The summer is fast coming to an end. And I bet there is a stack of books by your bed or somewhere in your house, ones that you meant to read this summer. But there were just too many other things you had to do.

Watch out!

Here comes another batch of new North Carolina books, some of which belong at the top of your book pile.

First a mystery from one of North Carolina’s most admired writers, Raleigh’s Sarah Shaber, who previously edited UNC Press’s  “Tar Heel Dead,” a collection of mystery or detective stories by some of our best writers.

Shaber’s new book, “Louise’s Gamble” continues the story begun in an earlier book, “Louise’s War.” Both books feature Louise Pearlie, a Wilmington widow who moves to Washington during World War II and finds a job in the Office of Strategic Services, the CIA of the times.

It is 1942. German spies are operating at the New York ports. Sicilian dockworkers, maybe connected to the Mafia want to help, want to help the USA. Louise becomes the contact person and more.

More than a complicated, satisfying mystery, “Louise’s Gamble” takes its readers on delightful trip back to the Washington of 70 years ago, a time that some of us can almost remember. 

(Shaber will be the guest on UNC-TV’s North Carolina Bookwatch on Friday, August 24, at 9:30 pm and Sunday, August 26, at 5 p.m.)
We may have our differences about immigration policy but nobody wants to send Latino food back home.  Something else is happening as peoples from the various countries of South and Central America introduce us to their delicious dishes. We are learning from them and they are learning from us. The result is a blending of the traditions and a whole new and changing regional menu, which is described in charming detail by Sandra Gutierrez, author of “The New Southern-Latino Table: Recipes That Bring Together the Bold and Beloved Flavors of Latin America and the American South.” (August 31, September 2)

Say Bob Garner’s name and then see if you can say “barbecue” without your mouth all watering and wanting to say, “This is to die for.” His new book, “Bob Garner’s Book of Barbecue: North Carolina’s Favorite Food” is a great compilation of our state’s barbecue traditions, legends, and real history. It includes a list with background information about more than a hundred of the state’s best barbecue restaurants. Every North Carolinian who is a self-identified barbecue expert should buy a copy of this book. If they do, it will sell millions of copies. (Sept. 7- only)

In her new novel aimed especially at young people and parents, “Out of My Mind,” award-winning author Sharon Draper introduces us to Melody, an 11-year-old girl who cannot speak. She is so afflicted with Cerebral Palsy that she can hardly move. Even though she is the smartest person in her school, she is treated as though she has no intellectual potential. Then a series of events and important help from others give Melody the opportunity to show her stuff and teach us lessons about the dangers of underrating the potential of those with physical challenges. (Sept. 14- only)

Wilmington author Nancy Collins is widely known as an award-winning author of vampire and fantasy books.  Her new book goes in a different direction. “Left Hand Magic,” takes the action to a futuristic or mythical New York City where near-human species called Kymera try to find ways to overcome the discrimination from their human neighbors. The Kymera have six fingers on each hand and they have magical powers that give them help in protecting their community from human interlopers. (Sept. 21, 23)