Sarah Addison Allen, the Asheville author whose novels are set in familiar Southern places – mostly imagined, but familiar all the same – is back with a wonderful new book. “Lost Lake” is set in Georgia, at an aging getaway spot that has been a place of sanctuary, friendship, love, loss, solace and new life.
Wiley Cash was working at Pomegranate Books in Wilmington in support of Small Business Saturday when he got a call that he was on the long list for the first Crook’s Corner Book Prize. “It was a real surprise for me to be on the long list,” he said during his acceptance speech for the prize earlier this week at the restaurant.
Wendy Webb, who writes gothic mysteries set in old houses, has recently published the newest in her series, titled “The Vanishing” (Hyperion, $17, paperback). It opens with a séance in 1875 that goes awry, then switches to the present day, narrated by Julia Bishop. After her husband’s death (and the fallout from his investment swindle), Bishop gets a visit from the son of Amaris Sinclair, who asks Bishop to live with his mother.
Columnist Leonard Pitts will read from his novel “Freeman” March 1. Pitts, photographer Jose Galvez and author Mur Lafferty are among the guests who will speak and give presentations during the winter-spring Humanities Programs series at the Durham County Library. All programs are free and open to the public.
If you have ever imagined yourself walking the streets of Paris between the world wars, if you devour the drama and history of France under the German occupation, if you are enamored of the romance of the French Resistance, if you have ever pretended to appreciate the novels of Henry Miller (you like the descriptions of Paris, not the sexy parts), then you will be captivated from the first page of Francine Prose’s novel “Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932.”
“Without words, we’re history’s orphans. Our lives and thoughts erased,” writes Anana Johnson, the narrator of Alena Graedon’s debut novel “The Word Exchange” (Doubleday, $26.95).
In “The Word Exchange,” Anana’s father Doug Samuel Johnson disappears while editing the final edition of the “North American Dictionary of the English Language.” In Graedon’s world, the much-discussed death of print has finally happened. Anana’s father and a small group of compatriots have vehemently opposed the move away from print to devices. Anana, who works for her father as an editor and assistant, goes on a search to find her father.
With “The Accidental Pallbearer,” Duke University literature professor Frank Lentricchia began his series of crime dramas starring former private investigator Eliot Conte. The second novel in the series, “The Dog Killer of Utica,” is available in paperback April 22 (Melville House, $15.95), and, like the first novel, is set in Utica, N.Y., Lentricchia’s home town.
Programs about the history of censorship and the early founders of Durham are among the offerings from the Durham Library Foundation’s Humanities Series.
All programs in this series are free and open to the public.
For more information, visit www.durhamcountylibrary.org.
The late Shirley Temple’s legacy goes far beyond film, John F. Kasson argues in his new biography of the child star, “The Little Girl Who Fought the Great Depression: Shirley Temple and 1930s America” (W.W. Norton, $27.95). Her optimism, and that of Franklin Roosevelt, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, and many other public figures, was vital to helping Americans get through the Great Depression, writes Kasson, a professor of history at UNC Chapel Hill.
The publication of “On the Road” in 1957 soon earned novelist Jack Kerouac the title “King of the Beats.” His fame and the cultural phenomenon of the Beat Generation masked a different side of Kerouac that remained largely hidden from his readers – his French-Canadian heritage.
Writer and editor Joyce Johnson, who had an almost two-year relationship with Kerouac around the time of the publication of “On the Road,” came to UNC last week to discuss the importance of that heritage to Kerouac’s art in a lecture titled “Jack Kerouac: Beyond Beat.” His family left Quebec and settled in Lowell, Mass. Kerouac’s first language was French, and he did not really speak English until his teens.
In “Acts of God,” the title story of Ellen Gilchrist’s new short story collection (Algonquin Books, $23.95), the author gives us a brief history of a family, and a look inside a common modern dilemma. The story focuses on William McCamey and his wife Amelie, now in their 80s, who have been in love since elementary school. To protect them from themselves, their children hire a sitter to keep them from driving their car out of the garage.
So, what secrets do you carry with you? Frank Warren, founder of the blog PostSecret.com, has been collecting secrets for about 10 years from people who send them to him anonymously on post cards. Monday, Warren will invite audience members to share their secrets when he performs “PostSecret Live” at The Carolina Theatre.
PostSecret began in November 2004, when Warren handed out some 3,000 post cards in Washington, D.C., asking people to return them to his address with a secret.
David Crosby once called bandmate and friend Graham Nash “one of the most highly evolved people on the planet.” In his new memoir “Wild Tales: A Rock & Roll Life,” Nash comes across as a true Renaissance man, and a highly successful musician who has that rare quality of gratitude.
The memoir is also a wild ride. Nash, who helped start the British band The Hollies before meeting Crosby and Stephen Stills to become Crosby, Stills & Nash (and sometimes Neil Young), is not shy about sharing the excesses of the 1960s. Laurel Canyon in California, a haunt for many rock and folk musicians of the time, was the site of many parties, with “plenty of music, sex, dope, the whole enchilada,” Nash writes.
Organizers have put a Bull City stamp on the Durham version of Mardi Gras. The event’s slogan reads, “Laissez Les Bull Temps Rouler.” The Krewe organizations have names like Krewe du Durty (a krewe of the Durty Durham Art Collective), the Society of the Sacred Bull, and The League of the Tutu.
The latter organization has created a distinctly Durham tradition as part of the annual parade, transforming the bronze sculpture “Major” the bull into “Bullerina.”
Depending on your tradition, this coming Tuesday is Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday -- the day before the Christian season of Lent, a time of reflection and repentance before Easter. Durham will celebrate the day with parades, bands, costumes and the transformation of the bronze bull downtown into “Bullerina.”
This year’s parade and related events have been expanded. Since 2011, the Bulltown Strutters band and other organizations have been presenting the parade. In past years, parade participants had to walk on the sidewalk, but this year, organizers have obtained a city permit closing off the streets for the parade route.
The Algonquin Young Readers series will release two new titles March 25. Gae Polisner’s novel “The Summer of Letting Go” ($16.95) is told from the viewpoint of Francesca (“Frankie”) Schnell,” who, during the summer between her sophomore and junior years in high school, suspects her father of having an affair with a neighbor. Frankie also must come to terms with her guilt over the death of her younger brother, Simon, who drowned because she was not watching him.