What books are you featuring on PBS-NC’s North Carolina Bookwatch this season?
When I get this question from fans of that television program, I have to explain that the program was recently discontinued by PBS-NC.
Then some people want to know what North Carolina-related books and authors would have been featured if the program had continued.
Here are some of the programs I would have recommended for inclusion.
“The Last First Kiss,” by Walter Bennett. A widowed retired lawyer reconnects with his high school girl friend in a hurricane on the Outer Banks.
“The Beauty of Dusk” by Frank Bruni. The New York Times columnist and new North Carolina resident deals with his possible blindness.
“Fire and Stone: The Making of the University of North Carolina under Presidents Edward Kidder Graham and Harry Woodburn Chase” by Howard Covington.
“Midnight Lock” by Jeffery Deaver, the bestselling thriller author of the Lincoln Rhyme series who lives in North Carolina.
“Balcony Reserved for White Spectators” by the late Walter Dellinger. Although Dellinger died before he completed this book of his extraordinary memories, we can hope his family and friends will find a way to finish it.
“Saving the Wild South: The Fight for Native Plants on the Brink of Extinction” by Georgeann Eubanks.
“The Recovery Agent” by Janet Evanovich. This bestselling author who lives in North Carolina begins a new series that the publisher asserts “blends wild adventure, hugely appealing characters, and pitch-perfect humor.”
“A Good Neighborhood” by Therese Anne Fowler. A story of race and family set in Raleigh.
“The Last Battleground: The Civil War Comes to North Carolina” by Philip Gerard.
“The Other Dr. Gilmer: Two Men, A Murder, and an Unlikely Fight for Justice” by Benjamin Gilmer. A caring doctor is also a killer.
“UNC A to Z: What Every Tar Heel Needs to Know about the First State University” by Nicholas Graham and Cecelia Moore.
“The Unwilling” by John Hart. Set in North Carolina, a fifth bestseller by Hart, who grew up in Salisbury.
“Mountain Folk” by John Hood. A political columnist’s fanciful look at the times of the American Revolution.
“To Drink from the Well: The Struggle for Racial Equality at the Nation’s Oldest Public University” by Geeta N. Kapur. A Black UNC-Chapel Hill graduate re-writes the history of the university’s admission denials.
“Frank Porter Graham: Southern Liberal, Citizen of the World” by William Link.
“The Mays of Alamanns’ Creek: A Family Odyssey” by John May. A family history beginning hundreds of thousand years ago.
“Hell of a Book” by Jason Mott, who won the 2021 National Book Award.
“The Faces of Poverty in North Carolina: Stories from Our Invisible Citizens” by Gene Nichol.
“Sea Level Rise: A Slow Tsunami on America’s Shores” by Orrin and Keith Pilkey.
“A Small Circle” by William Price. A privately published book of family memories by Reynolds Price’s brother William.
“Andy Griffith’s Manteo: His Real Mayberry” by John Railey. Griffith’s life story told from his beloved Manteo.
“In the Valley” by Ron Rash. Short stories by a master of the craft and a sequel to Rash’s bestselling “Serena.”
“Searching for Amylu Danzer” by John Rosenthal. Famed photographer Rosenthal’s memoir of a lost friendship still haunting after more that 50 years.
“How the Word is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America” by Clint Smith. This #1 New York Times bestseller by a Davidson graduate who visited places where slavery is more than a simple memory.
“The Return” by Nicholas Sparks.
“Paul’s Hill: Homage to Whitman” by Shelby Stephenson. Narrative poetry by a former state poet-laureate.
“French Braid” by Anne Tyler. Another best seller set in Baltimore by an author who grew up in North Carolina
“Hanging Tree Guitars” by Freeman Vines. Photographs and memories of Vine and his guitars.
“A Consequential Life: David Lowry Swain, Nineteenth-Century North Carolina, and Their University” by Willis Whichard, expected to be released later this year.
Bookwatch may be gone, but North Carolina-related books and authors continue to thrive.