There is something perfect about a summer day on the beach with a gentle breeze, warm sunshine and a good book. It doesn't even have to be a good book—War and Peace is a great novel, but is it good beach reading material? Probably not because the ideal beach book is fun to read and usually not too long.We have some recently published books from local authors that fit that bill.
A Flower So Fallen by Joseph Terrell
Murder mystery writer Joseph Terrell knows how to tell a good story. He does a great job of building tension as the plot moves toward an inevitable point of conflict with the suspect. Dialogue tends to be sparse, to the point and realisticHis usual protagonist is Harrison Weaver, a semi-autobiographical character who seems to have landed on the Outer Banks as a way to escape the everyday world of writing for magazines and newspapers. Joseph, now retired wrote for the Associated Press for a number of years, among other writing assignments.A Flower So Fallen, however, tells the story through the eyes of Mary Ann Little, a recently widowed woman with a teenage son about to leave for college, a job as a reporter for a local newspaper and growing attraction for her editor. This is his second Mary Ann Little novel.Like all of his mystery novels, A Flower takes place on the Outer Banks and for anyone who knows the area, following the characters from Manteo to Kitty Hawk adds to the fun of the book.Well-crafted, the book is joy to read, although it does take on some modern issues, examining what happens as the epidemic of opiate addiction stretches deeper into society.Still, it a perfect beach reading book—engaging, easy to read and ultimately satisfying.Most of Joseph's books are still available. Two of our favorites from the Harrison Weaver series are Last Blue Moon in May and Dead Right Returning.
Lost Buffalo City by R. Wayne Gray and Nancy Beach Gray
Lost Buffalo City is a remarkable documentation of the history of Buffalo City. Using rarely seen photographs and some narrative to tell the story, the East Lake city that has been reclaimed by the swamp comes back to life.From the 1880s until the 1950s Buffalo City was one of the few recognizable towns in Dare County. At it's height, it had a population approaching 2000. Today, there is almost no evidence that there was ever a thriving town on the banks of Milltail Creek.Published by Arcadia Publishing, a company that specializes in books of photography that chronicle history, the Grays have unearthed a treasure trove of remarkable images. What makes the images particularly compelling is the attention to historic detail the authors describe. A picture from the 1880s or 1890s or Russian and African-American workers describes how perilous conditions were and how the relationship between the men made it even more dangerous."Another perilous situation was the fact that the Americans and the Russians did not get along and were constantly fighting physically," the authors write.Particularly interesting is the story of how the town survived when logging gave out. Luckily for the residents, prohibition took hold as liquor became illegal, and the town's remote location and close knit society were a perfect breeding ground for producing a high quality moonshine.Another wonderful book about life on the Outer Banks from Arcadia Publishing is Suzanne Tate's Duck that tells the story through many of her personal photographs of the story of the village.
Merri-Lee Monarch by Suzanne Tate, illustrated by James Melvin
Speaking of Suzanne Tate...Working with local artist James Melvin, Suzanne Tate has published 44 children's books over the past 30 years. Most of the books are in her nature series, although five tell the story of the history of the Outer Banks.Merri-Lee Monarch is the most recent book in the Nature Series, and like all of her books, it is thoroughly researched, scientifically accurate, tells a wonderful story that children will love and it's beautifully illustrated.Melvin's illustrations in particular in this book are extraordinary. The use of color and the attention to detail truly make the artwork in this book stand out.The book is based around a real event; every year, monarch butterflies return to an open field in South Nags Head. They rest, mate and then begin a long migration to the mountains of Mexico.Children will find find the artwork and story fascinating. This book as is the case with all of Suzanne's children's books, is ideal for toddlers between the ages of three to six.
A Book To Look For...
Andrew Lawler is not an Outer Banks author, but his soon to be published book, The Secret Token: Myth, Obsession, and the Search for the Lost Colony of Roanoke is worth noting.Lawler is a well-respected historian and researcher who has written on the Lost Colony for National Geographic as well as other publications. According to the author and publisher publicity, the book goes into considerable detail about the history of the Colony and as well as an in-depth examination of the many theories put forward concerning its disappearance.In his writings in the past, Lawler seems to believe the colonists were assimilated into the local tribes, a view that has gained popularity over the past few years.