Our State's Summer Reading List

We hope you’ve enjoyed the suggestions provided to you by the fine independent bookstores who shared them this summer. Special thanks to Highland Books, Quail Ridge Books & Music, Old Books on Front St., McIntyre’s Books, The Regulator Bookshop, and Purple Crow Books for their recommendations. And thanks to Asheville School, sponsor of our 2012 Summer Reading Lists.

Now, here is a final list for you just in time for Labor Day weekend. These suggestions come from Our State readers and fans. Feel free to add additional recommendations in the comments section below.

From Hunter Daughtry

Read Night Train by Clyde Edgerton. Edgerton is a North Carolina treasure. His ear for dialogue and ability to spin a tale is evident. In Night Train, he captures the dynamics of coming of age in the ’60s in the South. I think it is his best work in years.

From Bet Wilson

The most enjoyable book I read this summer was All Good Things, by Winston-Salem’s own Leigh Somerville. It is the sequel to her previously published book, It All Started With a Dog. I recommend these two books because they present a wonderful story about the change in a Washington D.C. lawyer’s life because she adopts a stray dog. Her life is enriched by the events that take place because of Ralph, the dog. Her third book in this series is in the writing process.

From Natalya Buckel

The book I read eagerly over the weekend was Peggy Poe Stern’s Dream Lover: My Time as Chessy Spade. Stern, a mountain native, writes prolific novels about the lives of Appalachian women and the narrow choices they sometimes face. With a hateful mother, limited scope for higher education, and a pesky need to love and be loved, young Chessy does the best she can with her lot in life and never feels pity for herself. I highly recommend Peggy Poe Stern to anyone who appreciates Appalachian fiction! (Natalya describes herself as a “book lover and homesick North Carolina native expat”)

From Natasha Jackson

I suggest reading Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy this summer. It is a classic and captivating read. Do not be intimidated by Anna Karenina. Start with a couple of chapters a night and soon the world of 19th century Russia will come alive. A new movie adaptation by Joe Wright will bring this classic tale alive on-screen as well this year.

From Judy Duarte

I discovered Render Unto the Valley by Rose Senehi on your reading list and was so delighted with it that I immediately ordered The Wind in the Woods and In the Shadows of Chimney Rock. These are a trilogy of sorts in that they have some of the same characters in each book. Each can also be read alone though. Ms. Senehi is authentic with her North Carolina descriptions of the woods and the mountains. Her characters are compelling and very real. I have never been to some of the locations she describes, but I want to go to Chimney Rock and Lake Lure. I feel like I know them and would feel right at home there. I have also ordered Senehi’s Pelican Watch, which I have not read yet. I heartily recommend her books to lovers of North Carolina, preserving nature and the wilderness for generations to come. She also writes a good mystery and knows how to weave a love story.

From JoAnne Crawley

I guess the most entertaining books I have read in a long time are the Walt Longmire mystery series by Craig Johnson. These books captured me right from the first one and it has been a long time since I have found books that I did not want to put down. I read these books before the A&E presentation was announced and was thrilled that I would finally get to see Sheriff Longmire on TV. I would recommend this series to everyone who likes mystery, humor, and a character that grabs you from the start. Good reading everyone!

From Barbara Green

My favorite book this summer was The Cove by Ron Rash. It is set in the North Carolina mountains. It contains some very interesting, well developed characters – a brother and sister defined by the cove where they live, a German from a nearby internment camp during WWII, a wise bluegrass musician, and an egotistical young man intent on being honored, though not a soldier. The story is bittersweet with a hint of mystery and the natural beauty around Mars Hill and Hot Springs is beautifully described.

From Carol Conover via Facebook

I recommend Genius of Place: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted by Justin Martin. Olmstead was an abolitionist, conservationist, goldmine supervisor, Civil War hero, and the first landscape architect.

From Ann Deupree via Facebook

I recommend Berray Mountain by Kingsley Lawrence Greene, who lives in Chapel Hill. It’s a wonderful story of adventure in the mountains of Montana when Greene was 16.

From Dennis Huggins via Facebook

I recommend Blind But Now I See: The Biography of Music Legend Doc Watson by Kent Gustavson, PhD.

From Kent Homes via Facebook

I recommend A Short History of a Small Place from local author T.R. Pearson. It’s laugh out loud funny!

About Asheville School

Our State‘s summer reading list is proudly presented by Asheville School. Since its founding more than a century ago, Asheville School has been preparing high school students with an education for a lifetime. Asheville School offers an academic experience for students in grades 9 through 12 focuses on a traditional core curriculum, and challenges young men and women while giving them the foundation to become better thinkers and communicators. As one of the nation’s leading co-ed college preparatory boarding schools, Asheville School teaches students respect for and responsibility to others and oneself. The 275 students represent 24 states and 13 countries, and learn in a nurturing, close-knit community set on a campus of 300 acres in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, N.C. Recent graduates are attending Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, Cornell, Caltech, UNC-Chapel Hill, Davidson, Duke, University of Virginia, Furman, Emory, NC State, and Wake Forest, among others. For more information, visit ashevilleschool.org, call (828) 254-6345, or email admission@ashevilleschool.org.

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Since 1933, Our State has shared stories about North Carolina with readers both in state and around the world. We celebrate the people and places that make this state great. From the mountains to the coast, we feature North Carolina travel, history, food, and beautiful scenic photography.

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