Pine Knoll Shores resident Peter Makuck’s third story collection explores the mystery surrounding family relations, love, generational rifts, marriage, and the inevitability of loss.

3.  At Random by Lee Zacharias (Fugitive Poets Press, 2013): Zacharias, an emerita professor of English at UNC Greensboro, tells the story of a middle-aged couple struggling to survive a tragedy, and the tale of a refugee family caught between a younger generation’s desire to assimilate and the older generation’s desire to preserve their culture. Zacharias is the recipient of a 1986 and 2005 N.C. Arts Council Artist Fellowship in literature.

4.  A Town of Empty Rooms by Karen E. Bender (Counterpoint Press, 2013): Karen E. Bender, who teaches creative writing at UNC Wilmington, presents the story of Serena and Dan Shine, estranged from one another as they separately grieve over the recent loss of Serena’s father and Dan’s older brother.

5.  Flashes of War: Short Stories by Katey Schultz (Apprentice House, 2013): Illuminating the intimate, human faces of war, this series of short stories questions the stereotypes of modern war by bearing witness to the shared struggles of all who are touched by it.

6.  Flora by Gail Godwin (Bloomsbury, 2013): Asheville author Gail Godwin’s darkly beautiful novel about a child and a caretaker in isolation is a story of love, regret, and the things we can’t undo.

7.  Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris (Little, Brown and Company, 2013): Raleigh native son David Sedaris brings his quirky perspective to another collection of hilarious personal essays.

8.  Life after Life by Jill McCorkle (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2013): This family saga by New York Times bestselling author Jill McCorkle weaves together the stories of multiple generations of the residents and staff of Pine Haven, a retirement community in Fulton, North Carolina.

9.  Lillian’s Garden by Carrie Knowles (Roundfire Books, 2013): Just when Helen thinks she can take charge of her life, a devil-hunting itinerant preacher upsets the delicate balance she has managed in a family locked in secrets and headed for trouble.

10.  Miss Julia Stirs Up Trouble by Ann B. Ross (Viking, 2013): In Hendersonville, author Ann B. Ross’ latest installment in her popular series, Miss Julia deals with an internet scam, a crabby patient on bed rest, an overwhelmed lady of the house with a family to feed, and an unexpected guest with questionable intentions.

11.  Music of Ghosts by Sallie Bissell (Midnight Ink, 2013): Asheville author Sallie Bissell’s Mary Crow series continues in this story following a group of young thrill seekers as they head deep into the Appalachian woods to the old Fiddlesticks cabin, the scene of a bloody double murder from decades past.

12.  Nothing Gold Can Stay: Stories by Ron Rash (Ecco, 2013): New York Times Notable Writer Ron Rash’s most recent collection of short stories is dark, beautiful and affecting.

13.  Sweet Souls and Other Stories by Charles Blackburn, Jr. (Main Street Rag, 2013): In this series of short stories, Raleigh writer Charles Blackburn, Jr., takes readers on a journey from the rural South to the Middle East. Blackburn earned a 1998 NC Arts Council Artist Fellowship in literature and was the 2008 winner of the Sam Ragan Award for Literature.

14.  Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler (St. Martin’s Press, 2013): North Carolina author Therese Anne Fowler explores the early days of Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, capturing the golden years of their marriage.

Additionally, the N.C. Arts Council has released two guidebooks to authentic travel experiences exploring the state’s literary heritage and the traditional music of the mountains and the foothills. Both books are available from UNC Press and at your public library or local bookstore.

15.  Literary Trails of Eastern North Carolina allows readers to see the state’s landscape through the eyes of writers who have lived in worked in the 45 eastern and coastal counties featured in the guidebook. Written by Georgann Eubanks for the Arts Council the guidebook features stories, anecdotes and excerpts.

16.  Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina is a lively guidebook to music sites, artists and traditions of the mountains and foothills. The book, written by folklorist Fred C. Fussell with Steve Kruger, includes a CD with 20 music tracks.

If non-fiction is more your thing, look no further than North Carolina Historical Publications. The staff at Historical Publications recommend the following for a good summer read:

17.  The Lost Colonists: Their Fortune and Probable Fate by David Beers Quinn: A discussion the composition of the Lost Colony of 1587, the conditions on Roanoke Island, and the activities of the English colonists after landing there.

18.  The Pirates of Colonial North Carolina by Hugh F. Rankin: Originally published in 1960, this paperback is the most popular title ever published by the Historical Publications Section and has never gone out of print.

19.  Gold Mining in North Carolina: A Bicentennial History by Richard F. Knapp and Brent D. Glass: The first documented discovery of gold in the United States was in 1799 at John Reed’s farm in Cabarrus County. This book traces the history of gold mining in North Carolina from that discovery to the 20th century.

20.  North Carolina Legends by Richard Walser: North Carolina is a place where history has been enriched by legends and folklore. The 48 colorful Tar Heel tales in this volume include well-known stories like “Virginia Dare and the White Doe” and “Old Dan Tucker” and some less-familiar ones, too!

21.  North Carolina as a Civil War Battleground by John G. Barrett: This popular title presents an overview of Civil War North Carolina, with information on secession, preparations for war, battles fought in North Carolina, blockade-running, and the coming of peace.

We want to know what you’re reading! Tell us about in the comments, and check back next week for some of best bookstores to discover North Carolina writers in your neck of the woods.

Coming up next week: the best bookshops to explore North Carolina writers from the N.C. Arts Council’s literature director.

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This post is the first in a three-part series we’re doing on summer reading. Check back here on the next two Fridays for parts two and three.

Cultural Resources Sec. Susan Kluttz “gets caught reading” at the Caldwell County Public Library in Lenoir

During the past few weeks, we’ve shared a bunch of suggestions on books for your summer reading list, and we’ve gotten a great response. As a result, we’ve decided to collect them all in one place so you can have them for your reference.

First, the resources we’ve already shared:

And now, some more great resources focused on North Carolina writers and places that you might not know about:

Tell us about your experiences with summer reading. What books have you finished? What books do you want to try to finish before the end of the summer? Are you participating in a formal program with a local library? Tell us about it in the comments!

More on summer reading coming up in the next two weeks:

  • The great folks at the N.C. Arts Council and N.C. Historical Publications suggest some titles you might particularly enjoy
  • The best bookshops to explore North Carolina writers from the N.C. Arts Council’s literature director

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