In Durham writer William Conescu’s novel “Kara Was Here” (Soft Skull Press, $15.95), we meet Brad Mitchell as he is headed to the funeral of Kara Tinsley, the woman he thought he would marry. Both were drama majors at UNC, and went their separate ways. Kara went to New York and Brad stayed in North Carolina.
In the prologue to “The Workboats of Core Sound,” photographer and writer Lawrence S. Earley recalls how a photograph he included in an exhibition at Harker’s Island kept getting the attention of viewers.
I found an unexpected treasure a few years ago at a Durham County Library book sale. I bought a hardcover copy of Joseph Heller’s novel “Good as Gold.” When I opened it at home, the name “Joseph Heller” was written in red on the inside. I have not had the book appraised by an expert, but the signature seems to match an online example of Heller’s handwriting.
In celebration of Hispanic Heritage month, local author Claudia Corletto will read and discuss her book “7 cuentos,” a collection of short stories and art, at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Durham County Main Library.
This reading is the first in a series of Humanities Programs the Durham Library Foundation is presenting through December. Here is a list of other programs.
Jennifer Chiaverini is known best for her best-selling Elm Creek Quilts novels, but her past two books have picked up the historical thread in her quilting series and sewn new stories. Her newest novel, to be published Tuesday, is “The Spymistress.”
Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, the wife of writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, is often cited as a symbol of the Lost Generation, the Jazz Age and the excesses of the liberating 1920s. In Lee Smith’s new novel “Guests on Earth,” Zelda Fitzgerald is not a crazy flapper, but an artist with great empathy for those society considers outsiders.
“All the while I was in treatment I was looking for a guidebook,” writes novelist Alice Hoffman in “Survival Lessons” (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, $13.95), a book of meditations and thoughts recollected from her treatment for breast cancer, which she calls “my gift to you,” the readers.
“Love and Lament” by John Milliken Thompson twines good storytelling and poetic writing to imagine how a woman in Chatham County experienced the years between the Civil War and World War I. In the novel it’s called Haw County, but it’s Chatham County, as the author’s research shows.
Sharyn McCrumb follows up “The Ballad of Tom Dooley” with another in her set of novels based on folk ballads, “King’s Mountain: A Ballad Novel” (Thomas Dunne Books, $25.99). In this novel, McCrumb draws inspiration from the history of the Revolutionary War battle at King’s Mountain, near the N.C.-S.C. border, and her family connection to that history.
Margaret Klaw, a family lawyer in Philadelphia, recounts in the opening chapter of her memoir “Keeping It Civil: The Case of the Pre-nup and the Porsche & Other True Accounts from the Files of a Family Lawyer” (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, $24.95), the story of a young (unmarried) couple fighting over the custody of their young child. After the father tried to choke the mother, the mother filed a protective order to keep the father away from the child. The father retaliated by accusing her of being a drug addict. When a judge ruled that the father’s parents would get custody of the child, the woman was hysterical and distraught.
This past week at a reading of his new book, “Lookaway, Lookaway,” Wilton Barnhardt told the crowd at The Regulator Bookshop in Durham that reviewers were giving away some plot details of the North Carolina-set Southern novel. So this reviewer will do her best to hold back some twists of the Jarvis Johnston family that make this the fabulous Southern novel that it is. And by Southern, an example of gloriously flawed characters and epic storytelling and a hilarious clash of Old South and New South and flair for the dramatic without being a novel that uses “I declare” with abandon.
In the opening chapter of Jojo Moyes’ new novel “The Girl You Left Behind” (Viking, $27.95), Sophie Lefevre confronts an officer from the German army who is following up on a rumor that her family is harboring “illegal livestock.”
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).
Melody Moezzi once tried to commit suicide in a psychiatrist’s office, and had hallucinations in which Joseph Stalin and her fourth-grade teacher were participants. How she struggled to understand her bipolar illness and became an advocate and spokesperson for mental illness is the subject of Moezzi’s compelling memoir, “Haldol and Hyacinths: A Bipolar Life.”
As the winter solstice draws near, time is speeding up. Classroom bells ring too fast, teachers who are normally punctual show up late, a pumpkin decomposes in minutes, and what appears to be a solid world is no longer solid. Edward’s Aunt Kit warns him, “Something’s been set loose that shouldn’t have been. You’d better get up. Your help may be needed.”