D.G. MARTIN: Some Good N.C. Books for Fall Reading
Do you want a break from politics?
Good, because it's time for me to bring you up to date on some reading suggestions that I have developed for you from my work on UNC-TV's North Carolina Bookwatch.
One of the most provocative, and possibly controversial, books of the year deals with health policy. It gives advice about our personal health choices and about how our country should change its policies. In "Worried Sick: A Prescription for Health in an Overtreated America," UNC-Chapel Hill Medical School Professor Nortin Hadler suggests that many of the tests and procedures we expect for the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions are wasteful and counterproductive. He urges patients to consider avoiding such procedures and suggests that the government reduce or eliminate funding for many of them. (Watch Hadler on North Carolina Bookwatch this weekend -- Friday at 9:30 p.m. and Sunday at 5 p.m.)
North Carolina native Tony Earley's "Jim the Boy" was one of the most popular books in our state several years ago. Its sequel, "The Blue Stat," follows Jim into his late teenage years in the time just before the Second World War. Critics have praised Earley's gentle story set in North Carolina. (Earley on Bookwatch, Oct. 24, 26)
If you have ever wondered if Hansel and Gretel really make it out of that gingerbread house alive or why Rapunzel was kept in that tower or what was the real reason behind Lady Godiva's shocking ride, you should take a look at "Black Pearls: A Faerie Strand." North Carolina writer Louise Hawes shares her version of the "real story" of what really happened in several of the most popular fairy tales. (Oct. 31, Nov. 2)
Some books recently featured on North Carolina Bookwatch also merit your consideration.
Raleigh author Therese Fowler's first novel, "Souvenir," was picked up by a major publisher and has drawn favorable attention in the writing community. No wonder. Her story takes its reader into the heartbreaking life of a young woman doctor who faces challenges at home, a reunion with a lost lover, and the prospect of a disease that will take away her ability to live a productive life.
UNC-Chapel Hill history professor Joe Glatthaar's "General Lee's Army-From Victory to Collapse" follows the Confederate Army's struggles based on the firsthand and contemporary letters and reports of the participants. The result is an entirely new perspective on why and how the war was fought.
Do not forget Anna Hayes' "Without Precedent -- The Life of Susie Marshall Sharp," a groundbreaking assessment of the life and work of North Carolina's (and the nation's) first elected state supreme court chief justice. The remarkable new information about Sharp's secret love life is the talk of the state. More important, however, is the story of how this strong woman proved that women could succeed and lead in positions that had long been denied to them.
Moore County lawyer and mystery writer J.D. Rhoades sets his compelling novels in his home country. His latest, "Breaking Cover," brings drug dealers, motorcycle gangs, and runaway FBI agents into small-town North Carolina. It is a thriller that kept me awake long after I finished the book. It is one reason Rhoades is rapidly gaining a national following.
Although the Battleship North Carolina is one of our state's icons, there is much about its history that most of us never hear. But when that saga is told together with the stories of its crewmen, you have the makings of a very poignant history. Cindy Ramsey, author of "Boys of the Battleship North Carolina," tells these stories in a most engaging way.
Hold these ideas for your Christmas list. I will be back in a few weeks with some more suggestions.
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.
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