Asheville, NC booksellers share their top regionally authored reads for 2020

Table of Contents

If there’s one thing we at AVLtoday can never get enough of, it’s booksand when they’re written by WNC authors or pertain to the region, it’s even better. Seeing as how the holidays are coming up and we know we’re not the only ones who adore giving + receiving books as gifts, we thought it’d be a great idea to reach out to some area booksellers and get their recs for the year’s best selections penned by regional authors or of regional importance.

📚 Justin Souther, senior buyer + bookstore manager, Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe, Asheville

When These Mountains Burn by David Joy

“Joy manages to skirt between writing gritty tales that are also tender, this one focusing on addiction and crime, set deep in our mountains.”

And the Crows Took Their Eyes by Vicki Lane

“A prominent mystery/thriller writer in the area, her latest work is historical fiction based in the Civil War and the horrors it brought to the region.”

In the Valley: Stories and a Novella Based on Serena by Ron Rash

“This is a collection of stories and a novella set in the orbit of his most popular book, Serena.”

📚 Chris Wilcox, owner, City Lights Bookstore, Sylva

Even As We Breathe by Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle

“This incredible WWII-era historical novel is the tale of a young man’s coming of age with a birth defect that keeps him out of battle while he works at Asheville’s Grove Park Inn.”

F*ckface: And Other Stories by Leah Hampton

“Indelicate title aside, this riveting short story collection is a must-read about life in Appalachia from a talented writer who went to graduate school with David Joy.”

Historic Tales of Sylva and Jackson County by Jim Buchanan

“Not literature, but a fun, historic look at how Sylva and Jackson County came about.”

📚 Libertie Valance, managing member of Firestorm Books & Coffee, Asheville

Force and Freedom: Black Abolitionists and the Politics of Violence by Kellie Carter Jackson

“This history uncovers the stories of Black abolitionists, including North Carolinians David Walker and Benjamin Stanley, who forcefully confronted the Slave Power before the Civil War.”

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

“We love casually diverse YA fantasy, and this queer-affirming, racism-confronting debut novel by an NC native, set in North Carolina, left us desperate for a sequel!”

Queer and Trans Voices: Achieving Liberation Through Consistent Anti-Oppression by Julia Feliz Brueck and Zoie Zane McNeill

“Appalachian independent scholar Zane McNeill and Puerto Rican publisher Julia Feliz have produced a wide-ranging essay collection exploring the intersections of social justice with queer and trans identity.”

More from AVL Today