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Posted on: January 31, 2024

NC Reads Book Club

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North Carolina Reads is North Carolina Humanities’ statewide book club! North Carolina Reads annually features five books that explore issues of racial, social, and gender equity and the history and culture of North Carolina. All five books pose critical questions about how North Carolinians view their role in helping to form a more just and inclusive society. North Carolina Reads received a national Schwartz Prize by the Federation of State Humanities Councils in 2023 for its outstanding statewide impact.

A limited number of this year's titles have been donated to the library for distribution to County residents. Stop by the front desk of your local library on the 1st of the month preceding each book discussion to collect your copy.

Book SelectionDiscussion DatesSummary
Poster Girls, by Meredith Ritchie

Books available February 1st

Harmony Library: March 4 at 11:00 am

Statesville Library: March 27 at 2:00 pm

Troutman Library: March 27 at 2:00 pm
After an unwanted southern migration, an upside-down world in 1943 offers military wife and mother, Maggie Slone, a job at Charlotte’s largest wartime employer––the massive and dangerous Shell Assembly Plant. Meanwhile, military wife and Alabama native, Kora Bell’s steadfast determination enables her to navigate the challenges she faces as a Black woman seeking employment under Jim Crow. A shared love of literature spurs an unlikely friendship between Kora and Maggie, and the two work together to unify the plant’s workforce.
Beyond Innocence: The Life Sentence of Darryl Hunt, by Phoebe Zerwick

Books available March 1st
Statesville Library: April 24 at 2:00 pm
A young Black man is falsely accused of murdering a white woman in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and is sentenced to life in prison, where he spent 19 years behind bars before his tireless attorneys were able to prove his innocence. Part true crime drama, part chronicle of a remarkable life cut short by systematic prejudice, Zerwick’s narrative powerfully illuminates the sustained catastrophe faced by an innocent person in prison and the difficulty all formerly incarcerated people face when they try to restart their lives.
The Violin Conspiracy, by Brendan Slocumb

Books available April 1st

Harmony Library: May 6 at 11:00 am

Statesville Library: May 22 at 2:00 pm

Troutman Library: May 22 at 2:00 pm

The riveting story of a young Black musician who discovers that his old family fiddle is actually a priceless Stradivarius: when it’s stolen on the eve of the world’s most prestigious classical music competition, he risks everything to get it back. Growing up Black in rural North Carolina, Ray McMillian’s life is already mapped out. But Ray has a gift and a dream—he’s determined to become a world-class professional violinist, and nothing will stand in his way. Not his mother, who wants him to stop making such a racket; not the fact that he can’t afford a violin suitable to his talents; not even the racism inherent in the world of classical music.
American Refuge: True Stories of the Refugee Experience, by Diya Abdo

Books available May 1st

Statesville Library: June 26 at 2:00 pm
In this intimate and eye-opening book, Diya Abdo–daughter of refugees, U.S. immigrant, English professor, and activist—shares the stories of seven refugees. Coming from around the world, they’re welcomed by Every Campus A Refuge (ECAR), an organization Diya founded to leverage existing resources at colleges to provide temporary shelter to refugee families. We learn that these refugees from Burma, Burundi, Iraq, Palestine, Syria, and Uganda lived in homes they loved, left against their will, moved to countries without access or rights, and were among the 1% of the “lucky” few to resettle after a long wait, almost certain never to return to the homes they never wanted to leave. We learn that anybody, at any time, can become a refugee.
Welcome to the Circus of Baseball, by Ryan McGee

Books available June 1st
Harmony Library: July 1 at 11:00 am

Statesville Library: July 24 at 2:00 pm

Troutman Library: July 31 at 2:00 pm
A gloriously funny, nostalgic memoir of a popular ESPN reporter who, in the summer of 1994, was a fresh-out-of-college intern for a minor league baseball team. Madness and charm ensue as Ryan McGee spends the season steeped in sweat, fertilizer, nacho cheese sauce, and pure, unadulterated joy in North Carolina with the Asheville Tourists. He has since risen the ESPN ranks to national TV, radio, and Internet host, but his time in Asheville still looms large.

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