BY DAWN BAUMGARTNER VAUGHAN
CHAPEL HILL – Daniel Wallace hadn’t written a children’s book until his new one launched into the literary stratosphere this past week, but he knows how to please a roomful of children.
There is nothing that beats the downer of a gray day than looking at art and, last Thursday, Chapel Hill had much to lift the spirits. At the Frank there is a group of glass artists from the North Carolina mountains plus a couple of local ones; at Jane Tyndall, Gayle Lowry’s paintings are a travelogue of desire — the viewers, through the artist’s eyes, can only see in. They are not allowed inside. And at Light Art+Design Casey Cook uses modest materials to make large paintings and monumental sculpture;
Michael Parker talks about “All I Have in This World” on North Carolina Bookwatch today at noon and Thursday at 5 p.m.
Everyone loves a beach, particularly those of us who grew up on one, or near one. But our love of beaches also threatens their existence. Orrin H. Pilkey, James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of Geology at Duke University, has been preaching the gospel about beaches for decades. In a new book, “The Last Beach” (Duke University Press, $19.95, trade paperback) Pilkey and follow geologist J. Andrew G. Cooper of the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Ulster, warn that we will lose the beaches we have long enjoyed if we do not end our insistence on building whatever we want right up to the shoreline.
Gustavo Pérez Firmat was born in Havana, Cuba, grew up in Miami and now makes his home in Chapel Hill and New York, where he is a professor in the humanities at Columbia University. He has written a new book that “tells the story of a late-blooming love affair with Mayberry” titled “A Cuban in Mayberry: Looking back at America’s Hometown” (University of Texas Press, $29.95).
The novels of Jane Austen have inspired numerous modern sequels, along with books of recipes, quilts and manners. Novelist Charlie Lovett, who divides his time between Winston-Salem and Kingham, England, has written a mystery based on the premise that Austen might have stolen the plot that became “Pride and Prejudice” (“First Impressions: A Novel of Old Books, Unexpected Love, and Jane Austen,” Viking, $27.95).
As part of this month’s Durham Reads Together activities, Wesley Hogan, director of the Center for Documentary Studies, will discuss the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the young John Lewis’ involvement in that movement in a free talk today at 3 p.m. at the Durham County Main Library, 300 N. Roxboro St.
Bob Garner, whose cooking and dining experiences have been shared on multiple television shows, serves up his fourth book. The North Carolinian’s latest travels across the state are documented in “Foods That Make You Say Mmm-mmm.” It’s part cookbook, part storytelling and guide to North Cackalacky’s food culture.
A new book festival is in the works. The Read Local Book Festival is scheduled for May 16-17 in Durham. Authors Jennifer Lohmann, Katharine Ashe, Elizabeth Hein and Carl Nordgren are scheduled to present at the festival, with more authors to be added. Organizers will offer workshops on graphic novels, children’s books and other topics.
Wilton Barnhardt talks about “Look Away, Look Away” on North Carolina Bookwatch today at noon and Thursday at 5 p.m.
Columnist Hal Crowther has written a collection of six essays delving into the life and legacy of the man who in his time was hailed as “the civilized consciousness of America,” titled “An Infuriating American: The Incendiary Arts of H.L. Mencken” (University of Iowa Press, $16, paperback).
For book lovers, October means maneuvering elbow-to-elbow to reach shelves to get to some great bargains. The Friends of the Durham Library’s annual fall sale begins Friday and continues through Sunday at the Main Library, 300 N. Roxboro St.
In “The Story of Land and Sea,” Katy Simpson Smith writes of the bonds of family, of perceived duty, of love and loss and place in late 18th century Beaufort, North Carolina. With spellbinding storytelling and historical basis, she draws readers into the literary sea with this debut novel.
The folk revival of the early 1960s has become the roots music revival of our day. The University of North Carolina Press will publish a new book Sept. 29 that gives listeners a thorough history of where those traditions were born, and how they migrated.
Stuart Rojstaczer, a former professor of geophysics at Duke University, has written a poignant and at times funny novel that is a celebration of human endurance and the life of the mind.
It is the saga of the Karnokovitch family, an eastern European Jewish family who escape Stalinist Russia and thrive as mathematicians in Wisconsin. Alexander “Sasha” Karnokovitch is the principal narrator of this story. He is the son of Rachela Karnokovitch, a renowned genius in math, and Viktor Karnokovitch, also a mathematician. Sasha’s narrative about the death of his mother and the shiva (or mourning period) that follows is interspersed with chapters from his mother’s autobiography “A Lifetime in Mathematics,” which Sasha also is translating from Rachela’s native Polish.