Continuing with our Beach Book Grab Bag series, this
week we are all about creative nonfiction based on the North Carolina coast. One from Hatteras, one covering all the Outer Banks, and three from the sound side, after the jump.
- Hatteras Blues: A Story from the Edge of America, by Tom Carlson – Carlson tells the story of the Foster family of Hatteras Village, who gave birth to the multi-million dollar charter fishing industry on the Outer Banks and, within two generations, are facing the demise of the family business to the forces of the industry it created. Within the gripping story of the rise and decline of one family’s livelihood, Carlson relates the history and transformation of Hatteras Village through development and the growth of the tourist trade; the high-adrenaline experience of blue-water sport fishing and the industry that surrounds it; and the author’s personal struggle to come to terms with the illness and death of his own wife to multiple sclerosis. North Carolina Literary Review puts this book “[in the] company of Thoreau’s Cape Cod, Beston’s The Outermost House, and Maclean’s A River Runs Through It.”
- The Outer Banks, by Anthony Bailey – A British travel writer unlocks the magic of North Carolina’s Outer Banks with his keen observations of their natural splendor and a genuine appreciation of the folks who live there. Travel along with Bailey as he encounters lighthouses, mosquitoes, hurricanes, and more. Publishers Weekly called it “an irresistible combination of personal experience, natural and local history, and people. It is absolutely required reading for visitors to the Banks.”
- The Great Dismal: A Carolinian’s Swamp Memoir, by Bland Simpson – If you’re looking for a personal, engaging read, you can’t go wrong with Simpson. This book is a lyrical tribute to the Great Dismal Swamp, the mysterious wilderness straddling the North Carolina-Virginia line. The New Yorker called it “a jewel of natural and human history.” Christian Science Monitor says, “Simpson reveals to us by the sheer power of his prose the importance of preserving places like the Swamp, and of the joy of visiting them.”
- Into the Sound Country: A Carolinian’s Coastal Plain, by Bland Simpson, with photography by Ann Cary Simpson – Winner of awards from the NC Wildlife Federation as well as the NC Folklife Society, Into the Sound Country follows Bland and Ann Simpson as they revisit their roots in eastern Carolina. Bland tours his old waterfront haunts in Elizabeth City, explores scuppernong vineyards from Hertford to Southport, tramps through Pasquotank swamps and Croatan pine savannas, and visits Roanoke River oyster bars and Core Banks fishing shanties. Ann’s original photographs capture both the broad vistas of the sounds and rivers and the quieter corners of mossy creeks and country churchyards. Her selection of archival illustrations ranges from the informative to the humorous, from a turpentine scraper at work in the 1850s to a pair of little girls playing with a horseshoe crab on a Beaufort porch at the turn of the century.
- The Inner Islands: A Carolinian’s Sound Country Chronicle, by Bland Simpson, with photography by Ann Cary Simpson – “Armchair traveling with Bland and Ann Cary Simpson is always a treat,” says Creative Loafing. This most recent Simpson book explores the geography and biodiversity of the islands that lie in eastern North Carolina’s sounds, rivers, and swamps. Each of the fifteen chapters in the book covers a single island or group of islands, many of which, were it not for the buffering Outer Banks, would be lost to the ebbs and flows of the Atlantic. Instead they are home to unique plant and animal species and well-established hardwood forests.
Next Thursday I’ll be wrapping up our Beach Bag Grab Bag series with a handful of Ocracoke and Roanoke books. Ocracoke and Roanoke: two great names that go great together!