10 Great Summer Reads by North Carolina Authors

From Asheville to the Outer Banks and from intimate poetry to  small-town murder mysteries, North Carolina authors have stories to brighten up your summer, whether you're headed to the beach or sitting at home in your favorite chair. The N.C. Arts Council has selected just a few new 2014 releases from some of our state’s finest authors for you to explore. Here are 10 of their picks:

1. Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen (St. Martin’s Press, 2014): New York Times bestselling author Sarah Addison Allen’s atmospheric novel examines a collection of aging lakeside cabins and the visitors who return, year after year, in pursuit of their dreams and desires.

2. The Hunger of Freedom by Shelby Stephenson (Red Dashboard, 2014): Former editor of Pembroke Magazine, and soon to be inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, Benson native Shelby Stephenson’s new poetry collection explores family, ancestors, ghosts and landscape.

3. Byrd by Kim Church (Dzanc Books, 2014): The debut novel from this Raleigh resident and N.C. Arts Council Fellowship recipient tells the story of a 33 year-old woman coming to terms with secretly bearing and surrendering a son for adoption without telling his father.

4. Miss Julia’s Marvelous Makeover by Ann B. Ross (Viking Adult, 2014): New York Times bestselling author Ann B. Ross’s latest installment in her popular series chronicles Miss Julia’s efforts at teaching a visiting granddaughter how to be a lady.

5. Limestone Gumption by Bryan E. Robinson (Gale/Five Star Publishers, 2014): Retired UNC Charlotte professor Bryan Robinson crafts a mystery around a psychologist who becomes a murder suspect after returning to his hometown to confront his long-lost father.

6. Nothing Below But Air by Pat Riviere-Seel (Main Street Rag, 2014): A new poetry collection from Shelby native and Asheville resident Pat Riviere-Seel, who serves as associate editor for the Asheville Poetry Review.

7. Doing It at the Dixie Dew by Ruth Moose (St. Martin's Press/Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books, 2014): A long-time member of UNC-Chapel Hill’s Creative Writing faculty, Ruth Moose pens her first “cozy,” a small-town murder mystery with a touch of comedy, playing out at the Dixie Dew Bed and Breakfast in the fictitious Littleboro, N.C.

8. Just Add Water by David R. Tanis (Moonshine Cove Publishing, 2014): Outer Banks resident David R. Tanis draws on his career as an attorney and a judge to create the character of Hamish O'Halloran, an unconventional lawyer who bumbles his way through a series of humorous misadventures.

9. In the Season of Blood and Gold by Taylor Brown (Press 53, 2014): Wilmington writer Taylor Brown’s debut story collection features a host of timeless characters from alligator wrestlers to Confederate soldiers to a tattooed artist.

10. Lost in Bermooda by Mike Litwin (Albert Whitman & Company, 2014): Greenville resident Mike Mitwin tells the story of a “mootpian” tropical island society populated by walking, talking cows with human intelligence. Mitwin wrote and illustrated this tale for young readers.

More to Explore from the Arts Council
Don't forget to check out the N.C. Arts Council's North Carolina Literary Trails website and guidebooks for more information on Tar Heel writers and the places they lived and wrote about. The featured writers list that is part of the Trails website is a great place to start.

The Arts Council has also produced guidebooks to African American music in eastern North Carolina, the music traditions of western North Carolina and western North Carolina's Cherokee heritage that are great companions for a specific trip or fascinating reads in their own right.

If you missed the Arts Council's guides to books and bookstores from last summer, be sure to see those, too.

Other Resources on North Carolina Writers and Books
If history's more your thing, be sure to check out the offerings of N.C. Historical Publications. From an overview of the pirates who operated off the Outer Banks to histories of specific people and places, they have something for just about everybody.

If all the above isn't enough, the N.C. Literary Hall of Fame and the N.C. Literary Map, produced by UNC Greensboro and the State Library will give you even more ideas for authors and great summer reads.

So that's about it from us. What are you reading this summer? Tell us in the comments.

Special thanks to the N.C. Arts Council's literature and theater director, David Potorti, for compiling this list of great reads.

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