Summer is in the air. Can you feel it? Our first reading list of the summer comes from Highland Books in Brevard and includes several selections from fine North Carolina writers. Read more about Highland Books below and don’t forget to share your own summer reading suggestions in the comments section at the bottom of the page. Our State’s 2012 Summer Reading Lists are proudly sponsored by Asheville School.
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Enjoy these summer reads!
THE COVE by Ron Rash is another winner by one of the Southern Appalachians’ best novelists. Set in World War I near the town of Mars Hill, it’s the tale of a young woman living a lonely life in a rugged mountain cove. Thought by her neighbors to be a witch, Laurel finds a sympathetic friend when a mute stranger appears. Haunting and moving, this is a romantic tragedy by a great WNC storyteller.
THE SANDBURG CONNECTION by Mark de Castrique follows Private Investigator Sam Blackman between Asheville and the Hendersonville site of Carl Sandburg’s home, Connemara, where a suspicious death has occurred. Combining an engaging mystery, mountain setting and witty dialogue, de Castrique provides delightful entertainment with lots of interesting history and mountain lore thrown in.
BECOMING ODYSSA by Jennifer Pharr Davis relates a young woman’s trek alone on the Appalachian Trail. The author quickly finds that thru-hiking the AT is much harder than she expected, and the book is full of adventure, inspiration, and learning about herself through the challenges she faces. What all people in their 20s (or older) should do!
TOURING THE WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA BACKROADS by Carolyn Sakowski is an indispensable guide if you love poking around off-the-beaten-path sites in Western North Carolina. We’ve discovered so many places we’d never heard of before by following the 21 tours in this book, and learned lots of history and trivia along the way.
STATE OF WONDER by Ann Patchett is another book I couldn’t put down. It combines adventure, fast-paced thrills, and a fascinating setting in the Amazon jungle as Marina is sent to investigate the reported death of a colleague. Just imagine all the dangers to be found in the jungle: they’re all there! Marina sheds all her Midwestern trappings as she is drawn into solving the mystery of the doctor’s death in this well-written and well-plotted novel.
THE SNOW CHILD by Eowyn Ivey is a new favorite. Blending a realistic, harsh environment in the Alaskan wilderness with a touching relationship and a bit of fairy tale, the writing is so good that you’re never quite sure if this is magical realism or just plain realism … with a little magic! A lonely couple longs for a child and is surprised by the appearance of a “snow child” in their yard in this story based on a Russian fairy tale.
DOG ON IT by Spencer Quinn and its three sequels have provided the most reading fun I’ve had in a long time. Bernie is a private investigator, and the books are narrated by his dog, and faithful sidekick, Chet; sounds corny, but it works! If a dog could talk, it would sound exactly like Chet. Good mysteries and great characters – both human and canine.
THE RIVER OF DOUBT by Candice Millard is still my favorite non-fiction adventure book. This dramatic and gripping story of Theodore Roosevelt’s journey to explore a tributary of the Amazon will keep you on the edge of your seat as the group encounters deadly waters, Indian attacks, disease, starvation, and all kinds of jungle dangers!
THE THIRTEENTH TALE by Diane Setterfield is a novel that makes me shiver every time I think of it, and I continue to recommend to anyone who enjoys a mesmerizing, gothic mystery set on the English moors. Margaret is called to the secluded home of the reclusive author, Vida Winter, and is charged with writing Winter’s biography. Little does she know that she is soon to be drawn into a strange and secretive story involving ghosts, mysteries from the past, and a frightening climax.
About Highland Books
Highland Books is a complete independent bookstore nestled in the charming town of Brevard in the mountains of western North Carolina. The spacious shop has been owned by Tim and Peggy Hansen for 36 years, and they feature an excellent selection of regional books including hiking guides and maps, fair trade crafts from Ten Thousand Villages, and a sizeable Children’s and Teen Book Department. Highland Books was recently featured in Our State magazine. Read the full story here.
277 North Broad Street
Brevard, N.C. 28712
9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. www.highlandbooksbrevard.com
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. 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 and responsibility to others and one’s self. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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