Need a gift for the book­worm? Try some­thing with lo­cal fla­vor

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - Carolina Living - BY JOSH SHAF­FER jshaf­[email protected]­sob­server.com

In­side a hand­some cof­fee-ta­ble book, a thou­sand sto­ries wait to be told by the daily flip of a page: the last duel ever fought in North Carolina, the first tor­toise to ar­rive at the N.C. Zoo, and the doomed ge­ol­o­gist Elisha Mitchell tum­bling off the moun­tain that would bear his name.

The book, “This Day in North Carolina His­tory,”

con­tains land­mark dates in the lives of Chang and Eng, famed Si­amese twins who set­tled in Wilkes County; Phil Ford, leg­endary Tar Heel point guard from Rocky Mount; and Roberta Flack, a Black Moun­tain na­tive known for the song “Killing Me Softly.”

With at least three his­toric events each day, “This Day in North Carolina His­tory” (UNC Press) be­gins with the day Duke Univer­sity hosted the Rose Bowl in 1942 and fin­ishes with the USS Mon­i­tor sink­ing off Cape Hat­teras in 1862.

And along with other lo­cally au­thored books and guides, it makes a handy Christ­mas gift.

“Read­ers take great pride in the peo­ple, in­ven­tions and prod­ucts born in the Tar Heel state,” writes Ans­ley Her­ring Weg­ner, the book’s au­thor, who also man­ages the state’s his­tor­i­cal marker pro­gram for the North Carolina Of­fice of Ar­chives and His­tory.

“This Day” tops our list of lo­cal books suit­able for stock­ings, but these oth­ers caught our eye. You can find them at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, Let­ters or The Reg­u­la­tor in Durham, Page 158 in Wake For­est, Flyleaf in Chapel Hill and as­sorted other lo­cal book­stores.

With “Blue Blood II,”

(St. Mar­tin’s Press) long­time sports jour­nal­ist Art Chan­sky up­dates his chron­i­cle of Duke-UNC bas­ket­ball drama. His 2005 orig­i­nal won praise, and his fol­low-up views Roy Wil­liams and Mike Krzyzewski in their au­tumn years, Hall of Fame coaches forced to adapt.

The book be­gins with Tyler Hans­brough in his first year as a Tar Heel and J.J. Redick in his last wear­ing Duke blue, fol­low­ing both teams through cham­pi­onship and scan­dal.

“’Blue Blood II’ ... would be dif­fer­ent from the first,” Chan­sky writes in his ac­knowl­edg­ments. “Maybe kinder and gen­tler than when (Heels Coach Dean) Smith was pro­tect­ing his turf and Mike Krzyzewski was try­ing to claim his piece of it. Or maybe two pro­grams with still-fiery coaches in their 60s and 70s, re­spect­ful of each other, sens­ing the end of their tenures and vow­ing to go out strong.”

“North Carolina’s Lit­er­ary Lu­mi­nar­ies and the Book­shops That Love Them” of­fers this col­lec­tion of lit­er­ary birth­days and hap­pen­ings, in­form­ing the book-read­ing pub­lic that be­fore Joseph Mitchell stalked the streets of New York, chron­i­cling the lives of bur­lesque dancers and domino play­ers, he was born in hum­ble Robe­son County on July 27.

Each month fea­tures a dif­fer­ent in­de­pen­dent book­store, from the old guards at Quail Ridge and Reg­u­la­tor the new­comer Page 158 in Wake For­est and Read with Me in down­town Raleigh.

Banned Books Weeks gets high­lighted in Septem­ber, as does Book Lovers Day in Au­gust.

A bonus: Use the checker­board on the last page to col­lect a stamp at ev­ery fea­tured book stop. A mys­te­ri­ous but “valu­able” prize awaits.

Any hiker knows the Ap­palachian Trail. But Char­lotte gets scant men­tion in most guides, de­spite hav­ing some of the state’s most ap­peal­ing peaks. Crow­ders Moun­tain, with its play­ground of boul­ders, ranks in the top 10 most-vis­ited state parks.

This Char­lotte-cen­tric book from Fal­con Guides takes a stroll through Latta Plan­ta­tion Na­ture Pre­serve, Kings Moun­tain Na­tional Mil­i­tary Park, Pee Dee Na­tional Wildlife Refuge, Lake Nor­man and Uwhar­rie Na­tional For­est — known for fre­quent Big­foot sight­ings.

“Best Hikes Char­lotte” comes with mileage, maps, direc­tions and rank­ings for best hikes to take with chil­dren or af­ter work. Pho­tos give a clue to the scenery ahead. Fal­con has sim­i­lar guides for Asheville, Blue Ridge Park­way and the Great Smoky Moun­tains.

This cal­en­dar from the In­de­pen­dent Book­sell­ers of Pied­mont North Carolina fea­tures a dif­fer­ent in­de­pen­dent book­store each month and con­tains au­thor birth­days and other book-re­lated in­for­ma­tion.

“This Day in North Carolina His­tory” be­gins with the day Duke Univer­sity hosted the Rose Bowl in 1942 and ends with the USS Mon­i­tor sink­ing off Cape Hat­teras in 1862.

“Blue Blood II” up­dates Art Chan­sky’s chron­i­cle of Duke-UNC bas­ket­ball drama.

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