Reading Life

New books have ties to North Carolina

pkelley@charlotteobserver.comSeptember 13, 2013 

  • Book talks and signings

    • John Milliken Thompson signs copies of “Love and Lament” at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 15, at Flyleaf Books, 752 Martin Luther King Blvd., Chapel Hill.

    • Sharyn McCrumb discusses “King’s Mountain” at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 4 at Quail Ridge Books, 3522 Wade Ave.; and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 9 at Flyleaf Books.

This month’s book roundup includes new works by authors with varied North Carolina connections.

Thomas Healy grew up in Charlotte. Carrie Jane Knowles lives in Raleigh. And Sharyn McCrumb and John Milliken Thompson, who both make their homes in Virginia, have chosen North Carolina as the setting for new historical novels.

“The Great Dissent: How Oliver Wendell Holmes Changed His Mind – and Changed the History of Free Speech in America” (Metropolitan Books; $28). Healy recounts how U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes moved from defending the punishment of controversial speech to writing a dissenting opinion that “gave birth to the modern era of the First Amendment, in which the freedom to express oneself is our preeminent constitutional value and a defining national trait.”

Before he became a Seton Hall law professor, Healy grew up in Charlotte, graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill and worked as a reporter at the News & Observer.

The New York Times says his book “deserves an honored place in the intellectual history of the Supreme Court.”

“Ashoan’s Rug,” (Roundfire Books; $13.95). Knowles’ new novel tells the story of a prayer rug that stretches over time and continents as it passes from owner to owner, inspiring and changing lives.

“King’s Mountain” (Thomas Dunne; $25.99). Best-selling author McCrumb (“The Ballad of Tom Dooley”) draws on research to bring to life North Carolina’s most famous Revolutionary War battle. Historical characters populating the book include some of her own ancestors who fought in the battle.

“Love and Lament” (Other Press; $15.95). Thompson sets this family saga in Chatham County between the Civil War and World WarI.

“Thompson perfectly captures the Carolina Piedmont’s sights, sounds, and flavors and convincingly depicts the turn-of-the-century South – haunted by the Civil War, and embracing old-time religion and new-fangled machinery and ideas,” Publishers Weekly says.

Kelley: 704-358-5271

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