James Boyd House line vector

Book and tea on the lawn

The James Boyd Book Club reads the work of North Carolina authors – past and present.

 

Meetings are on the third Tuesday of each month, September through May, at 2 pm in the Weymouth Library.

This discussion group is open to members and non-members alike.

 

Fall 2018-Spring 2019 Selections

 

Book cover by Randall Kenan

Randall Kenan, Let the Dead Bury Their Dead

19 March

Kenan follows his first novel (Visitation of the Spirits, 1989) with a captivating, baroque history of fictional Tims Creek, North Carolina, whose citizens–both black and white–have experienced more than their share of unearthly wonders.

Tims Creek looks to outsiders like a dull North Carolina backwater settled by the descendants of slaves and slaveholders, now farmers, shop owners, factory workers, and general layabouts. But locals, as Kenan makes clear in the telling, know that nearly every dwelling in this fertile country houses a fascinating, if rarely flattering, tale. The Pickett house harbors the legend of three-year-old Clarence, who foretold his neighbors’ fate (whether or not they wanted to hear it) and communicated with the dead until they called him to join them at the age of five; the rundown Williams shack shelters young Dean Williams, who foolishly agreed to seduce the town’s richest black man in exchange for the promise of a job as a factory foreman; in the Pearsall home, a middle-aged mother unravels to the point of infanticide; and on her own front porch, old Maggie MacGowan Williams tries to come to terms with the fact of her beloved grandson’s homosexuality. In coloring in the background of a town founded by runaway slaves, sustained by hypocritical preachers and ambitious exiled intellectuals, and taken over by bloodless modern-day manipulators–a land in which the dead live side by side with the living and the good fraternize with evil as a matter of course–Kenan switches unpredictably from the seductive rhythms of traditional folk tales to a drier, more distanced narrative voice, and even, in the title story, to a playful takeoff of a scholarly oral history, complete with lengthy footnotes. A wildly uneven but always original portrait of a southern community–and a stimulating collection of tales by a courageous and humorous author.

(Kirkus Reviews)

Poetry by Jaki Shelton Green

Jaki Shelton Green, Dead on Arrival

16 April

(Jaki Shelton Green’s) poems issue from a persona that unflinchingly peers into the heart of darkness and foreboding and forges from it, in an inimitable idiom of folk, plain-speak and soul (and a brilliant patois all her own), a relentless belief that love and ancestry always prevail over heartache, that story is more important than recrimination, that language is a sacrament.

 

The documented and anecdotal feats of Jaki are legion. She is much beloved among North Carolina writers. She has unflinchingly stated that one of her key responsibilities in life is to mentor young African American student-writers, all young writers, really, and she has worn that mantle aggressively and with great determination.

(Read more from the NC Literary Hall of Fame.)

 

Book cover by Mary Kay Andrews

Mary Kay Andrews, Spring Fever

21 May

The New York Times bestselling author of Summer Rental delivers her delicious new escapist novel about small towns, old flames, and deep secrets

Annajane Hudgens truly believes she is over her ex-husband, Mason Bayless.  They’ve been divorced for four years, she’s engaged to a new, terrific guy, and she’s ready to leave the small town where she and Mason had so much history.  She is so over Mason that she has absolutely no problem attending his wedding to the beautiful, intelligent, delightful Celia.  But when fate intervenes and the wedding is called to a halt as the bride is literally walking down the aisle, Annajane begins to realize that maybe she’s been given a second chance.  Maybe everything happens for a reason.  And maybe, just maybe, she wants Mason back.  But there are secrets afoot in this small southern town.  On the peaceful surface of Hideaway Lake, Annajane discovers that the past is never really gone.  Even if there are people determined to keep Annajane from getting what she wants, happiness might be hers for the taking, and the life she once had with Mason in this sleepy lake town might be in her future.

(Read more at MaryKayAndrews.com)