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Not the Usual Beach Books 

What Charlotte authors are reading this summer

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he read." In that spirit, we asked several local authors what they've been reading this summer. Here's what they said.

Dr. Sandra Govan

Dr. Govan is a professor of English at UNCC and the author of essays published in The Novello Anthology, My Soul Is A Witness, and Father Songs; Testimonies by African American Sons and Daughters.

• The Known World by Edward P. Jones. This 2004 Pulitzer Prize winner is "outstanding. It is a story about slavery but with an ironic twist -- it is a black man who owns slaves."

• Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. "At this moment I am almost at the end, for the countless time. I love this book."

• Bare Bones by Kathy Reichs. A murder mystery set in Charlotte. "Just for fun."

• Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand. "Infinitely better than the movie."

Jerry Bledsoe

Jerry Bledsoe is a former columnist for the Charlotte Observer, the founder of Down Home Press, and an author of true crime books that include Before He Wakes, Bitter Blood, Blood Games, and others.

• I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe. "[It is] built around a young woman from up in Alleghany County ... I've been meaning to read it for a long time." He is not doing much reading for fun these days, but as a longtime Wolfe fan, Bledsoe managed to sneak this onto his research-heavy reading list. "It is still Tom Wolfe, thank goodness, even though he is old."

Maureen Ryan Griffin

Maureen Ryan Griffin is a poet, teacher and author of The Scatter of Blossoms, When the Leaves are in the Water and How She Fed Us.

• The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. "It is about the immigrant experience and the clash of cultures and the tangled ties between generations. One of my students told me it was a wonderful book and I always get my best reading suggestions from my students."

• For the Love of Books: 115 Celebrated Writers on the Books They Love Most by Ronald B. Schwartz. "It is wonderful fun to read. I have about 30 sticky notes in there about books that writers that I love have said are wonderful."

• Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling. "Of course!"

• The Holy Surprise of Right Now: Selected and New Poems by Samuel Hazo. "He is the Poet Laureate of Pennsylvania, and I had read a poem of his a long time ago in a literary magazine and I loved it. This is a wonderful collection."

Chris Davis

Chris Davis is a poet and a professor at UNCC, and author of The Tyrant of the Past and the Slave of the Future.

• Ulysses by James Joyce. Davis has spent the whole summer reading Ulysses for the second time while also listening to the audio book, which he says, "brings out the beauty. [I have been] really slowly reading along and savoring the rich, beautiful passages."

Tanure Ojaide

Tanure Ojaide is a professor at UNCC, a poet and author of Labyrinths of the Delta, The Eagles Vision, The Endless Song, Great Boys: An African Childhood and others.

• Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Everything about this debut novel by Nigerian-born writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is "very good!"

• To Prove my Blood: A tale of Emigrations and the Afterlife by Philip Brady. A memoir about growing up Irish-American. "[Brady] is a poet, and it shows."

Scott Martin

Scott Martin is the author of Satisfaction: The Novel.

• The War Against Cliché. Essays and Reviews 1971-2000 by Martin Amis. "This is a bit of a literary insider's book but the writing is superb, especially the early (very) pretentious stuff. Amis' review of Hillary Clinton's It Takes a Village is perfect."

• The Destinies of Darcy Dancer, Gentleman J.P. Donleavy. "The Irishman's description of this quasi-picaresque punter is wonderful. Every writer should study the style (and the substance). Give me J.P. over Joyce any day."

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