Book Report: September roundup

Autumn is almost here (four more days to be exact)—the perfect time to break out pithy novels, lengthy biographies and meandering memoirs. Something about cooler days and longer evenings makes reading that much more attractive. Looking for a good book? The next several weeks bring a wealth of literary events sure to inspire readers (and writers, too).

•  With Halloween in the fairly near future, it seems a good time to talk about Conton, N.C.-based author Eric S. Brown. Brown was selected as a featured zombie expert in Jonathan Maberry’s Zombie CSU.  That book includes an interview with Brown on writing zombie novels—his own 10th book on the goulish subject is slated for release next year (cover pictured).

Patti Digh, author of the recently-released Life is a Verb: 37 Days to Wake Up, Be Mindful, and Live Intentionally visits Malaprop’s on Saturday, Sept. 20. Her 7 p.m. signing is free. The book was inspired by the death of her stepfather just 37 days after being diagnosed with cancer, but this is no sad read. It’s 37 witty, literary and inspiring life stories on how to live without regret. Info: 254-6734.

• Zen teacher and master gardener Wendy Johnson reads from her book Gardening at the Dragon’s Gate, at Work in the Wild and Cultivated World, on Wednesday, Sept. 24 at Malaprop’s. The 7 p.m. event is free. Info: 254-6734.

• Author Robert Morgan takes part in Together We Read’s (Western North Carolina’s 21-county reading, discussion, and heritage program) season-long appreciation of his biography, Boone.  Together We Read kicks off at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 28 in Tryon, N.C.‘s Rogers Park.  Actor Mike Osteen introduces Morgan and performs a portrayal from Boone. Other events include a discussion of Boone in the Big Ivy Community Center (540 Dillingham Rd., Barnardsville, 626-3438) at 10 a.m. on Saturday,  Sept. 27 and “Daniel Boone: the Wilderness Man,” an illustrated program about Boone sites and lore, presented by Dr. Phyllis Lang at West Asheville Library (942 Haywood Rd., West Asheville, 250-4650) at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 30.

• A-B Tech hosts former Smithsonian National Zoo director Dr. Lucy Spelman  for a reading and booksigning on Monday, Sept. 29. The 11 a.m. event is held in Ferguson Auditorium on the Asheville campus. Spelman is the author of The Rhino with Glue-on Shoes: And Other Surprising True Stories of Zoo Vets and Their Patients. The program is free. Info: 254-1921, ext. 307.

Coming soon:
• The West Asheville Library (942 Haywood Rd., 250-4650) holds a used book sale on Thursday, Oct. 2 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Childrens’ and adults’ books are available; proceeds benefit the West Asheville Library.

• Award-winning author Scott Nicholson hosts a writing retreat to help authors kick off both their novels and writing careers. The New River Writing Retreat is a three-day workshop held in Todd, N.C. from Friday, Oct. 24 through Sunday, Oct. 26. Registration is $295 for workshops, meals, lodging, and Nicholson’s personal critique of up to 30 pages. ($100 covers workshops only and a Saturday lunch.) Info: 264-3612 or (336) 877-2985 evenings or email

—Alli Marshall, A&E reporter

About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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