There are three pieces of good news about my favorite television program, UNC-TV’s North Carolina Bookwatch:


First, upcoming new programs feature some of North Carolina’s most interesting authors.

UNC-Greensboro’s Michael Parker’s new novel follows a North Carolina man who packs up a truck, runs away from his troubles here, and winds up in Texas. On a used car lot, he meets a woman who wants to buy the same 1984 Buick Electra that he had decided to buy. Inexplicably, they buy it together. Then Parker brings the stories of these two people and the car into one surprising and satisfying saga titled All I Have In This World. (The program previews on UNC-MX Friday March 28th at 9 p.m. and airs on UNC-TV Sunday March 30th at noon and Thursday, April 3rd at 5 p.m.)

Marisha Pessl’s debut novel, Special Topics in Calamity Physics, was one of The New York Times’ 10 best fiction books of the year, a Times best seller, and a critical success. We had to wait eight years for her second book, Night Film. Like her first book, it takes us on a wild and intriguing journey. This time, the reader explores the world of a mysterious filmmaker whose cult followers and detractors collide after the apparent suicide of his talented daughter. (April 4th, 6th, 10th)

UNC-Chapel Hill folklorist and scholar William Ferris has spent a lifetime collecting and celebrating voices of the South. In The Storied South: Voices of Writers and Artists, he shares his favorite memories of 26 Southern writers, scholars, artists, and composers, including Eudora Welty, Alex Haley, Alice Walker, and Pete Seeger. (April 11th, 13th, 17th)

In The Governor’s Lady, former WBTV anchor Bob Inman takes us inside the government of a southern state that could be North Carolina. Cooper Lanier, the new governor, must deal with the possibility that her husband, the former governor and current presidential candidate Pickett Lanier, is deeply involved in corrupt schemes to line the pockets of his supporters. (April 18th, 20th, 24th)

In What I Came to Tell You by Tommy Hays, Grover, a 12-year-old boy in Asheville, has lost his mom in a traffic accident. He struggles and finds solace in creating art in a bamboo forest on a lot near his home. Everything is threatened when the lot goes up for sale. Hayes wrote for a young audience, but his story has great appeal to readers of any age. (April 25th, 27th, May 1st)

Real facts are the basis of North Carolina State University Professor Elaine Neil Orr’s fictional account, A Different Sun: A Novel of Africa. The daughter of a pre-Civil War Southern slaveholder travels to Africa as the wife of a Baptist missionary to bring the gospel to the Yoruba people in what is now Nigeria. Orr, herself the daughter of Baptist missionaries, uses her characters and setting to tell a richly complex tale filled with universal themes and conflicts. (May 2nd, 4th, 8th)

The second good news item: with the end of Festival 2014’s fundraising special programming, Bookwatch gets back its Sunday noon airtime on March 30th, in addition to its regular Thursday at 5 p.m. slot.

Thirdly, some cable customers (including Time Warner) have more opportunities. On Friday evening at 9 p.m., UNC-MX channel provides a preview of the upcoming Sunday and Thursday programs. Also on MX on Friday evenings are programs like The McLaughlin Group, Charlie Rose, Tavis Smiley, another program about books called “Well Read,” plus re-airings of News Hour and Washington Week in Review. Not a bad way to spend Friday evenings.

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