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Books: Be thankful this holiday season for our local authors

November 26, 2013 

It’s no secret that the holidays are a crucial season for all sorts of businesses, independent and otherwise.

This year marks the inaugural effort of Indies First Day, which coincides with Small Business Saturday, in which local authors show their support for independent bookstores by volunteering to “work” there for a day. On Nov. 30, we’ll be hosting Daniel Wallace, Rosecrans Baldwin and Alan Shapiro, and we’re hoping that folks will be inclined to visit if only to see these winsome personalities (and perhaps purchase a signed book or two).

In honor of this, the season that reminds us to be thankful for the authors and readers peopling this bookish town, we’re proposing a few North Carolina-centric books that will invest your money in your own soil and impress your relatives to boot.

• For your pithy aunt or uncle: Wilton Barnhardt’s “Lookaway, Lookaway.” For the fainthearted, sensitive, or generally emotional, perhaps this one’s best avoided. For everyone else: This fantastic tale of highfalutin Charlotte society is an irreverent romp not to be missed. Barnhardt, a professor in the North Carolina State creative writing program, blends the storytelling styles of John Kennedy Toole and Flannery O’Connor into something decidedly his own.

• For your Mama: If your mother’s the type that occasionally utters a four-letter-word, has been known to speak her mind plainly and enjoys a generous dose of humor, we’d recommend Jill McCorkle’s “Life After Life,” the hilarious and tenderhearted tale of numerous characters entering their twilight years. You might tear up once or twice, but mostly McCorkle will ensure that your jaws hurt from smiling so hard.

• For your brother or sister: Rosecrans Baldwin’s “Paris I Love You, But You’re Bringing Me Down” goes down as easy as a French macaron, but with a little bit less sugar. You’ll grimace, laugh, and swoon at the absurdity of life in the iconic French city alongside Baldwin. And at the end, you’ll feel as if you’ve just traveled alongside a dear friend.

• For your Daddy: It’s hard to explain Daniel Wallace’s “Big Fish,” but maybe that’s the beauty of it – it’s a tangled, intricate web of what it means to be family, to tell the truth and to live adventurously no matter where life sends you. An epic tale of myths, jokes, legends and remembrances.

• For your friend: Surprise them with Wiley Cash’s “A Land More Kind Than Home.” This debut work has earned Cash a variety of praise, and it’s no wonder why. With comparisons to Tom Franklin and John Hart, this mystery told by three different characters is the sort of page-turner that will either distract you from obnoxious relatives, bring you to the cutting-edge of new fiction, keep you from wandering out in the cold in search of a movie theater – or all three.

Linnie Greene is the marketing coordinator of Flyleaf Books, Independent Booksellers, at 752 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Chapel Hill.

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