Whether you’re looking to curl up with a good book or still need to round out your gift list, there’s no better source for book recommendations than from the people who sell them all year long. The booksellers from Park Road Books, Charlotte’s independent book store, share their 2017 favorites with us here.
The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash. This historically accurate account of the Loray Mill Strike in 1929 Gastonia features an indomitable heroine who takes on mill owners, abusive bosses, and corrupt police officers while trying to provide for her family. A beautifully written book that will open the most hardened heart.
The Driver by Hart Hanson. A thriller set in modern LA where a veteran with PTSD named Skellig opens a limousine service and hires other vets suffering their own wounds from battle. A millionaire skateboarder, Bismark Avilla, recruits Skellig to drive him around, a task made more difficult by the people trying to kill Avilla. Great pacing in this first novel from the creator of the TV series “Bones.”
Goat Castle: A True Story of Murder, Race, and the Gothic South by Karen L. Cox. UNCC history professor Karen Cox deftly describes one of the most famous murders of 1929 and its cover-up that takes place in Natchez, Mississippi.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. This National Book Award finalist inspired by Black Lives Matter is a must-read for all. With nuanced discussions on race and a relevant storyline with relatable characters for a YA audience, Angie Thomas’ debut has earned its spot on the #1 NYT Bestseller’s list.
Her Body & Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado. A dark, bloody, vicious short story collection perfect for women who are completely fed up. This collection features a multitude of queer women characters, an overtly feminist message, and stories that are both brand new and familiar, like a dream you cannot quite recall.
The Mirror Thief by Martin Seay. A kaleidoscopic mix of history, religion, mysticism, and good old-fashioned page-turning suspense that creatively uses historical fiction to challenge readers to see the underlying connections that shape their world. Manages the intricate feat of telling three stories that are all equally compelling in their own unique ways. Should be a great read for anybody who enjoyed David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas.
Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero. One of the most unabashedly fun reading experiences I’ve had in a long time. A great nostalgic love letter to the stories of yesteryear that simultaneously pays tribute to modern America’s pop cultural landscape while building a wholly original tale of madness, adventure, love, and the costs of growing up. Alternately hilarious, horrifying and heartwarming.
The Jersey Brothers: A Missing Naval Officer in the Pacific and His Family’s Quest to Bring Him Home by Sally Mott Freeman. Remarkable story of a family of three brothers during WWII. Their love, courage, and the will to survive makes it a fantastic read.
Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II by Liza Mundy. Skillful women outwitting the Japanese by code breaking during WWII. Well researched and beautifully written.
Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan. Fascinating historical fiction that recalls the best noir thrillers, Egan does not disappoint with her account of a young girl, her father, and a gangster in Manhattan between the Depression and WWII.
Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann. After oil was discovered on their land, the Osage Indians in the 1920’s were some of the richest people in America. One by one they were murdered and after the death toll reached 24, local officials turned to the newly formed FBI for help. A riveting work of non-fiction that keeps you turning pages long after you should be asleep!
Righteous (hardcover) and IQ (paperback) by Joe Ide. Joe Ide is my new idol. He writes about a young African-American growing up in one of South LA’s toughest neighborhoods who solves crimes the police won’t touch. Sherlock Holmes would be proud!
Located in the Park Road Shopping Center, Park Road Books has been independently owned and operated for 40 years, and today is the only independent bookstore in Charlotte carrying only new books. Winner of Creative Loafing’s Best of the Best awards on a yearly basis, Park Road Books hosts author events and local bookclubs.