2010/2011 Season

Season 13

Friday, September 10, 2010 at 9:30 PM
Lee Smith
Mrs. Darcy And The Blue-Eyed Stranger
A celebrated novelist, Lee Smith is likewise recognized as a master of the short story and has been compared with such luminaries as Katherine Ann Porter, Eudora Welty, and Flannery O’Connor. Now she collects fourteen stories—seven brand-new ones along with seven favorites from her three earlier collections. The result? A book of dazzling richness.

Famous for unmistakable voices and a craft so strong and sure it seems effortless, Lee Smith’s stories strike dead center at the turning points of her characters’ lives. Here those characters range from an eight-year-old boy obsessed with vocabulary words to a young bride who has married "way up" to Mrs. Darcy herself, an older woman making it through widowhood her own way. As the New York Times Book Review put it, "In almost every one of [her stories] there is a moment of vision, or love, or unclothed wonder that transforms something plain into something transcendent." With this collection--her first in thirteen years--Smith reclaims her place as the reigning queen of the bittersweet short story.

Friday, September 17, 2010 at 9:30 PMBernis
John Claude Bemis
The Nine Pound Hammer
Twelve-year-old Ray is haunted by the strangest memories of his father, who Ray swears could speak to animals. On a quest to find out what happened to him, Ray falls in with a band of young sideshow performers traveling through the South in a rickety old train. For the first time in years, Ray feels at home. But something strange is going on. From a locked train car, Ray hears hypnotic singing. And the performers themselves—the strong man, the fire-eater, the blind sharpshooter…their talents seem almost magical. Ray investigates and discovers that the old stories about John Henry and Johnny Appleseed are true in ways he never would have dreamed, that an ancient evil these characters fought is rising again, and that Ray himself may have a place in new stories only now being written.

In his debut novel, John Claude Bemis draws upon the rich history of America’s tall tales to create a fresh and exciting middle-grade fantasy adventure.

Friday, September 24, 2010 at 9:30 PM
Malinda Maynor Lowery
Lumbee Indians In The Jim Crow South: Race, Identity, And The Making Of A Nation
With more than 50,000 enrolled members, North Carolina’s Lumbee Indians make up the largest Native American tribe east of the Mississippi River. Malinda Maynor Lowery ’02 (M.A., ’05 Ph.D.), a Lumbee, describes how, between Reconstruction and the 1950s, the Lumbee crafted and maintained a distinct identity in an era defined by racial segregation in the South and paternalistic policies for Indians throughout the nation. They did so against the backdrop of some of the central issues in American history, including race, class, politics and citizenship.

Lowery argues that “Indian” is a dynamic identity that, for outsiders, sometimes hinged on the presence of “Indian blood” and sometimes on the absence of “black blood.” Lumbee people themselves have constructed their identity in layers that knit together kind and place, race and class, tribe and nation.

Friday, October 1, 2010 at 9:30 PM  
Nic Brown
Flood Markers
Lystra, North Carolina. A fictional town full of very real people who survive the attack of Hurricane Hugo and then find their bearings in the aftermath—often in wild and hilarious ways.
The days leading up to the impending disaster are not at all unusual—no portents of disaster, no signs of impending calamity. Bryce works his night shift at the hot dog factory, Isaac drives the bus to school, Evelyn attends a funeral. But when the electricity fails in the middle of the night on September 21, 1989, it marks the moment when everything will change: Hugo has arrived.The storm builds, the wind whips by faster and faster, and interpersonal dramas, grudges, and rivalries are dredged up along with the flotsam and debris. Meanwhile, flood markers, painted red, track the height of the water from past rainstorms, and as the creek level rises higher than ever before, so do the emotions of the townspeople.

Alternating between weather forecasts and short stories, Floodmarkers is an exquisitely crafted day-in-the-life of a town. And as Nic Brown has us look bravely at the eye of the storm, he cleverly shows us that human nature can stir up a spectacular tempest all its own.

Friday, October 8, 2010 at 9:30 PM
Michele Young-Stone      
The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors      
This is the story of Becca Burke and Buckley R. Pitank, two lost souls separated by time and place but brought together by fate.  While Becca grows up believing in magic and running after her absent philandering father, Buckley grows up being beaten into the red clay roads of Arkansas, longing for the father he never knew.  In a strange twist, both are touched by lightning, and though they’ve never met, their lives become intertwined as they try to understand what it means to be singled out by the heavens.
Told in alternating threads separated by excerpts from The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors, which is authored by one of the main characters, this is a hopeful tale that reassures us that even the hardest times are hurdles we must conquer in order to arrive at the place where we belong.  

Friday, October 15, 2010 at 9:30 PM
Andrew Park 
Between A Church And A Hard Place:  One Faith-Free Dad's Struggle To Understand What It Means To Be Religious (Or Not)
Andrew Park takes readers along on his tour through religion in America on his quest to find a comfortable middle ground for himself and his family.  Colorful and though-provoking, Park chronicles his explorations through the varied and often contradictory influences of religion in his life so far ― his great-grandfather’s pioneering role in the Pentecostal movement of the early 20th century, his liberal intellectual parents’ rejection of the Protestant faiths in which they were raised, his childhood in the Bible Belt city that produced Billy Graham and Jim Bakker, and witnessing his older brother’s rebellious immersion in a Charismatic church.

Along the way, Park grapples with what it means to be irreligious in an exceptionally religious society and whether peaceful coexistence with people of faith can ever truly be achieved. With the perfect blend of humor and humility, he uncovers what it means to embrace religion–or not–while still being a good role model, and most importantly, still being true to himself.

Friday, October 22, 2010 at 9:30 PMhttp://www.unc.tv/content/kathy-reichs
Kathy Reichs
Spider Bones
Kathy Reichs--#1 New York Times bestselling author and producer of the FOX television hit Bones--returns with the thirteenth riveting novel featuring forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance Brennan.

John Lowery was declared dead in 1968—the victim of a Huey crash in Vietnam, his body buried long ago in North Carolina. Four decades later, Temperance Brennan is called to the scene of a drowning in Hemmingford, Quebec. The victim appears to have died while in the midst of a bizarre sexual practice. The corpse is later identified as John Lowery. But how could Lowery have died twice, and how did an American soldier end up in Canada?

Tempe sets off for the answer, exhuming Lowery’s grave in North Carolina and taking the remains to Hawaii for reanalysis—to the headquarters of JPAC, the U.S. military’s Joint POW/ MIA Accounting Command, which strives to recover Americans who have died in past conflicts. In Hawaii, Tempe is joined by her colleague and ex-lover Detective Andrew Ryan (how “ex” is he?) and by her daughter, who is recovering from her own tragic loss. Soon another set of remains is located, with Lowery’s dog tags tangled among them. Three bodies—all identified as Lowery.

Friday, October 29, 2010 at 9:30 PM
Leonard Rogoff
Down Home: Jewish Life In North Carolina
A sweeping chronicle of Jewish life in the Tar Heel State from colonial times to the present, this beautifully illustrated volume incorporates oral histories, original historical documents, and profiles of fascinating individuals. The first comprehensive social history of its kind, Down Home demonstrates that the story of North Carolina Jews is attuned to the national story of immigrant acculturation but has a southern twist.

Keeping in mind the larger southern, American, and Jewish contexts, Leonard Rogoff considers how the North Carolina Jewish experience differs from that of Jews in other southern states. He explores how Jews very often settled in North Carolina's small towns, rather than in its large cities, and he documents the reach and vitality of Jewish North Carolinians' participation in building the New South and the Sunbelt. Many North Carolina Jews were among those at the forefront of a changing South, Rogoff argues, and their experiences challenge stereotypes of a society that was agrarian and Protestant.

More than 125 historic and contemporary photographs complement Rogoff's engaging epic, providing a visual panorama of Jewish social, cultural, economic, and religious life in North Carolina. This volume is a treasure to share and to keep.

Friday, November 5, 2010 at 9:30 PM
Minrose Gwin 
The Queen Of Palmyra
In the turbulent southern summer of 1963, Millwood's white population steers clear of "Shake Rag," the black section of town. Young Florence Forrest is one of the few who crosses the line. The daughter of a burial insurance salesman with dark secrets and the town's "cake lady," whose backcountry bootleg runs lead further and further away from a brutal marriage, Florence attaches herself to her grandparents' longtime maid, Zenie Johnson.

Named for Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra, Zenie treats the unwanted girl as just another chore, while telling her stories of the legendary queen's courage and cunning.Minrose Gwin's The Queen of Palmyra is an unforgettable evocation of a time and a place in America.

Friday, November 12, 2010 at 9:30 PM         Pearce
Gary Pearce                        
Jim Hunt: A Biography
As one of Jim Hunt's closest political advisers, Gary Pearce was in a unique position to observe the career of North Carolina's longest-serving governor. In this authorized biography, Pearce draws from his own observations and experience as well as over 30 interviews with Governor Hunt and more than 50 interviews with friends, family, staffers, political allies, and opponents.

The book covers Hunt's rise to prominence and his four successful gubernatorial campaigns. It also provides a front-row account of the bitter battle between Hunt and Jesse Helms for the U.S. Senate in 1984. Pearce explains how Hunt was able to come back from that devastating defeat and win two more terms as governor. In his final eight years of office, Hunt pursued progressive goals in a conservative state, became widely known for his initiatives in education, and played an important role in leading North Carolina from being a poor, rural state dependent on tobacco and textiles to becoming a center for high finance and high-tech industry.

Friday, November 19, 2010 at 9:30 PM         
Suzy Barile                         
Undaunted Heart: The True Story Of A Southern Belle & A Yankee General
When a brigade of General Sherman's victorious army marched into Chapel Hill the day after Easter 1865, the Civil War had just ended and President Abraham Lincoln had been assassinated. Citizens of the picturesque North Carolina college town had endured years of hardship and sacrifice, and now the Union army was patrolling its streets. One of Sherman's young generals paid a visit to the stately home of David Swain, president of the University of North Carolina and a former governor of the state, to inform him that the town was now under Union occupation.

Against this unlikely backdrop began a passionate and controversial love story still vivid in town lore. When President Swain's daughter Ella met the Union general, life for these two young people who had spent the war on opposite sides was forever altered. General Smith Atkins of Illinois abhorred slavery and greatly admired Abraham Lincoln. Spirited young Ella Swain had been raised in a slave-owning family and had spent the war years gathering supplies to send to Confederate soldiers. But, as a close friend of the Swain's wrote, when Atkins met Ella, the two "changed eyes at first sight and a wooing followed." The reaction of the Swains and fellow North Carolinians to this North-South love affair was swift and often unforgiving.

In Undaunted Heart: The True Story of a Southern Belle and a Yankee General, author Suzy Barile, a great-great-granddaughter of Ella Swain and Smith Atkins, tells their story, separating facts from the elaborate embellishments the famous courtship and marriage have taken on over the generations. Interwoven throughout Undaunted Heart are excerpts from Ella's never-before-published letters to her parents that reveal a loving marriage that transcended differences and scandal.

Friday, November 26, 2010 at 9:30 PM
William Leuchtenburg
In The Shadow Of FDR: From Harry Truman To Barack Obama
A ghost has inhabited the Oval Office since 1945—the ghost of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. FDR's formidable presence has cast a large shadow on the occupants of that office in the years since his death, and an appreciation of his continuing influence remains essential to understanding the contemporary presidency. This new edition of In the Shadow of FDR has been updated to examine the presidency of George W. Bush and the first 100 days of the presidency of Barack Obama. The Obama presidency is evidence not just of the continuing relevance of FDR for assessing executive power but also of the salience of FDR's name in party politics and policy formulation.

Friday, December 3, 2010 at 9:30 PM 
Larry Tise                            
Conquering The Sky: The Secret Flights Of The Wright Brothers At Kitty Hawk  
In seven crucial days of spring 1908, the Wright brothers prepared for what they thought would be a season of secret flights at Kitty Hawk, the culmination of five years spent perfecting their planes. However, they were soon discovered by a host of fast-paced reporters and photographers, forcing the brothers to try to outsmart the world press and avoid close scrutiny of their flying machine and its prowess. Within a few pivotal days, the brothers were catapulted into unwanted worldwide fame as the international press reported their every move using rudimentary telegraphs and early forms of photography. This comedy-of-errors pursuit of pilots and press resulted in a series of bizarre and far-fetched news stories splashed across front pages around the world, by journalists who knew they had just witnessed a milestone in history and were desperate to get to the story first.

In Conquering the Sky, Larry E. Tise tells the fascinating untold story of how the Wrights finally introduced the world to the power of flight, taught a legion of gaping aeronauts how to put a plane in the air and keep it there, and astonished thousands of eye-witnesses both in America and in Europe with their amazing feats.