by D.G. Martin
Chapel Hill, NC – What is a good book I can give a friend?
Every year I get this question from folks who know that I try to keep up with NorthCarolina-related books.
First of all, I have to warn people that giving books is not without risks. In fact, an effective way to lose friends is giving a book that is not right for them, and then checking
On the other hand, a book that is carefully and lovingly chosen can be a perfect gift.
First of all, from PBS’s Great American Read list of 100 of America’s favorite novels, several had North Carolina connections:
“A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” by Betty Smith, while set in New York City, was written in Chapel Hill.
“Tales of the City” is by Raleigh native Armistead Maupin.
The only book set in North Carolina was “The Notebook” by Nicholas Sparks, who lives in New Bern.
The Great American Read named Harper Lee’s1960 southern classic “To Kill a Mockingbird” as “America’s
Another helpful gift-giver’s list recently appeared in “1,000 Books to Read Before You Die” by James Mustich. The author lists and thoughtfully discusses important and popular books from the beginning of literary history and includes a few North Carolina-connected books in his long list: Thomas Wolfe’s classic, “Look Homeward Angel.”
Ann Tyler’s “Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant,” about which famed author Eudora Welty wrote that if she had written its last sentence, “I’d have been happy for the rest of my life.”
The late Reynolds Price’s “A Palpable God: Thirty Stories Translated from the Bible with an Essay on the Origins and the life of Narrative.”
Greensboro’s Orson Scott Card’s popular science fiction thriller, “Ender’s Game.”
Robeson County native Joseph Mitchell’s book about life in New York City, “Up in the OldHotel.”
These books are not for everybody, but each of the 1,000 books listed in “1,000 Books to Read Before You Die” could be a suitable gift for someone.
There is, however a very good and safe choice, maybe even perfect choice, that would be a
With compact, easy going descriptions of each book and its author, “1,000 Books” is like a trip to a good bookstore or library. With the books arranged alphabetically by author, it opens the possibility fora delightful browsing experience: finding, remembering, and savoring old favorites; passing by other books that don’t interest you
If you are still waiting to learn about the right book for your gift giving, here are three more possibilities, both North Carolina connected.
First is another book by Nicholas Sparks, “Every Breath.” Like almost all of his books, it is set in coastal North Carolina. But there is a hitch. One of the main characters is from the African country of Zimbabwe.
Finally, for literary fiction fans, “Cold Mountain” author Charles Frazier’s “Varina” has been enthusiastically reviewed.
And then there is always my book, “North Carolina Roadside Eateries,” a perfect gift for any occasion.
D.G. Martin hosts “North Carolina Bookwatch,” Sunday11:00 am and Tuesday at 5:00 pm on UNC-TV. The program also airs on the North Carolina Channel Tuesday at 8:00 pm and other times.
To view prior programs: http://video.unctv.org/show/nc-bookwatch/episodes/