Lifestyles: Books

Apr. 11, 2014 @ 10:47 AM

New adventures of Conte, Longmire, Sir Sidney’s Circus

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.


Apr. 03, 2014 @ 08:26 PM

Library announces Humanities series

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


Mar. 28, 2014 @ 04:48 PM

The child star who healed a nation

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.

Mar. 24, 2014 @ 11:43 AM

Beyond Beat: Johnson discusses Kerouac’s French connection

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.  

Mar. 22, 2014 @ 10:45 AM

'Acts of God' explores family, cherishing life

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.

Mar. 15, 2014 @ 10:46 AM

The meaning of secrets

So, what secrets do you carry with you? Frank Warren, founder of the blog, 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. 

Mar. 15, 2014 @ 10:20 AM

Graham Nash: Rock star, visual artist, Renaissance man

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.  

Feb. 28, 2014 @ 11:28 AM

Embellishing the bull

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.”

Feb. 28, 2014 @ 11:09 AM

Celebrate Mardi Gras in Bull City style

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.

Feb. 21, 2014 @ 10:25 AM

Algonquin releases new YA books

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.

Feb. 15, 2014 @ 11:11 AM

‘The Lady Who Shot Lee Morgan’ author visiting Regulator

Lee Morgan (1938-1972) is remembered as the trumpet player who created the sound and legacy of Blue Note records. Under his name, Morgan recorded classics like "The Sidewinder," "Infinity," "Cornbread" and "The Search for the New Land." Morgan also played on John Coltrane's "Blue Train" recording.
His life came to an abrupt end in February 1972, when his common-law wife Helen More (sometimes spelled Moore, and also known as Helen Morgan) walked into the New York club Slugs, where Morgan was playing, and shot him to death. Larry Thomas, a local writer who also does the Sunday night jazz program at WCOM FM in Carrboro, has written a book about Helen Morgan, “The Lady Who Shot Lee Morgan” (KHA Books).

Feb. 08, 2014 @ 08:34 PM

UNC to honor Rubin

UNC will hold a memorial service for the late Louis D. Rubin, a retired professor of English and co-founder of Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, today at 2 p.m. in the auditorium of the Genome Sciences Building at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Feb. 08, 2014 @ 10:42 AM

REVIEW: A saga of leaving and returning

When Angela Belcher Epps’ novella “Salt in the Sugar Bowl” opens, Sophia Sawyer is making her way on a Coastline Express bus “past the black fields of eastern North Carolina,” leaving the fictional town of Hayden for Norington, where she can find work and “live off the profits left by a steady stream of tourists.”
Three days earlier, a social worker showed up at the door with a baby and a young boy, the other children of her husband Hunt Sawyer. Sophia, despite her moral reluctance, decides to leave Hunt and their children forever.

Feb. 01, 2014 @ 10:40 AM

N.C. Literary Festival is back, with local and national authors

After a five-year hiatus, the North Carolina Literary Festival is back, with this year’s celebration of reading to be held April 3-6 at N.C. State University in Raleigh. The theme is “The Future of Reading.” The last festival was held at UNC Chapel Hill in 2009, and before that, at Duke University in 2006, when it was called the N.C. Festival of the Book. The three major Triangle universities take turns hosting the festival.

Feb. 01, 2014 @ 10:37 AM

REVIEW: ‘The Secret of Magic’ a story of murder, mystery and history

This is the book. This is the novel you’ll tell your friends to read this year. This is the book that will push all those other set in the South during Jim Crow books to the dusty end of the bookshelf. “The Secret of Magic” by Deborah Johnson is a work of masterful storytelling, telling truth with fiction in a novel that comes alive with every word on the page. With as many curves as there are branches on magnolia trees, this novel will take you into the forest and leave a mark on you.