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Updated: November 7, 2021 @ 7:15 am
The past year has been one for the books, and speaking of books, I have several with a local connection that I want to mention, especially since it’s almost time to think about gift-giving for the holidays.
A while back (way back), I got an email from Sharon Kane, who lives in Pinehurst part of the year, wanting to introduce me to cozy mystery books written by her Los Angeles friend Daryl Wood Gerber. I’m always up for reading mysteries of any kind, so Sharon was kind enough to drop off a couple of Gerber’s books at the office for me to pick up: “Final Sentence,” from her Cookbook Nook series featuring Jenna Hart, who operates a culinary bookshop and cafe, and “A Sprinkling of Murder,” from a new series featuring Courtney Kelly, owner of a garden store, who has her own personal fairy.
I loved both books and look forward to reading more in each series as well as Gerber’s other series, the French Bistro and Cheese Shop mysteries. Food and books just seems to go together, and both of these books offer recipes at the end.
Gerber has also published a couple of suspense novels.
Sandra Fischer, a local writer, published a book of devotions called “My Faithbook Messages” early in 2021, which would make a nice gift for friends. These short essays, presented along with corresponding passages from the Bible, offer good thoughts and messages for all, a nice thing in this time when everything seems to be controversial. And, Fischer has just announced that her next book, titled “Every Day Is Christmas” is being released. She will be doing a book signing Tuesday, Nov. 16, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Sandhills Woman’s Exchange as part of its Christmas Open House week.
Nicole Weller, an LPGA/PGA teaching professional at Pinehurst Resort, who specializes in worker with children ages 2-5, is releasing her second book “Big Thoughts From Little Golfers.”
She will be signing copies of her book from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 7, and 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10, at Bump and Baby in Pinehurst.
The second edition of her first book, “Let’s Play Golf,” is coming out as well.
Weller moved to the area last year after 15 years at The Landings Club in Savannah, Ga.
Pinehurst resident Ron Rhody is continuing his literary journey with the novel “One Last Strike Before Dark,” about Jordan Aimes, a successful young man who is faced with a life-or-death decision.
Going back to his hometown, he weighs the options of having a risky surgery or facing and early death. Reconnecting with old friends and old times helps Jordan make his decision.
Rhody’s way of telling a story will resonate with readers.
My friend from Moncure, Judy Hogan, now in her 80s, has been busy writing and publishing the 13th-17th books in her Penny Weaver mystery series. Hogan’s novels are set pretty much in what is Chatham County (called Shagbark), and in addition to crime, she often brings in topics such as voter ID laws, racism and even making medical choices.
The 14th is “A Teen’s Christmas in Wales,” in which Penny, her husband, Kenneth, grandson Seb and his girlfriend, Naomi, visit Gower, in Wales, which is Kenneth’s hometown. And always, there is a mystery to solve.
“Coal Ash Bourne” is the 16th book in which the murder of the heads of the Environmental Research Department and Waste Management Section makes life difficult for the governor, who was counting on them to come to a solution for the coal ash problem.
All of the regular characters in Hogan’s books have their own challenges and quirkiness. I always enjoy catching up with them. Hogan recently released 17th book in the series “Coal Ash Pilgrimage,” which she says is the final book in the Penny Gower series. Like most of Hogan’s mysteries, there is an environmental theme.
“Shadows of Saigon,” by Pinehurst writer Mark R. Anderson, tells the story of Grady Cordeaux, a Vietnam veteran, now 68, who has a heart attack. While he is sedated, Grady relives his senior year in high school, his relationship with his first girlfriend and other events that shaped the coming years, including what he suffered during the war.
Most importantly, he recalls his love of Teen, daughter of a businessman in Southeast Asia, their brief marriage and their son.
Since I’m not a big fan of war stories of that era, I was afraid I might not like this novel, but it’s more about Grady and his life than the war itself.
Anderson’s debut novel is a good read.
Iris Llewellyn Angle, who lives in Southern Pines, has published her second book “Walk to Yesterday: a Memoir in Poems,” which is available at The Country Bookshop. Her first book was “Tell Your Story Walking: One Mother’s Legacy.”
For history lovers, Paul R. Dunn, who lives in Pinehurst, published the final volume of his four-book series “The Secret War Diaries of Abraham Lincoln: Including his Recurring Dreams.” Although Dunn obviously fictionalized these accounts, he did countless hours of research on the 16th president in order to come as close as possible on what Lincoln might have written.
Southern Pines resident Mary Lou Leavell Bernett contributes “I Solemnly Swear: The Trials and Triumphs of an Elected County Official in Rural Indiana, 1984-1999.” Filled with humorous stories and personal anecdotes, Bernett reveals what life was like as Clerk of the Courts and as a county auditor for Marshall County.
Anyone who has met Bernett knows she is quite capable of telling a good story, and here’s proof.
Ted Wojtasik, a longtime professor at St. Andrews University, has written “Daisy,” which is a companion to the F. Scott Fitzgerald book “The Great Gatsby.” The book tells the original story from the point of view of Miss Jordan Baker rather than Nick Carraway’s as in Fitzgerald’s book.
Well-written, this short novel does give a different perspective. It might be good to re-read “The Great Gatsby” to compare.
Wojtasik has two other novels “No Strange Fire” and “Collage.”
Ryan Graves, a local author, shares his story in “Miraculous.” Graves reveals that in 2016, he was drinking a liter of vodka a day. Married, with twin daughters, and living in northern Maine, Graves wanted to stop drinking, but says he was actually too afraid to stop.
When his younger brother died, that changed everything for him. Graves moved his family to North Carolina and spent the pandemic writing this book, which covers his life from childhood to present, his relationship with his brother and with alcohol.
It takes a lot of nerve to put your life out there, and I admire Graves for doing so.
Former Moore County resident Tim Lussier, who worked for many years at the Central Office of Moore County Schools, is also a big fan of silent movies. His latest book is “Silent Vignettes: Stars, Studios and Stories from the Silent Movie Era.” Anyone who loves old movies will enjoy learning about some of the “stars” of that era, not just Mary Pickford, Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton, but actors whose lives have been mostly forgotten. Lussier is also the author of “‘Bare Knees’ Flapper: The Life and Films of Virginia Lee Corbin.”
Contact Faye Dasen at [email protected] or (910) 693-2475.
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