May 17, 2009
This list reflects recently published or re-issued books, and
their sales. Additional new noteworthy books that didn't qualify by
or register with sales are listed afterward. For classics, see
Guide to WNC Literature
. Books published with the last three
months are in boldface
. Consult archive of top 50 lists for
titles that had appeared previously, but are now more than two
1. Serena by Ron Rash. Lauded novel about husband and wife lumber
tycoons controlling destinies in backwoods and board rooms. (Ecco
hardcover, Oct. 2008).
2. Miss Julia Delivers the Goods
by Ann B. Ross (Viking
hardcover, Apr. 2009, 352 pages, $24.95).
3. The Sugar Queen
by Sarah Addison Allen (Bantam trade
paper ed., Apr. 2009). Best-selling Asheville author’s second
novel, featuring characters involved in food rituals, none more so
than a lovelorn 27-year-old who fills her need with candy.
4. No Room for Doubt: A True Story of the Reverberations of
by Angela Dove. Waynesville author’s account if her
stepmother’s murder; father’s heart-rending shortfalls; and
victim’s mother’s heroism. (Berkley trade paper, Mar. 2009).
5. Boone: A Biography by Robert Morgan (Algonquin trade paperback
ed., Sept. 2008). Full portrait of Boone’s life and times, and of
force of development, by novelist and poet.
6. Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier (Random House trade paper ed.,
June, 2007). Novel based on Col. William Thomas and his involvement
in Cherokee history.
7. On Agate Hill by Lee Smith (Shannon Ravenel paperback ed., Aug.
2007). Novel about an orphan girl’s progress from ruined plantation
to Ashe County
8. Palenque: Eternal City of the Maya by George Stuart and David
Stuart (Thames & Hudson hardcover, Nov. 2008). Barnardsville
resident George Stuart and his son David are world experts on
interpreting Mayan culture.
9. Two of the Missing: Remembering Sean Flynn and Dana Stone
by Perry Deane Young (1975; Press 53 Classics edition, Mar. 2009).
Local writer’s account of two photojournalist friends who went
missing in Vietnam.
11. As the Twig Is Bent by Joe Perrone Jr. (CreateSpace, Jan.
2009). Asheville author’s mystery-thriller about murders in
Manhattan and trails in chat rooms.
12. The Blue Star by Tony Earley (Little, Brown hardcover, Mar.
2008). Award-winning author’s sequel to “Jim the Boy,” in which
17-year old Jim Glass’s attraction to a part-Cherokee girl leads to
an intensified awareness of Rutherford County.
13. Ghost Cats of the South by Randy Russell (John F. Blair
hardcover, Oct. 2008). Russell's fourth ghost story collection
transforms folklore into stories with charm.
14. Hiking North Carolina's Blue Ridge Heritage
Bernstein (Milestone Pr. Trade paper, Mar. 2009). The new
authoritative guide by everywhere hiker.
15. Driving with the Devil: Southern Moonshine, Detroit Wheels, and
the Birth of NASCAR by Neal Thompson 2006; Three Rivers Press trade
paperback, 2007). Popular author’s account of stock car racing’s
origins in the 1940s includes some local figures.
16. Finding Your Way in Asheville by Cecil Bothwell, 2nd ed.
(CreateSpace trade paper, Feb. 2009). A popular local guide,
17. More Than Friends: Poems from Him and Her by Allan Wolf and
Sara Holbrook (Wordsong hardcover, Oct. 2008). Award-winning author
and performer Wolf teams with colleague to produce back-at-you
verse dialogue charting teens’ romance.
18. In a Dark Season by Vicki Lane. The fourth Elizabeth
Goodweather novel uses the mystery genre to convey a lot of
authentic local lore. (Dell mass market paper, May 2008)
19. Fear in North Carolina: The Civil War Journals and Letters of
the Henry Family compiled by Karen Clinard and Richard Russell
(Reminiscing Books trade paper, Apr. 2008). The most extensive
record in letter of a Civil War and post-war family in the
20. The Blood-Hungry Spleen and Other Poems about Our Parts by
Allan Wolf (Candlewick, Mar. 2008). Exuberantly rhyming verse and
uninhibited musings by Asheville poet writing for kids.
21. The Origin of the Milky Way and Other Living Stories of the
Cherokee collected and edited by Barbara Duncan (UNC Press trade
paper, July 2008)
22. Power in the Blood: A Family Narrative
and Gender in Appalachia) by Linda Tate (Ohio University Press
hardcover, Mar. 2009).
23. Cherokee Thoughts Honest & Uncensored by Robert J. Conley
(U. of Okla. Press trade paper, Oct. 2008). Sequoyah Distinguished
Professor of Cherokee Studies at WCU, and accomplished historical
novelist, challenge conventions about Cherokee identity.
24. King of the Moonshiners: Lewis Redmond in Fact and Fiction ed.
By Bruce E. Stewart (U. of Tenn. Pr. Trade paper, Feb. 2009). Three
early portrayals of local 19th century outlaw; plus lengthy
25. Mountain Mysteries: The Mystic Traditions of Appalachia by
Larry Thacker (Overmountain Press trade paper, Apr. 2007). Guide to
the paranormal occurrences includes an understanding of how the
dead work in people’s minds.
26. The Fifth Skull by Terrell Garren (Reprint Co. hardcover, Oct.
2008). Suspenseful and disturbingly true story of the horrors
encountered by the “lost boys of the Confederate Junior
27. Southern Appalachian Poetry: An Anthology of Works by 37 Poets
edited by Marita Garin (McFarland & Co. trade paperback, May
28. Old Wounds by Vicki Lane (Dell mass market paper, June, 2007).
Third mystery featuring Elizabeth Goodweather, working from her
mountain farm; Cherokee lore comes to the fore.
29. Cataloochee by Wayne Caldwell (Random hardcover, June, 2007).
Memorable novel about the pre-removal Great Smokies community,
starting with the advent of Ezra Banks, a hardened farmer and war
30. Jack Tales and Mountain Yarns as told by Orville Hicks
by Julia Ebel (Parkway Publishers, Apr. 2009). Ebel uses a free
verse form to capture the popular storytellers versions of
31. The Pleasure Was Mine by Tommy Hays (St. Martin’s Griffin trade
paper ed., Feb. 2006, new printing). Celebrated novel about family
life complicated by a woman’s Alzheimer’s affliction, written by
Asheville author and writing professor.
32. Boys of the Battleship North Carolina by Cindy Horrell Ramsey
(John F. Blair trade paperback, Apr. 2007). Ramsey, director of the
Polk County campus of Isothermal Community College, presents a
human story based on many interviews.
33. Tender Graces
by Kathryn Magendie (Bell Bridge Books,
34. Nor the Battle to the Strong by Charles Price (Frederic C. Beil
hardcover, July 2008). Masterful novel about Revolutionary War in
the South, entering the minds of General Nathanael Greene and
Private James Johnson.
35. The Rhythm Method, Razzmatazz and Memory: How to Make Your
Poetry Swing (Writers Digest trade paper, Mar. 2007). Nationally
acclaimed, Marshall-based poet, editor, and speaker is both
specific and inspiring about poetic tradition.
36. On Earth’s Furrowed Brow: The Appalachian Farm in Photographs
by Tim Barnwell (Norton hardcover, Apr. 2007). Striking full-page
photos of life and landscape, with excerpts from photographer’s
notes and conversations in back.
37. The Four Lost Men: The Previously Unpublished Long Version by
Thomas Wolfe, edited by Arlyn and Matthew J. Bruccoli (U. of South
Carolina Press hardcover, July 20, 2008). Story based on Wolfe’s
dying father lamenting passing of era as U.S. is about to enter
38. Literary Trails of the North Carolina Mountains: A Guidebook by
Georgann Eubanks (UNC Press trade paper, Oct. 2007). Beautifully
designed, substantial guide to sites, with excerpts from pertinent
39. Mountain Passages: Natural and Cultural History of Western
North Carolina and the Great Smoky Mountains by George Ellison
(History Press trade paper, May 2005). History, lore, and natural
history fill narratives by seasoned expert.
40. That Magnificent Army of Youth and Peace: The Civilian
Conservation Corps in North Carolina, 1933-1942 by Harley E. Jolley
(N.C. Office of Archive and History large formal trade paper, Nov.
2007). Veteran historian of the Blue Ridge details and documents
rarely treated legacy.
41. North Carolina Curiosities by Joe Elliston and Kent Priestley
(Globe Pequot trade paper, May 2007)
42. A History of Hunting in the Great Smoky Mountains by Bob Plott
(History Press trade paperback, Sept. 2008). The veteran mountain
hunter provides a history of weapons and adventure through
43. A Cherokee Encyclopedia by Robert J. Conley (U. of New Mexico
Press hardcover, Dec. 2007).
44. Basil’s Dream
by Christine Hale (Livingston Press trade
paper, Apr. 2009). An American family’s move to Bermuda entangles
them in politics, romance, and complicated alliances.
45. Hiking North Carolina’s Lookout Towers by Peter Barr (John F.
Blair, April 2008). For 26 towers in WNC, the author provides,
history, description, directions, and hiking difficulty, and
by Jerry Stubblefield (Black Heron Press
hardcover, March 2009). Novel about failing Appalachian writer
whose imaginative, horrifying invention comes to life.
47. The Days between the Years by Sherry Austin (Overmountain Press
hardcover, Nov., 2007). Widowhood brings a world of memories about
her former passionate self to Trixie Goforth, whose voice the
authors has taken to a blog.
48. Windows of the Heart: The Correspondence of Thomas Wolfe and
Margaret Roberts edited by Ted Mitchell (U. of South Carolina Press
hardcover, Oct. 2007). Revealing exchange between the author and
his influential teacher, who was hurt by “Look Homeward,
49. Guide to North Carolina Highway Historical Markers, tenth ed.,
ed. By Michael Hill (N.C. Office of Archives and History trade
paper, Nov. 2007)
50. Asheville: A History by Nan K. Chase (McFarland trade
paperback, Sept. 2007). A survey of city history with compelling
prose and some special passionate focuses.
51. The Anatomists by Hal McDonald. (Harper mass market paper,
March 2008) Mars Hill College English professor’s contest-winning
mystery-thriller about grave-robbers in 19th century England.
52. A Popular History of Western North Carolina by Rob Neufeld
(History Press trade paper, 2007). Human interest stories and
authoritative facts reveal the main themes in the region’s history,
from 2000 B.C. to 2000 A.D.
53. Radical Passions: A Memoir of Revolution and Healing by Kendall
Hale (IUniverse, Nov. 2008). Candid, whirlwind account of a life as
a student radical, union organizer, feminist musician, health
clinic builder, seeker of inner peace, and Fairview mother and
54. The Magical Campus: University of North Carolina Writings by
Thomas Wolfe edited by Matthew Brucoli and Aldo P. Magi (U. of S.C.
Press, May, 2008). It contains “The Return of Buck Gavin: The
Tragedy of a Mountain Outlaw,” a folk play Wolfe wrote and produced
55. The Frontier Nursing Service: America’s First Rural
Nurse-Midwife Service and School by Marie Bartlett (McFarland trade
paper, Dec. 2008). Compelling account of woman who developed health
service in region by working with residents.
56. The Prince of War: Billy Graham’s Crusade for a Wholly
Christian Empire by Cecil Bothwell (Brave Ulysses trade paper, Jan.
2008). Unauthorized biography strives to show that Graham’s crusade
has involved using the sword of religion to achieve both military
and evangelical goals.
57. The Life and Times of Ray Hicks: Keeper of the Jack Tales by
Lynn Salsi (U. of Tenn. Press hardcover, Oct. 2008). Many
interviews with the late great Beech Mountain storyteller
transformed into a memoir that provides insight into mountain
58. Manners & Morals of Victorian American
Erbsen (Native Ground Books trade paper, March 2009).
59. Birthed from Scorched Hearts: Women Respond to War compiled and
edited by MariJo Moore (Fulcrum trade paper, Dec. 2008). Local
literary leader presents bold selections, both thematically and
60. Pure Bunkum: Reporting on the Life and Crimes of Buncombe
County Sheriff Bobby Lee Medford by Cecil Bothwell. First person
account of tracking down the Sheriff Medford story. (Brave Ulysses,
61. A Game Called Salisbury: The Spinning of a Southern Tragedy and
the Myths of Race” by Susan Barringer Wells (Infinity Publishing
trade paperback, 2007, 877-BUY BOOK). Story of a series of murders
and retributive lynchings that had taken place within the author’s
family a century ago.
62. High Vistas: An Anthology of Nature Writing from Western North
Carolina & the Great Smoky Mountains, Vol. 1, 1674-1900 by
George Ellison (History Press trade paper, July 2008). Presentation
of twenty key natural history writers of this region’s past, with
63. Circling Home
by John Lane (U. of Ga. Press trade paper
ed., Mar. 2009). Premiere nature writer from area writes history of
land within walking distance of home.
64. Move Over, Mountain: 50th Anniversary Edition by John Ehle
(Press 53 trade paper, Aug. 2007) Revered author’s 1957 novel about
an African-American’s struggles in segregated North Carolina.
65. Silence by Christopher Brookhouse (Permanent Press hardcover,
Jan. 2009). Literary Asheville novelist’s spare portrait of teens
finding their way.
66. Asheville's River Arts District (Images of America) by Rob and
Henry Neufeld (Arcadia trade paperback, July 2008). The illustrated
survey of the resurgent district includes now-and-then photos,
documented history, and stories.
67. Highlands (Images of America) by Dr. Randolph Preston Shaffner
(Arcadia trade paper, July 2008). Eminent historian of the region
presents history in photo book format.
68. Hunting and Fishing in the Great Smokies: The Classic Guide for
Sportsmen by Jim Gasque and Jim Cassada (UNC Press trade paper,
Aug. 2008). Reissue of 1948 regional classic with intro by noted
69. Haunted Hills: Ghosts and Legends of Highlands and Cashiers
North Carolina by Stephanie Burt Williams (History Press trade
paper, Sept. 2007)
70. Get Rufus by Bob Terrell (Land of Sky Books trade paper, Sept.,
2008). Beloved veteran Asheville writer’s western about Jackson
County sheriff in 1917.
71. Cabins & Castles: The History of Architecture of Buncombe
County, NC by Douglas Swaim and others (Historical Resources
Commission, 1981; facsimile edition, Historical Images, 2008).
Thousands of homes and buildings of historic note are
72. Wind in the Web by Frederick Bryson (Trafford, July 2008).
Bryson’s second novel about the Cherokee Removal follows the
revelation and journey of a warrior who redresses the
73. Littlejim by Gloria Houston (Bright Mountain Books paperback
reissue, Apr. 2008). Classic children’s novel about a young man
learning the world through his family and Spruce Pine’s lumber
74. The End of Eden: Writings of an Environmental Activist by
Thomas Rain Crowe, illustrations by Robert Johnson (Wind
Publications trade paperback, Oct., 2008). Essays that muse about
Eden and environmental Armageddon; and then testify to an idyllic
existence in Jackson County threatened by development.
75. Under the Sun by Glenis Redmond (Main Street Rag trade
paperback, Sept. 2008). Award-winning performance poet ventures
into themes of civil rights, family, and legacies.
The Day of the Knights by Jack Joseph Prather (PublishAmerica, Jan.
The Serial Killer’s Daughter by Pat Riviere-Seel. Poems comprising
the story of a woman executed in 1984, told through voice of her
daughter. (Main Street Rag, Jan. 2009)
Backside of the Country by Sarah Williams (PublishAmerica trade
paper, May, 2007). African-American family chronicle, featuring a
heart-of-gold heroine and troubles in society and family,
Mississippi to Asheville, 1930s to 1970s.
Daddyhood: Being a Daddy and Not Just a Father by Charles Blount
(Author House trade paperback, Feb. 2008). Book of advice and story
of the author’s development as a father before and after divorce,
with fatherhood defined non-biologically.
When the Dead Dream by MariJo Moore (Renegade Planets, Aug. 2008).
Character-rich novel about a woman’s movement within two cultures,
Cherokee and white; triumphant sequel to “The Diamond
The History of Ghost Town 1960 to 2007 by Hattie Caldwell Davis
(H.C. Davis hardcover, Jan. 2007). Eminent local historian’s
chronicle of local resort.
A Dream of Adonis by David Brendan Hopes (Pecan Grove Press, Sept.
2007). Oracular book of poems recalls the golden age, when beauty
was appreciated without sexual taboos and poets were heroes.
An Endless Tapestry by Julia Nunnally Duncan (March Street Press,
2007). Marion author of two books of fiction publishes her first
book of poems, telling stories in the first person.
Elizabeth and the Old Fool, and Other Stories by Naomi P. Bastow
(Vantage, Dec. 2008)
Sharks on My Fin Tips: A Wild Woman’s Adventures with Nature” by
A Precious Window of Time: A Manual for Teaching and Nurturing
Middle School Girls” by Howard Hangar and Dr. Vicki Garlock
(Lobster Press, 2009)
Irons in the Fire: Stories from the Flatiron Writers by Genève
Bacon, Toby Heaton, and Heather Newton (Green Ridge Books trade
paper, 2008, www.flatironwriters.com
Well-received stories by writers who gather in Asheville
Dwelling in Beulah Land: A Celebration of Rural Church Life by
Robin Spencer Lattimore (Hilltop Publications, 2007). Rutherfordton
author’s combination of lavish photo album, memoir, and local
View from My Porch: A Look Back at Plumtree by Fran Vance Clemons
(Books Books Books large format trade paperback, Oct. 2008)
(Postcard History Series) by Mary McPhail Standaert
and Joseph Standaert (Arcadia trade paper, Apr. 2009).