Reading Matters

Nicholas Sparks to set new novel in Charlotte and more fall books by N.C. writers

Guess what internationally bestselling writer is setting a novel in Charlotte? Nicholas (“The Notebook”) Sparks of New Bern. “Two by Two” (October) is about fault lines -- in life, in love, in work. Sparks should know. He and his wife divorced early this year..

Former coke addict Charlie Engle of Durham – a world-renowned ultramarathon runner – tells all in his inspirational memoir “Running Man.” In “Playing with Dynamite: The Story of One Newspaper Family in the South,” prize-winning photographer and journalist David Spear tells the story of “The Messenger,” a weekly newspaper in the Rockingham County town of Madison – a newspaper son David inherited from his parents and edited until 1984. Both books are out now.

“Julius Chambers: A Life in the Legal Struggle for Civil Rights” (December) is a biography of the late Charlotte lawyer by Richard Rosen of UNC Chapel Hill and Joseph Mosnier of North Carolina State.

As for novelists, this month: “The Secret Ingredient of Wishes” by Susan Bishop Crispell of Wilmington is about a woman in the fictional town of Nowhere, N.C., who bakes wishes into pies.

“The Last Cherry Blossom,” is a young adult novel by Charlotte’s Kathleen Burkinshaw about the bombing of Hiroshima where the author’s mother grew up. “Echoes of Family,” by Barbara Claypole White of Orange County, tells of a woman’s courage in dealing with her illness. “Luke’s Way,” set in Charlotte, is a novel of revenge, fraud and blackmail by Charlotte’s Russ Dymond.

In October, we’ll have Charlotte’s Mark deCastrique’s thriller, “The Singularity Race,” set in Washington, D.C., and – seriously? – Lake Lure. And “A Question of Mercy,” by Elizabeth Cox, now of Spartanburg, S.C., about a mentally disabled young man who faces sterilization and lobotomy.

In November, “Monsters in Appalachia,” stories by Sheryl Monks of Winston-Salem, and a young adult novel, “The Education of Dixie Dupree,” by Dunn’s Donna Everhart.

Non-fiction due now: “Panthers Rising: How the Carolina Panthers Roared to the Superbowl – and Why They’ll be Back,” by the Observer’s Scott Fowler. And by former Observer sports writer Kevin Quirk with co-author Dorothy Firman comes “Brace for Impact: Miracle on the Hudson, Survivors Share Their Stories of Near Death and Hope for New Life.”

From UNC Chapel Hill’s Alan Shapiro: “That Self-Forgetful Perfectly Useless Concentration: Essays on Suffering and Self-Expression.”

In October, D.G. Martin’s (UNC TV’s North Carolina Bookwatch host) “North Carolina’s Roadside Eateries: A Traveler’s Guide to Local Restaurants, Diners and Barbecue Joints.”

As for poets, we’ll have fall collections from Patricia Hooper of Gastonia, Alan Michael Parker of Davidson, Joseph Bathanti of Villas, Alan Shapiro of Chapel Hill, Barbara Presnell of Lexington and Julie Funderburk and Richard Taylor of Charlotte.

I’ll be back with more details about some of these books before you know it.

Dannye: dpowell@charlotteobserver.com

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