5 Book Recommendations from Local Authors

Looking for books to add to your summer reading list? We tapped local authors to find out what they are loving right now.
by Melissa Howsam

Whether you’re looking for a beach read, something challenging, or a story to share with your children, these local writers, poets and novelists have suggestions in a range of genres.

 “I’m loving A Death in Harlem by Karla FC Holloway. This exquisitely-crafted novel transports me with its bold reshaping and retexturing of the intricate, secret societies that weave the endearing complexities of ‘death by misadventure.’ This is the perfect mystery for me during this moment. The nuances and charac- ters carry me across and beyond vivid thresholds of a community declaring its self-expression against that period’s backdrop of race and class elitism.” Jaki Shelton Green

“I’ve launched into The Light Years, the first of the five volume English saga The Cazalet Chronicles by Elizabeth Jane Howard. The family story (remember Upstairs, Downstairs?) begins before World War II, following the Cazalet family and households through the sweep of history. Witty, vividly written, rich in characters—delicious!” Frances Mayes

 “I’m enjoying Blue Marlin, a just-released novella by Hillsborough’s own Lee Smith. A 13-year-old girl observes her parents’ attempt at a second honeymoon in the Florida Keys with precocious eyes, and feels excitement at meeting movie stars staying at the same hotel. Smith is in high form here; her inimitable Southern voice carries the story throughout.” —Samia Serageldin

“It was a National Book Award finalist in 2017, but I just discovered Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado. It’s a collection of stories about the reality of women’s lives, which somehow integrates myth, folk tales, science fiction, humor and horror stories into a series of compelling and transfixing tales. It’s so good.” —Daniel Wallace

 “As a parent of a five-year-old, I love Raleigh author Kelly Starling Lyons’ picture book Tiara’s Hat Parade. Beautifully illustrated by Nicole Tadgell, this book captures the joy of storytelling, craft and family in bright colors and wonderful prose.”  —Kwame Mbalia