Reading Life Editor

Fiction, memoirs and more with N.C. flavor

October 20, 2012 

  • Author appearance Nathan Kotecki signs copies of “The Surburban Strange” at 7 p.m. Oct. 23 at Durham’s Regulator Bookshop, 720 9th St.

A memoir of madness and a supernatural coming-of-age story are among this season’s new books by authors with N.C. connections.

In “The Seventh Angel,” former Charlottean Alex McKeithen delivers an in-your-face account of his battle with bipolar disorder.

While he was a Davidson College junior studying in Paris, McKeithen came to believe he was the seventh angel, assigned to announce the coming Apocalypse. His mania led to a run through Paris streets, where he shed clothes until he was arrested, nude, at the Arc de Triomphe.

With the help of his parents, Charlotte’s Ward and Liz McKeithen, he returned to North Carolina. He was successfully treated and graduated from Davidson in 1989. McKeithen, an artist and designer, lives in New York City. His clients have included Rolling Stone and Forbes. The memoir (Lorimer Press; $24.95) is out Nov. 1.

“The Suburban Strange,” the first in a young-adult series by Durham’s Nathan Kotecki, is a paranormal mystery. It’s set at Suburban High, where strange things are happening to female students.

Kotecki, a former DJ, peppers the book (Houghton Mifflin; $16.99) with musical references – from classical to Goth.

N.C. authors have also written several new histories.

Cary’s Joseph Wheelan, a former Associated Press editor, details the life and times of Civil War Union Gen. Philip Sheridan in “Terrible Swift Sword” (Da Capo Press; $26).

Michele Gillespie is author of “Katharine and R.J. Reynolds: Partners of Fortune in the Making of the New South” (University of Georgia Press; $32.95). When tobacco company founder R.J. Reynolds married Katharine, their partnership went beyond family. The book shows how the Winston-Salem couple provided leadership for a series of progressive reform movements.

“An Independent Profession: A Centennial History of the Mecklenburg County Bar” (Lorimer Press: $24.95), was commissioned by the Mecklenburg County Bar and Mecklenburg Bar Foundation. Authors Marion Ellis and Howard Covington, both former Charlotte Observer reporters, recount some of Charlotte’s most interesting legal history. Ellis lives in Durham; Covington, in Greensboro.

Chapel Hill sports journalist Tim Crothers brings us “The Queen of Katwe: A Story of Life, Chess, and One Extraordinary Girl’s Dream of Becoming a Grandmaster” (Scribner; $26). The book grew out of a magazine story on a street kid in Uganda who became a world champion chess player.

Kelley: 704-358-5271; pkelley@charlotteobserver.com

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