DG MARTIN COLUMN: A checklist of books for holiday giving

Published 9:49 am Monday, November 30, 2020

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If you are worried about holiday gifts or selections for your book club’s reading, here are some good North Carolina connected books to consider.

Three beloved North Carolina authors have new books that would be perfect for fiction fans.

D.G. Martin

Allan Gurganus, author of “The Oldest Confederate Widow Tells All,” gives us a crop of his best short fiction in “The Uncollected Stories of Allan Gurganus.”

Jill McCorkle’s “Hieroglyphics” is a poignant novel about an older couple making peace with their pasts.

Lee Smith’s “Blue Marlin” takes a trip to Key West with a teenage girl who helps heal her parents’ broken marriage.

There are three possibilities for those interested in Bible times and issues.

Sue Monk Kidd’s “The Book of Longings” imagines life for a wife of Jesus.

Jodi Magness’s “Masada: From Jewish Revolt to Modern Myth” tells about the desert mountain fortress built by King Herod.

Bart Ehrman’s “Heaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife” lays out the different views of religious leaders about what happens to us when we die.

There are several options for fans of North Carolina’s complicated and varied history,

David Zucchino’s “Wilmington’s Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy” gives disturbing details of those events.

David Menconi’s “Step It Up and Go: The Story of North Carolina Popular Music, from Blind Boy Fuller and Doc Watson to Nina Simone and Superchunk” outlines the state’s rich history of music.

Daniel Pierce’s “Tar Heel Lightnin’: How Secret Stills and Fast Cars Made North Carolina the Moonshine Capital of the World” takes readers through the long history of North Carolina’s affairs with illegal liquor.

In “That’s Rufus: A Memoir of Tar Heel Politics, Watergate, & Public Life,” Rufus Edmisten, former candidate for governor, tells his story of politics and family.

In “From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century,” William Darity and A. Kirsten Mullen set out a persuasive case for reparations.

Ricky Moore’s “Saltbox Seafood Joint Cookbook” gives directions for selecting and preparing seafood dishes like the ones that made his Durham restaurants so popular.

Former Charlotte Observer reporter Pam Kelly’s book, “Money Rock: A Family’s Story of Cocaine, Race, and Ambition in the New South,” opens the door to a deeper understanding of the challenges in North Carolina’s largest city.

Kathy Reich’s “A Conspiracy of Bones,” set in Charlotte, is a fictional look at the exploitation of children by political rumormongers.

In “The Antidote for Everything” by Charlotte doctor and author Kimmery Martin, a young woman urologist at a hospital clinic owned by a conservative religious group, goes to bat for her colleague, a gay doctor who serves gay and trans patients.

Lewis Bowling’s “Sam Ragan: North Carolina’s Literary Godfather” captures the rich life of the newspaper editor who became the state’s poet laureate.

UNC-TV’s North Carolina Bookwatch featured these programs in its current season that wraps up next month. They are posted on the program’s website (https://video.unctv.org/show/nc-bookwatch/episodes/).

The following books will be featured in December.

East Carolina University’s Liza Wieland’s latest novel, “Paris 7 A.M.,” is perfect for a Francophile who loves American poetry and for anyone else who is intrigued by the times in Europe that accompanied the rise of Hitler.

For adventure lovers, Durham author Doug Bock Clark’s “The Last Whalers: Three Years in the Far Pacific with a Courageous Tribe and a Vanishing Way of Life” follows an isolated Indonesian island community living the same way its ancestors did hundreds of years ago.

For anyone who loves to visit weird roadside attractions such as the Peachoid in Gaffney, S.C., South of the Border, or Hills of Snow in Smithfield, the perfect gift is “Road Sides: An Illustrated Companion to Dining and Driving in the American South” written and illustrated by Emily Wallace.

If you have trouble deciding, call your local bookstore. Its staff will be glad to help select the right book to give or recommend to your book club.

D.G. Martin hosts “North Carolina Bookwatch,” Sunday 3:30 p.m. (except during holiday special fundraisers) and Tuesday at 5 p.m. on UNC-TV. The program also airs on the North Carolina Channel Tuesday at 8 p.m. and other times.