D.G. Martin: North Carolina books make great last-minute gifts
Just in time for holiday giving, here are some good ideas about a variety of North Carolina-related books, one or two of which might be perfect for a last-minute gift.
But first a bit of news about the broadcast schedule of UNC-TV’s “North Carolina Bookwatch.” Beginning in January, the program will air on Sundays at noon, with a repeat on the following Thursday at 5 p.m.
Now, back to possible gifts. Here is an idea for any beer lover on your list, “North Carolina Craft Beer & Breweries” by Hillsborough craft brewer Erik Lars Myers. “Once upon a time,” says Myers, “I would have said brewing beer was my hobby. Now, it’s my life.”
In his new book, he shares his bountiful knowledge about the history of the craft beer business in North Carolina and where you can go to get the freshest and best local brews at small breweries all across the state. He will share more of that knowledge on North Carolina Bookwatch this weekend. (Friday, Dec. 21, at 9:30 p.m., and Sunday Dec. 23, at 5 p.m.)
For a North Carolinian who is interested in World War II, here is a perfect suggestion: “War Zone — World War II off the North Carolina Coast.” Author Kevin Duffus reviews the first seven months of the war when German U-boats destroyed U.S. ships off the North Carolina coast at will. He also tells some of the human interest stories that accompanied military action in the North Carolina zone of that war. (Dec. 28, 30)
A book that will be important to people who like to read about the Civil War and those interested in the struggle for civil rights is David Cecelski’s “The Fire of Freedom: Abraham Galloway and the Slaves’ Civil War.” Galloway was an escaped slave from Wilmington who became a James Bond-like agent for the Union Army. After the war, he turned his charisma and savvy to politics and ran circles around his white fellow legislators. Cecelski’s great storytelling gifts make this biography better reading than much of today’s historic fiction. (Note: This weekend the schedule will change. “North Carolina Bookwatch” will air on Sunday, Jan. 6, at noon, and Thursday, Jan. 10, at 5 p.m.)
Cecelski’s friend, Bland Simpson, has a new book that covers the Civil War era from two different perspectives. The first is that of a talented waterman and captain, but one who was enslaved and badly treated. The second perspective is that of a naval officer who had his own set of challenges as he served first the United States and then the Confederacy. It is hard to see how anyone could bring these points of view together in the same book, but Simpson has done it in “Two Captains from Carolina: Moses Grandy, John Newland Maffitt, and the Coming of the Civil War.” (Sunday, Jan. 13, and Thursday, Jan. 17)
In Emily Colin’s debut novel, “The Memory Thief,” a young woman begs her mountain-climbing husband not to take on Mount McKinley in Alaska. He goes anyway, promising, “I will come back to you.” But, as she feared, he falls to his death. Still, that promise to return is haunting. Learning how it is fulfilled is the backbone of the novel. (Jan. 20, 24)
Finally, an idea for children and young teens if you are wondering what they are reading now that the Harry Potter series has come to an end. Sheila Turnage faces this challenge in “Three Times Lucky” by introducing us to the crime-solving talents of two pre-teens from Tupelo Landing, N.C. Mo LoBeau is sassy, charming, and smart. She and her best friend, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, lead Turnage’s readers through a most entertaining murder investigation. (Jan. 27, 31)
D.G. Martin hosts "North Carolina Bookwatch," which airs Fridays at 9:30 p.m. and Sundays at 5 p.m. on UNC-TV until the end of December. For more information or to view prior programs, visit www.unctv.org/ncbookwatch/.