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The Bookshelf:
Recommendations from a
Professional Reader
By Bill Rickman, The Island Bookstore

After a winter of quiet and sometimes peaceful reflection, we at The Island Bookstore look forward to a new season of books and readers. While we accumulate lots of new titles throughout the year, the off-season releases often remind us of the sound of trees falling in the woods with no one to hear them – or in this case, to read them. We value our readers, Back to Wando Passoand we heartily recommend a couple of new novels and a couple of new history titles.

Back to Wando Passo by David Payne, William Morrow and Company, $24.95
The premier novelist of the Outer Banks is David Payne, author of Early from the Dance and most recently Gravesend Light. His new book, Back to Wando Passo, is original, big, ambitious and haunting. Set in South Carolina, the novel masterfully weaves contemporary and 19th-century story lines. More than the setting alone will remind many readers of author Pat Conroy. Conroy himself says of this book:
“In Back to Wando Passo, David Payne breaks into new and vibrant territory. The novel quivers with authentic life and is so bold in concept and audacious in scope that it seems like the summing up and exclamation point of a great writer’s career. The novel contains everything — from the horror of 1860s rice culture slavery, to the perils of modern love, to the history of rock and roll... Payne takes on the whole known world and pulls it off with the deftness of a writer in his prime, enhancing a literary reputation that burns as brightly as that of any writer of his generation.”
This is a big Southern epic for the beach!

Island IntrigueIsland Intrigue by Wendy Howell Mills, Poisoned Pen Press, $24.95
Several years ago, local restaurant staffer Wendy Howell Mills wrote Death of a Mermaid and just before that she penned Callie & the dealer & a Dog Named Jake, both mysteries set on the Outer Banks. These are both again available. Since then Mills has moved on to an island off the southwest coast of Florida. More important to her many fans is that she has written the first of a new series set on an isolated and vaguely Southern island. Ohio teacher Sabrina Dunsweeney was expecting a month of rest on Comico Island; instead, she finds herself caught in a feud and a murder. Unimpressed by the local police, Sabrina elects to do a little sleuthing herself. After unmasking the killer (quite literally on Halloween), Sabrina decides to stay on at Comico, a choice that, while unsurprising, will leave readers eagerly anticipating another Comico Island adventure.

Hidden ImagesHidden Images: Discovering Details in the Wright Brothers’ Kitty Hawk Photographs, 1900-1911 by Larry E. Tise, History Press, $26.99
What is not well known about the Wright brothers is that they were highly skilled amateur photographers who had their own photo laboratory. Their images were purposeful as well as documentary, allowing Orville and Wilbur to re-examine their work and share their experiences with colleagues. Now for the first time, through advances in technology, readers will be able to see details of not only those first amazing flights, but also a glimpse into the times and the people who surrounded the Wright brothers during their time at Kitty Hawk. Historian and Wright brothers scholar Larry Tise consulted with many experts, including Outer Banks locals David Stick and Bill Harris, to bring this distinctive illustrated history to life. The details in the images allow the reader to step back in time and truly understand the trials and errors endured by the Wright brothers during these historic years at the genesis of powered flight.

Hatteras BluesHatteras Blues: A Story from the Edge of America by Tom Carlson, The University of North Carolina Press, $27.50
This is a wonderful story of a way of life, how it came about, how it changed and how it continues to change. Told from the perspective of Ernal Foster, the man who gave birth to the charter sport-fishing industry on the Outer Banks in the late 1930s, the story continues through his son Captain Ernie Foster and his peers, Captain “Tall Bill” Van Druten and friends. The book tells how these Hatteras residents blended their lifelong livelihood of commercial fishing into the lucrative world of sport-fishing. Hatteras Blues offers an insight into the lives of island families. The book also deals with the march of development – no real villains, just commercial Darwinism. What is happening is progress, pure and simple, American as apple pie, sometimes garish, sometimes sanitized, but progress nonetheless. What we lose is intangible – a manner of being and a way of living day to day – a loss gone so quickly it almost seems a trick of the eye.

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