Thursday, February 24, 2011

"Topograph" reading tonight at Queens University of Charlotte

Several authors whose works are included in "Topograph: New Writing from the Carolinas and the Landscape Beyond" will give a free reading tonight, Feb. 24, at Queens University's Sykes Auditorium.
"Topograph," edited by Jeff Jackson and published by Novello Festival Press, includes one-minute stories, poetry, memoir and short stories.
The evening begins with a Q&A with Jackson at 6:30 p.m. Anthology authors, including novelist and poet Alan Michael Parker, memoirist Shireen Campbell, poet Janice Fuller and cult author Scott McClanahan, will read at 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"Fishing North Carolina" author speaks in Charlotte

Award-winning hunting and fishing writer Mike Marsh will be in Charlotte Friday and Saturday to sign copies of his new book, "Fishing North Carolina" (John F. Blair; $19.95).

Publisher John F. Blair touts this new guide as the only book that covers fishing opportunities in all the state's regions -- from Mateo to Murphy, in other words. It includes detailed maps as well as advice on best time to fish, best way to fish and best lures to use.

Marsh will be at Jesse Brown's Outdoors at 4732 Sharon Road 6-8 p.m. Friday, Feb.25, and at Bass Pro Shop, 8181 Concord Mills Blvd. 10 a.m.-noon on Saturday, Feb. 26.

Andy Lawler, you've won my Kim Harrison book giveaway

Kim Harrison's just-out novel is "Pale Demon," the urban fantasy tale of a witch named Rachel Morgan who's forced to take a cross-country trip with an elf, a pixie and a vampire. Don't you hate it when that happens?

Andy Lawler, you've won a copy. Send me your mailing address, and I'll get it to you. (My email:
Thanks, all who entered. Check back for another giveaway soon.

Monday, February 21, 2011

London's Daily Mail discovers Charlotte writer's memoir of sex, every day, for a year

Charlotte's Charla Muller made a splash two years ago when she published "365 Nights: A Memoir of Intimacy," her story of the unusual 40th birthday gift she gave her husband - sex every day for a year. The story generated big-time buzz, including a piece in The New York Times' Sunday Styles section.

Now, with the paperback about to be released in England, London's Daily Mail offers up a feature on Charla.

Charla Muller's book, co-written with Charlotte's Betsy Thorpe, has been published in six languages. In Switzerland, it was a top-10 bestseller.

The Daily Mail writes a nice piece on Charla as "an ordinary working mum" who delivers an unusual birthday gift. My favorite part? A reader's comment: "I gave my hubby a gold pocket watch, and very happy he was with it too."

Friday, February 18, 2011

Win a copy of Kim Harrison's new fantasy, "Pale Demon"

If you're a fan of urban fantasy, I've got a book giveaway you'll love.

Win a copy of "Pale Demon," the newest tale of dark magic and supernatural adventure from bestselling author Kim Harrison.

Post a comment on this blog with your name or some way to identify you -- not just "anonymous."

Then, make sure to check back on Tuesday, Feb. 22, when I'll randomly select a winner.

Harrison, who lived until recently in Rock Hill, has now relocated to Michigan. Read more about her in my latest column, in Sunday's Observer.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Ron Rash at Park Road Books next week

Ron Rash will sign copies of his newest award-winning short story collection, "Burning Bright," 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 22 at Charlotte's Park Road Books, 4139 Park Road.

The collection, winner of the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, is now available in paperback for $12.99.

Rash, a Boiling Springs native who teaches at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, has won international acclaim for his poetry, short stories and novels. The 12 stories in "Burning Bright," set in Appalachia, include tales of meth addicts, poverty and hard luck. "Burning Bright finds a narrow sweet spot between Raymond Carver's minimalism and William Faulkner's Gothic," says The Washington Post.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The New York Times now lists e-book bestsellers

Sunday marked a literary milestone. For the first time, The New York Times published an e-book bestseller list.

Digital books -- purchased to be read on electronic readers, such as Amazon's Kindle, Barnes & Noble's Nook or the iPad -- now account for 9 percent of books sales. And the numbers continue to climb.

"For top fiction titles, the typical e-book share was upward of 60 percent of total sales, with John Grisham’s latest, "The Confession," hitting 75 percent," The New York Times reports.

The world of e-book technology, vendors and publishers remains in flux, so these early efforts to track e-book sales leave out many categories.

The Times isn't counting perennial sellers, required classroom reading, textbooks, reference and test preparation guides, journals, workbooks, calorie counters, shopping guides, comics, crossword puzzles and self-published books.

It's also not tracking e-book sales for advice and how-to books, children’s books and graphic books, though it plans to add those "at a future date."

Friday, February 11, 2011

Love young-adult literature? Here's an event for you

The Charlotte chapter of the Women's National Book Association hosts a panel on "The Rise of the Young Adult Novel," 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 15, at the Quail Hollow Estates Clubhouse, 7301 Quail Meadow Lane.

Panelists include moderator Snow Wildsmith, writer and former teen librarian; Lois Moss, a book blogger and photographer; and Tracey Adams, children's and young-adult literary agent with Adams Literary.

Also on hand will be two bestselling young-adult authors from North Carolina: Beth Revis, author of "Across the Universe," and Charlotte's Carrie Ryan, author of the trilogy, "The Forest of Hands and Teeth," "The Dead Tossed Waves" and, coming in March, "The Dark and Hollow Places."

Thursday, February 10, 2011

First screening in Charlotte: James Franco as Allen Ginsberg

Good news for fans of the late beat poet Allen Ginsberg: The Charlotte Film Society is hosting two Feb. 19 screenings of "Howl," the 2010 movie about Ginsberg's legendary poem.

James Franco plays Ginsberg as he navigates the 1957 obscenity trial that followed the publication of "Howl."

Showing are at 4 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19 at Theatre Charlotte, 501 Queens Road. Tickets are $5 for members, $8 for nonmembers. Cash only. UNC Charlotte's Chris Davis, a professor and poet, will lead after-film discussions.

Check out a trailer and more information at the Charlotte Film Society's website. And if you're trying to recall that famous poem, here are a few lines to jog your memory:

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving
hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry

dynamo in the machinery of night,
who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the

supernatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities
contemplating jazz,....

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

National Book Award winner Colum McCann to visit Catawba College

Tickets are on sale now for a March 3 lecture, luncheon and writing Q & A at Salisbury's Catawba College with 2009 National Book Award winner Colum McCann.

McCann will lecture on his National Book Award-winning novel, "Let the Great World Spin," at 11 a.m. in Hedrick Little Theatre. He'll be a guest at a 12:15 p.m. luncheon in Peeler Crystal Lounge. Then, at 2 p.m., he'll answer questions about writing during a Q&A session at Hedrick Little Theatre.

McCann grew up in Ireland but lives in New York. When "Let the Great World Spin" was published in 2009, Esquire magazine hailed it as "The first great 9/11 novel." McCann's other works include "Zoli," "Dancer" and "Everything in This Country Must."

Tickets to the lecture only or the Q&A session only are $15 each. Tickets to the lecture and luncheon are $35. Tickets are $50 for all three events -- the lecture, luncheon and Q&A.

More information: 704-637-4393 or at Catawba College's website.

Monday, February 7, 2011

"Under the Mercy Trees" giveaway: We've got a winner

Marla, you've won a copy of "Under the Mercy Trees," the debut novel by Asheville's Heather Newton. Email me ( with your mailing address, and I'll send the book to you.
Author Heather Newton, by the way, will be in Charlotte for a reading and book signing at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 15 at Providence United Methodist Church 2810 Providence Road.
Her first novel is the story of a prodigal son who returns to his N.C. home when his older brother mysteriously disappears from the family farm.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Finally, an anthem for bookworms

Check out Julian Smith and his "I'm reading a book" video.
Admittedly, he's kind of menacing. And he appears to be stealing books. But you've got to love his passion for reading.

Friday, February 4, 2011

"Under the Mercy Trees" author in Charlotte; win her book

Asheville's Heather Newton is getting great reviews for her debut novel, "Under the Mercy Trees," the story of a prodigal son who returns to his N.C. home when his older brother mysteriously disappears from the family farm.

She'll be in Charlotte for a reading and book signing at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 15 at Providence United Methodist Church 2810 Providence Road.

But first, I'm giving away a copy, If you'd like to win it, post a comment on this blog with your name or some way to identify you -- not just "anonymous."

Then, make sure to check back on Monday, Feb. 7, when I'll randomly select a winner. Want to know more about the book? Check out the Observer's review.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A new mystery, with headhunters

Nothing like a few headhunters to add dramatic tension to a story, is there?

"The Headhunter's Daughter," the second mystery in a series by Charlotte's Tamar Myers, is now in stores. It's the story of a white girl raised by a Belgian Congo headhunting tribe until she's 13, when a white police chief sets out to investigate rumors of the girl's existence.

Myers knows of what she writes. As the daughter of missionaries, she grew up in a diamond-mining town in the Congo, where she lived among headhunters.

Until she began her Congo series, Myers had published more than 30 comedic mysteries, one featuring a Mennonite innkeeper, the other an antiques dealer.

But it was the first book in this new series, "The Witch Doctor's Wife," that won a starred review in Publishers Weekly when it came out in 2009. "An engagingly devious yarn," Publishers Weekly calls her newest book, "but what truly elevates this effort is the warmth with which she evokes the now-vanished Congo where she spent much of her childhood."