Books roundup: Book chronicles state’s ongoing musical legacy

Aug. 16, 2013 @ 12:27 PM

North Carolina has a rich musical history: Nina Simone, John Coltrane and Doc Watson are a few of the great artists who grew up in this state. Photographer and writer Daniel Coston pays homage to musicians past and present in “North Carolina Musicians: Photographs and Conversations” (McFarland publishers, $39.95, softcover).

Coston has a chapter on recording studios, including Overdub Lane and Studio M in Durham, and The Rubber Room in Chapel Hill. Other chapters cover local music scenes and music festivals. Coston also has extensive profiles and interviews with musicians, among them The Avett Brothers, Tift Merritt, the late Andy Griffith and fiddler Joe Thompson. This is a true work of love from Coston.
Here are some other releases and readings:
-- Orange County author Nancy Peacock’s third novel, “The Life & Times of Persimmon Wilson” (Lystra Books, $16), is told from the viewpoint of the title character, an ex-slave who is accused of killing a white man and then running off with his wife. As he awaits his execution by hanging, Persimmon Wilson tells his side of the story.
Peacock will read and sign copies of her novel at 11 a.m. Saturday at McIntyre’s Fine Books, at Fearrington Village in Pittsboro.
-- Marisha Pessl has followed up her debut novel “Special Topics in Calamity Physics” with “Night Film” (Random House, $28). “Night Film” is the story of reporter Scott McGrath’s investigation of the mysterious death of Ashley Cordova, the 24-year-old daughter of film director Stanislas Cordova.
The novel has numerous visual devices as well as textual narrative – photographs of the principal characters, simulated articles from Time, Rolling Stone and other magazines, simulated emails, medical and police reports. The novel also has an afterword about how readers can continue the novel experience using a smartphone or other device.
Pessl will read from “Night Film” at 2 p.m. Saturday at Flyleaf Books, 752 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Chapel Hill.
-- In 1994, William Harrington, now a retired mental health professional who lives in Durham, became legally responsible for his 45-year-old autistic cousin Frankie Lou. Harrington was 50 at the time, and his Aunt Edna and Uncle Frank had designated him as Frankie Lou’s guardian in their will.
Harrington’s uncle predeceased his aunt, and the life his cousin lived with his aunt “had devolved until it resembled individual tumbleweeds rolling down the main street of an old ghost town,” Harrington  writes in his memoir “Just There: A Memoir of Autism and Family” (Toe Sack Books, $15.99, paperback). Harrington wanted to offer his cousin more. “I wanted her to be out there,” he writes, “to work, to socialize … to laugh and cry and struggle with life like everyone else.”
Harrington’s book is his personal chronicle of how he and his family worked to provide that life to Frankie Lou. (For information about purchasing this book, visit
-- Diane Brandon will sign copies of her book “Intuition for Beginners: Easy Ways to Awaken Your Natural Ability” at 2 p.m. Saturday at Barnes & Noble Booksellers at 5400 New Hope Commons, Durham.
-- Crime novelist Carol O’Connell will read from her 11th novel in her Kathy Mallory series, “It Happens in the Dark” (Penguin, $16.17), Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at McIntyre’s Fine Books in Fearrington Village, Pittsboro.

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