First time novelist shares reading recommendations

Heather Bell Adams is a lawyer and writer in Raleigh, whose first novel, “Maranatha Road,” will be released in September by Vandalia Press, the creative imprint of West Virginia University Press.

Recommended read: The River of Kings” by Taylor Brown (of Wilmington). This story of two brothers traveling down the ancient Altamaha River in Georgia, their father’s complicated past, and the history of the river’s earliest settlers, grabbed me from page one. Brown’s writing is truly astonishing – somehow both efficiently lean and powerfully robust. I felt as though I was on the river myself, anxiously awaiting what might appear around the next bend.

Currently reading:The Women in the Castle” by Jessica Shattuck, the story of a makeshift family living in a crumbling Bavarian castle at the end of World War II.

Who or what taught you to love to read? I have such fond memories of the library at my elementary school in Hendersonville, which had an awesome carpeted fort with cozy nooks for reading. This was where I discovered how stories can offer an escape from the everyday world.

What favorite book from childhood have you kept? “Harold and the Purple Crayon” by Crockett Johnson.

What is your favorite reading memory? Time spent reading with my son, from those early days when I read aloud to him, to now, when he’s 13 and immersed in his own book beside me on the couch.

What is your favorite book that nobody’s heard of? Books from Bell Bridge Books, a relatively small press focusing on Southern fiction, which publishes fantastic novels like the Southern Gothic “The River Witch” by Kimberly Brock and the historical novel “Keowee Valley” by Katherine Scott Crawford.

What movie was better than the book? The film adaptation of “Mystic River,” directed by Clint Eastwood.

Where do you go for book recommendations? Local booksellers, friends, Triangle Reads, North Carolina Writers Network, Publishers Marketplace, She Reads blog, Tall Poppy writers’ group, Anne Bogel’s Modern Mrs. Darcy blog and What Should I Read Next podcast, Writers on Writing podcast, authors on social media

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The River of Kings

Taylor Brown

St. Martin's Press, 336 pages