By Amanda Dekker
This spring, Cumberland County Public Library will take part in North Carolina Reads, an annual series that features five books that explore issues of racial, social and gender equality as well as the history and culture of North Carolina.
Monthly discussions of the selected titles will take place on Saturdays at Headquarters Library, 300 Maiden Lane. Participants will receive free copies of each book in the series, and light refreshments will be served at the meetings.
The 2023 schedule is:
- 2 p.m. Feb. 18: “Carolina Built” by Kianna Alexander. This novel is based on the life of Josephine N. Leary, an American entrepreneur who was emancipated in 1865 and set out to build a life of her own and a future for her family.
- 2 p.m. March 18: “Game Changers: Dean Smith, Charlie Scott, and the Era That Transformed a Southern College Town” by Art Chansky. This is the story of how basketball coaching legend Dean Smith and Charlie Scott, the first Black scholarship athlete at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, helped transform a university, a community and the racial landscape of sports in the South.
- 2 p.m. April 15: “Money Rock: A Family’s Story of Cocaine, Race, and Ambition in the New South” by Pam Kelley. This gripping tale of a family swept up in the 1980s cocaine epidemic shows how racism, segregation, the war on drugs and mass incarceration help shape individual destinies.
- 2 p.m. May 20: “Under a Gilded Moon” by Joy Jordan-Lake. Set near the turn of the 20th century, this novel explores community tensions arising out of the construction of the Biltmore Estate in western North Carolina, as seen through the eyes of a young woman with a foot in both the Appalachians and New York.
- 2 p.m. June 17: “Step It Up and Go” by David Menconi. This book’s subtitle is “The Story of North Carolina Popular Music, From Blind Boy Fuller and Doc Watson to Nina Simone and Superchunk.” The author explains how original music is as integral to the Tar Heel State’s character as barbecue, beaches and basketball.
North Carolina Reads is a program of the North Carolina Center for the Book. It is provided by North Carolina Humanities, which also will host virtual monthly meetings featuring guest speakers, including book authors and topic experts. To register, visit www.nchumanities.org/program/north-carolina-reads/.
For more information about Cumberland County Public Library’s series or to arrange pickup of the books, contact Amanda Dekker at 910-483-7727, Ext. 1409. To learn about all library programs, call 910-483-7727 or visit www.cumberlandcountync.gov/library.
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Amanda Dekker is manager of the East Regional branch of the Cumberland County Library.