Kristy Woodson Harvey’s debut novel, Dear Carolina, was published last month and excerpted here. In addition to writing fiction, Kristy blogs at Design Chic about how creating a beautiful home can be the catalyst for creating a beautiful life, and loves connecting with readers on her website. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s school of journalism and holds a Master’s in English from East Carolina University. She is a regular contributor for The Salisbury Post, Domino magazine and Houzz. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and three-year-old son.
My nightstand always looks like an overflowing pile… Usually there’s a good mix of fiction and non-fiction, but, right now, it’s pretty fiction heavy. Some of these became quick favorites and others I’m getting ready to dive into. I hope one of these jumps out at you and becomes a new favorite read. Enjoy!
The Dog Year by Ann Garvin — I had the pleasure of meeting Ann at a conference, and she is the founder of this fabulous group of women writers I am fortunate to be a part of, The Tall Poppy Writers. Garvin’s heroine in The Dog Year, Lucy Peterman, is a widowed physician who develops a bit of a kleptomania problem to deal with her grief. She is a touching and relatable character, and the secondary characters in this book are totally memorable as well.
And, I’ve never had a dog. I know. Gasp and sigh. But, if anyone could talk me into it, it’s my friend Ann. Little Dog may not be the protagonist of The Dog Year, per se. But he loves his owner Lucy Peterman back to life—and gives her a brand-new purpose—in the way that only a four-legged friend can. And Lucy’s pronouncement that, “hope is a thing with a tail” could really melt the hardest of dog-avoiding hearts.
What I Remember Most by Cathy Lamb — Cathy Lamb’s latest is fabulous! There’s Grenady, the damaged-yet-determined heroine whom you fight for, tooth and nail, from beginning to end, Kade, the too-hunky-for-words boss and a host of adorable and hilarious sidekicks. I adored this book, and Grenady reminded me a bit of a cross between my two characters, Jodi and Khaki. She has a knack for art and design like Khaki but has the deep wounds, wisdom and catchy sayings of Jodi. Lamb also creates one of the creepiest villains I have ever read. Granted, I don’t read a lot of books with creepy villains, but the scariest part is the utter brilliance of his character. I seriously had to close one eye when his parts came and will never look at nursery rhymes the same…
A Peach of a Pair by Kim Boykin — Boykin is a fellow NC girl, and I just adore her and her writing. I fell in love with her in The Wisdom of Hair. It was one of those books that I read in a day and couldn’t put down. Her writing is fun and fresh and spunky and oozes Southern charm. A Peach of a Pair is her latest work, and I’m so excited to get to read it before it hits shelves! I know it’s going to be one I’m telling all my friends to slip in their beach bags!
The Future of God by Deepak Chopra — I am a huge fan of Deepak Chopra. I do his meditations regularly, and I seriously feel like just the sound of his voice now pulls my mind immediately into a trance-like state! I think of him as more of a spiritual leader, so to read about his feelings about God is extremely interesting to me. I’m only a couple of chapters in, but the book seems to be his counter to Richard Dawkins‘ The God Delusion.
Garden of Lies by Eileen Goudge — Garden of Lies is a book that I positively devoured. Seriously. It was one of those books that you fly through so fast, but, then, around those last twenty pages or so, you read so slowly because you don’t want it to end. It brings up so many questions about love and loyalty, motherhood and the choices we make in a moment that end up defining the rest of our lives.
This was Eileen’s first book, but I love to read an author’s older books before I read their newer ones because I like to see how they evolve as a writer over time. I can’t imagine that, as incredible as her first novel was, how amazing the next ones must be.
I already knew that I would let Eileen write for me any old time. But now I know that I would also let her deliver my baby, try my court case and fight beside me in the trenches. She writes about so many different occupations and situations with such ease and specificity that you are positive she has experienced all of them firsthand.
Plus, she is just a lovely, lovely person. She was gracious enough to endorse Dear Carolina, and I have so enjoyed getting to know her and her writing ever since. The last thing I’ll say about Garden of Lies is that it was one of those books that I was reading and thought, “Wow. I so wish I had written this!”
The Last Child by John Hart — John Hart is a fellow Salisbury, NC native, incredibly talented writer and multi-NYT bestselling author! His latest and greatest is about to come out. I heard him speak and got to chat with him at an author’s symposium recently and realized I’d never read The Last Child. I haven’t started yet, but I can’t wait. His plots grip you in a way that absolutely will not let go, and his writing is just beautiful and lyrical with that certain Southern something, which, to me, is always a plus!
Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin, illustrated by James Dean — We’re pretty big Pete fans at our house, but this one is a go-to, all-around favorite. Any of the Petes with his groovy tunes are amazing. And this one helped with our toddler in a big, big way. Pete’s brand new white shoes get all messed up, and the line goes, “But did Pete cry? Goodness no.” Our son was very picky about his things and this has helped us out of many an on-the-verge-of-a-meltdown jam!
Do you have favorite regional authors? Favorite books from childhood that you’ve shared with your own kids? Books by friends?