We may have gotten lucky this time with this storm but please will somebody please put it in the county budget funds to...

Could a North Carolina novel be the country’s best-loved?


D.G. Martin


D.G. Martin

Sunday, August 19, 2018

“The Great American Read,” a PBS series, is in the process of selecting America’s best-loved novel.

Is there a chance it could be a North Carolina book?

Maybe. I will explain in a minute, but first a little about the process. “The Great American Read” is an eight-part broadcast series. The opening broadcast in May revealed 100 novels that are in contention for selection as America’s best-loved. The series resumes on Sept. 11 and will air each week until Oct. 23, when the final selection will be announced.

These programs will, according to PBS, investigate “how and why writers create their fictional worlds, how we as readers are affected by these stories, and what these 100 different books have to say about our diverse nation and our shared human experience.”

From where did this 100-book list come? First, PBS got suggestions from than 7,000 people. Then, with the aid of an advisory panel of literary industry professionals, the 100-book list was developed. All were fiction. Books from other countries, such as “Don Quixote” and “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” were eligible if they had been published in English. Popular series, such as “Harry Potter” and “Lord of the Rings” were treated as a single volume.

Not everyone is happy with the 100-book list. Writing in The Wall Street Journal earlier this month, Adam Kirsch noted that none of Philip Roth’s highly praised books made the list although they “would feature on many experts’ lists of the greatest American fiction.”

“But then,” Kirsch continued, “he is in good company. Among the American novelists missing from the list are Nobel Prize winners like Sinclair Lewis, William Faulkner and Saul Bellow; legendary names like Flannery O’Connor and Edith Wharton; and living greats such as Joyce Carol Oates and Jonathan Franzen.”

North Carolinians looking for Thomas Wolfe, O. Henry, Reynolds Price, Ann Tyler, Charles Frazier and our state’s other favorite literary giants will be disappointed. These authors did not make the list.

I found only three North Carolina-connected books on the list. Betty Smith wrote “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” while she was living in Chapel Hill. Armistead Maupin, author of the “Tales of the City” series, grew up in Raleigh.

The only book on the list that is set in North Carolina is Nicholas Sparks’s first novel, “The Notebook.”

That book was released in 1996 and immediately made The New York Times best-seller list and remained there for more than a year. The movie based on the book grossed more than $100 million. Therefore, the story is still widely remembered. Set in New Bern, there are really two stories. In one, Noah and Allie, a teenage couple, have a passionate summer love affair. But Allie’s wealthy parents discourage the connection. Her mother intercepts Noah’s letters causing him to lose touch with Allie. Years later, when Allie is engaged to a prominent Raleigh lawyer, she reads about a house Noah has restored in New Bern. She makes a quick visit, one that turns into a lifetime together.

In the second story, Noah and Allie have grown old and live in a nursing home. Noah is in bad health, but his mind is clear. Alzheimer’s has taken Allie’s memory. Noah keeps his memories alive by reading to her their story as it is recorded in a well-worn notebook.

At a pace of about one book a year, Sparks has used the themes of romantic love, separation and reunion in a North Carolina setting to sell more than 100 million books.

On Oct. 23, we will learn whether “The Notebook” can make another big sale by winning the designation as the country’s best-loved novel.

To register your vote for “The Notebook” and for other books on the list, go to www.pbs.org/the-great-american-read/vote/

For a list of all 100 books go to www.pbs.org/the-great-american-read/books/#/


D.G. Martin hosts “North Carolina Bookwatch,” which airs at 11 a.m. Sundays and 5 p.m. Thursdays on UNC-TV. Today’s guest is Elizabeth Kostova, author of “The Shadow Land.” Thursday’s guest is Margaret Maron, author of “Take Out.”


Humans of Greenville


Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.


September 21, 2018


In the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, several area events have been postponed or canceled.

Games Meet Art

The Greenville Museum of Art has canceled Saturday’s Games Meet Art event. No new date has been scheduled. Call 758-1946, email info@gmoa.org or visit gmoa.org for more…

September 21, 2018

Capsules of movies playing locally. New releases are indicated with an asterisk.

CHRISTOPHER ROBIN — A working-class family man, Christopher Robin, encounters his childhood friend Winnie-the-Pooh, who helps him to rediscover the joys of life. (1 hour, 44 minutes) Rated PG.



September 21, 2018

Q My 15-year-old son and his stepmom, my wife of eight years, have developed such a contentious relationship that I don’t know what to do anymore. He’s not a bad kid but has a history of lying about grades, schoolwork and some really silly things like cleaning his room.

I’ve been…

Carolyn Hax

September 21, 2018


Magnolia Arts Center, 1703 E. 14th St., will have auditions for “Elf Jr: The Musical” from 6-8 p.m. today and 3-6 p.m. Sunday. Ages 18 and younger are eligible to audition. Visit magnoliaartscenter.com to review the script or for more information.


The Greenville Museum of…

September 21, 2018

The Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival will begin its 19th season with concerts on Thursday and Sept. 28. Here are highlights of the festival:

Greenville Concert Season

■ Season Opening Extravaganza: 7 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Sept. 28, A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall

■ The Miraculous Bartok:…

September 21, 2018

The 19th season of the Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival will feature internationally acclaimed artists that include a Grammy Award-winning soloist, musicians who have performed at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center and faculty from the country's most prestigious music schools.

And that is just for…


September 19, 2018

The Leroy James Farmers Market vendor of the week is Nooherooka Natural.

Nooherooka Natural is dedicated to providing quality beef and pork products throughout North Carolina and exhibiting good practices and stewardship for the earth while humanely caring for its livestock. Nooherooka Natural is a…


September 19, 2018

Q: I am trying to decide if I should buy an air fryer. What are the benefits and the downsides of using one? — T.N., Greenville

A: Several of our patients at ECU Family Medicine have told us how much they like the air fryer. I haven’t had an opportunity to use one yet. Dan Olson, a…


September 19, 2018

Some of the best restaurants in any given city can be found tucked away in strip malls on the outskirts of town. Well I have one that’s a real gem in the food scene, CPW’s Fine Food & Spirits, 2422 Stantonsburg Road in the Stanton Square shopping center. This casual, inviting…


September 19, 2018

Q Over a decade, my salary has tripled (I’m quite well-paid now), my work hours and responsibilities have increased, and — because I’m so frequently tired or short on time — my “outsourcing” has increased, too. Think: frequent takeout, a dog-walker, cabs instead…

Carolyn Hax
272 stories in Look. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 28
        Next Page»   Last Page»