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One on One: More North Carolina books for gift giving

By D.G. Martin

I thought it was enough, maybe more than enough.

But the long list of North Carolina books I recently shared for readers to consider as holiday gifts or book club choices did not do the job.

One reader complained that I did not include recent bestselling books by North Carolina-connected authors John Grisham and Nicholas Sparks.

For instance, in John Grisham’s latest, “A Time for Mercy,” he brings back Jake Brigance, the hero of “A Time to Kill,” one of the most popular novels ever.

Nicholas Sparks sets his latest, “The Return,” in New Bern where Trevor Benson, a Navy surgeon, is recovering, in body and mind, from having been blown apart in Afghanistan.

Pat Conroy’s widow, Cassandra King Conroy, writes about her challenging but successful marriage in “Tell Me a Story: Life with Pat Conroy.”

Kristy Woodson Harvey’s “Feels Like Falling” follows the life of a successful businesswoman whose life is jolted when her husband suddenly leaves her.

When a hurricane threatens their coastal homes, a diverse group of people in Mary Alice Monroe’s “The Summer Guests” make their way to their friends’ horse farm in North Carolina near Tryon.

In Martin Clark’s “The Substitution Order” a once-beloved attorney – now broke, on probation and disbarred – is the hero who breaks up a complicated scam.

“In the Valley” by Ron Rash shares a short sequel to his acclaimed novel “Serena” and nine of his best short stories.

In Ann Tyler’s “Redhead by the Side of the Road.” a single, wonderfully weird self-employed tech expert meets a teen who claims to be his son.

Therese Anne Fowler’s “A Good Neighborhood” is a tragedy of racism’s effect on a teenage boy living in a mostly white Raleigh neighborhood.

Randall Kenan died three weeks before his short story collection, “If I Had Two Wings,” was selected as one of 10 nominees for the National Book Award.

Two of North Carolina’s favorite food authors, Jean Anderson and Vivian Howard, have new books. Anderson combines great food and North Carolina pottery with favorite recipes contributed by 24 North Carolina potters in “Kiln to Kitchen: Favorite Recipes from Beloved North Carolina Potters.”

Vivian Howard’s “This Will Make It Taste Good: A New Path to Simple Cooking” would make an appreciated gift. Her earlier “A Chef’s Life” is a lasting classic and makes a good gift at any time.

For Civil War buffs, David Silkenat’s “Raising the White Flag: How Surrender Defined the American Civil War” looks at the war through the lens of numerous surrenders on both sides.

Rachel Lance’s “In the Waves: My Quest to Solve the Mystery of a Civil War Submarine” recounts her struggle to determine how and why the crew of the Confederate submarine HL Hunley died in Charleston harbor.

There are two possibilities for sports fans. “Larry Miller Time: The Story of the Lost Legend Who Sparked the Tar Heel Dynasty” by Stephen Demorest is about one of Dean Smith’s earliest and best basketball recruits.

In “Marching Toward Madness: How to Save the Games You Always Loved,” John LeBar and Allen Paul examine the risks of losing college sports as we know and love them.

“UNC A to Z: What Every Tar Heel Needs to Know about the First State University” by Cecelia Moore and Nicholas Graham is a readable, entertaining and authoritative encyclopedia of information about everything UNC.

“Fragile Democracy: The Struggle Over Race and Voting Rights in North Carolina” by James Leloudis and Robert Korstad tells the story of race and voting rights, from the end of the Civil War until the present day.

“A Warren Court of Our Own” by Mark Davis compares the U.S. Supreme Court of Earl Warren with the N.C. Supreme Court led by Jim Exum.

There are many more, but I promise, no more holiday book lists – for now.

D.G. Martin hosts “North Carolina Bookwatch,” Sundays at 3:30 p.m. and Tuesdays at 5 p.m. on UNC-TV. The program also airs on the North Carolina Channel Tuesdays at 8 p.m. and other times.



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