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.”
Sahar, the narrator of author Sara Farizan’s first novel “If You Could Be Mine,” and her best friend Nasrin have been in love since they were young children. Now in their teens, they struggle with how to express their love in a country where their feelings are forbidden.
Edward, Feenix, Nasrin and Sahar are among the characters Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill will introduce with its new line of books for young readers. This fall, Algonquin Young Readers will publish five titles geared toward readers ages 7 to 17.
Durham multi-instrumentalist Alex Weiss has published “Peruvian Adventures,” a memoir of his adventures hiking and traveling in that country with his wife, Li-Lan Hsiang Weiss. His instruments – a pocket trumpet, a flute, a harmonica, and sometimes hand drums – were also constant companions, and Weiss and friends often would play music in open spaces.
UNC professor William Ferris calls the South “a land of talkers” in his coming collection of interviews, “The Storied South: Voices of Writers and Artists” (University of North Carolina Press, $35, hardcover). The book is a collection of interviews Ferris has conducted during his life as a writer and historian. He groups the interviews according to professions – writers, scholars, musicians, photographers and painters. “I sought out these individuals,” he writes in his introduction, “because their work helps me understand my life as a southerner.”
Why do people get together to sing – not professionals, but amateurs? For author Stacy Horn, singing “is the one thing in my life that never fails to take me to where disenchantment is almost nonexistent and feeling good is pretty much guaranteed.”
Children's literature author, educator and musician John Claude Bemis, the region's 2013 Piedmont Laureate, will be presenting six programs in Durham County, co-sponsored by the Durham Arts Council and the Durham County Library.
Ron Rash talks about “The Cove” on North Carolina Bookwatch today at noon and Thursday at 5 p.m.
Ken Ilgunas graduated from the University of Buffalo with $32,000 in student loan debt. Determined to pay off that debt before going to graduate school, Ilgunas worked as a tour guide, cook, maintenance worker and other jobs.