Between my full-time job with AVLtoday and my full-time job as a mama, I don’t get the opportunity to read as much as I’d like. I’m sure many parents can relate. But this weekend marks a day when we’re all encouraged to unplug, pick up a book + indulge in the joy of reading: National Read a Book Day takes place Sun., Sept. 6. So whether you’re into crime, historical fiction, noir, new age, nature, or graphic novels, here are nine brand spankin’ new releases from WNC authors — ranging from best-selling to first-time writers — to inspire you to take a trip without ever leaving your house.
📚 “When These Mountains Burn” by David Joy I Release date: Aug. 18, 2020. I “Appalachian noir at its finest…Joy’s storytelling is top-notch (and not for the faint of heart), and you’ll find yourself turning pages deep into the night. But it’s his knack for capturing a sense of place that really brings the hammer down.”— Garden & Gun
📚 “All Together Now” by Hope Larson I Release date: Aug. 4, 2020 I “Larson’s artwork is crisp and bold; perfectly suited to her story and characters . . . The visual portrayal of Bina’s love of music, and her joy in losing herself in the creative process, is especially wonderful.” ―The New York Times
📚 “The Exiles” by Christina Baker Kline I Release date: Aug. 25, 2020 I “Gripping…Filled with surprising twists, empathetic prose, and revealing historical details, Kline’s resonant, powerful story will please any historical fiction fan.” — Publishers Weekly
Protip: Buy the special signed edition of The Exiles from Malaprop’s Bookstore & Cafe and your name + email address will be added to the invitation list to catch a virtual conversation between Christina Baker Kine + Wiley Cash Fri., Sept. 4 at 7 p.m.
📚 “The Illustrated Crystallary: Guidance and Rituals from 36 Magical Gems and Minerals” by Maia Toll I Release date: Sept. 1, 2020 I “In The Illustrated Crystallary, modern oracle Maia Toll hands you her seeing eye. As you scry into her luminous dreamscape, you’ll find intimate passages written with humor, wisdom, and the clarity of a sage. This book will center you in a timeless truth: your relationship with Earth will deepen when you listen to Her stories told in stone.” — Sarah Thomas, LAc, founder of the Upper Clarity School of Stone Medicine
📚 “Blacktop Wasteland” by S.A. Cosby I Release date: July 14, 2020 I “S.A. Cosby’s Blacktop Wasteland is the buzz book of the summer, and for good reason―this nailbiter of a thriller has everything, including road chases, fast cars, robberies gone south, carefully calibrated underworld shenanigans, standoff after standoff, and some deep family bonds.” ― CrimeReads
📚 “F*ckface: and Other Stories” by Leah Hampton I Release date: July 14, 2020 I “I urge you to pick up Leah Hampton’s F*ckface and Other Stories. The humor and the hardship of those mountains are imprinted in the very bones of this collection. The title story immediately grabbed me with its compassion and wit, and the rest of them continued to push the envelope by constantly reasserting the dignity of the populace alongside the political, economic, and ecological tragedy of the region.” ― The Paris Review, staff picks
📚 “DuPont Forest: A History” by Danny Bernstein I Release date: Sept. 7, 2020 I There are no reviews for this book yet, but y’all may have caught Danny’s two Southern Appalachian hiking guides, “The Mountains-to-Sea Trail across North Carolina” and “Forests, Alligators, Battlefields: My Journey through the National Parks of the South.” And then of course, there’s the piece she wrote for us on hiking during the pandemic.
📚 “Even As We Breathe” by Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle I Release date: Sept. 8, 2020 I “[A] groundbreaking first novel from Cherokee writer Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle. . .The distinct features of Cowney’s Qualla Boundary home, where a freed circus capuchin explores the treelines, a mystical waterfall cave waits in the mist, and fires and outsiders are a constant annoyance, glitter among the book’s mysteries and surprises. . . . Avoided family truths become a source of freedom in [this] fascinating historical novel.”― Foreword Reviews
📚 “In the Valley: Stories and a Novella Based on Serena” by Ron Rash I Release date: Aug. 4, 2020 I “At turns dark, craggy, and heart-wrenching, Rash’s writing is never easy, but it is also lovely, moving, and rich in history and culture, just like the Appalachian region it so beautiful captures.” — Library Journal
Special thanks to Charles at Malaprop’s Bookstore & Cafe (55 Haywood St.) for his help with these recommendations.