D.G. MARTIN: Books for Christmas Reading and Giving
I almost forgot the reading and Christmas giving list I promised you a few weeks ago.
Then I remembered that Clyde Edgerton is appearing this week on UNC-TV's "North Carolina Bookwatch."
His new book, "The Bible Salesman," is at the top of my list. Why? Because it is Edgerton at his storytelling best. A 19-year-old North Carolina Bible salesman is unwittingly enticed into a car theft ring by a very slick hustler. Their adventures will amuse and entertain -- and disturb. As the Bible salesman begins to read his product seriously, he develops serious doubts about his faith.
Similarly, Martin Clark's fast-moving novel "The Legal Limit" deals with ethical and moral dilemmas. A judge in "real life," Clark fills his books with compelling stories that only an insider in the justice system could tell, ones that entertain and raise tough questions about the role of law enforcement officials and judges. (Clark will appear on North Carolina Bookwatch on Friday, Dec. 5, at 9:30 p.m.)
Even after his death, the mention of Jesse Helms brings up strong feelings. Who was Jesse Helms, where did he come from, and what were the ingredients that gave him such power and influence in our country and in the world? William Link, author of "Righteous Warrior: Jesse Helms and the Rise of Modern Conservatism," gives a balanced, comprehensive look at one of North Carolina's most important political leaders. (Bookwatch: Friday, Dec. 12, at 9:30 p.m.)
Drugs, sex, and an intense friendship between two teenage girls in a private boarding school are at the heart of a sad, poignant story told by Nina de Gramont in her first novel, "Gossip of the Starlings." (Bookwatch: Friday, Dec. 19, at 9:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 21, at 5 p.m.)
Maybe you know Roy Underhill from his popular public television series, "The Woodwright's Shop." But did you know that that he is also a best-selling author? His latest book, "The Woodwright's Guide: Working Wood with Wedge & Edge," explains the use of self-powered woodworking tools in the process of turning a tree into finished furniture. (Dec. 26, 28.)
Do you remember Homer's "The Odyssey"? Or, like me, did you find the going too tough and leave that classic unfinished? Even now, it is fair to ask if an epic Greek poem written thousands of years ago has any relevance to the way we live our lives in these modern times. Raleigh author Scott Huler answers that question in his new book "No-Man's Lands: One Man's Odyssey Through The Odyssey." Huler traveled on three continents in search of the sites that the poem's hero visited on his long journey home from the Trojan Wars. The result is one of my favorite books of the year. (Jan. 2, 4.)
Here are a few other important books recently featured on "North Carolina Bookwatch."
Acclaimed novelist Nancy Peacock's latest book, "A Broom of One's Own," is her memoir of her dual life as published author and professional housecleaner. It is a must read for every aspiring author -- and for anyone who employs a housecleaner.
Anna Rubino's "Queen of the Oil Club: The Intrepid Wanda Jablonski and the Power of Information," is the timely story of a woman reporter who got a handle on the mysteries of oil supplies and pricing.
Shelia Moses has gained national recognition as an author of books for young adults. In "The Baptism," she takes her readers back in time to her home country in northeastern North Carolina. She tells the story of an extraordinary week in the lives of 12-year-old twin boys as they and their family prepare for them to be baptized.
North Carolina is blessed with a variety of great writers. Enjoy them this holiday season.
D.G. Martin is the host of UNC-TV's "North Carolina Bookwatch," which airs Fridays at 9:30 p.m. and Sundays at 5 p.m. This week's (Nov. 30) guest is Clyde Edgerton, author of "The Bible Salesman."
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