What to Read in 2024

03 Jan 2024

A curated list of great reads from Old Books On Front St.

By Gwenyfar Rohler

My Biscuit Baby by John Bare
The much-awaited second installment of Lassie James' adventures is finally here! Bare is back with Lassie James still at UNC Chapel Hill.  This time he and his new wife, Pearl, are trying to save Battle Park while locating a demo tape from a band that played one show over a decade ago, so that they can hold a funeral. Somehow espionage, pork production, and real estate developers all conspire against them in this bizarre, fast-paced, and lovely homage to friendship, America's oldest land grant university, and good food. You might want to lay in a supply of biscuits before you start this book because Bare will make
you hungry.  

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
Tracy Deonn continues our theme of talented UNC Grads writing awesome page-turning books set in Chapel Hill. Deonn weaves a coming-of-age story, a murder mystery, and the legend of Camelot set in the modern day, with seriously overachieving gifted high school students. Perhaps what sells the book is the protagonist: Bree Mathews is smart, strong, haunted, flawed, and ultimately someone you want to get to know better. 

The Scotswoman by Inglis Fletcher  
Fletcher's Scotswoman traces the migration of the Scottish Highlanders into North Carolina through Flora MacDonald, the uncrowned queen of Scotland.  The climax of the book is the first battle of the Revolution in North Carolina at Widow Moore's Creek Bridge. The battle took place on February 27, 1776—right around this time of year. After you read the book, you can go visit the battlefield in Pender County—and perhaps catch the reenactment on the anniversary.  Fletcher's books are well-researched historical fiction. Think James Michener but centered in North Carolina (and with far more relatable characters). She is buried in the National Cemetery on 20th and Market St.

Upon Her Shoulders: Southeastern Native Women Share Their Stories of Justice, Spirit, and Community by editors Mary Ann Jacobs, Cherry Maynor Beasley, and Ulrike Wiethaus 
In recent years Native American writers and voices have gained greater visibility in the reading world. Yet, it is still difficult to find Native American writers’ work from Southeastern North Carolina, despite the significant Native history and current population in our state. Native voices from the Southwest, the Northwest, and the Plains are significantly easier to access. Here we find the voices of women—our neighbors—recounting their experiences through poetry and prose. It is surprising, moving, uplifting, and startling all at once. Not a book to be read quickly, but rather to sit and reflect with over some time.


Gwenyfar Rohler is the current managing partner of Old Boks on Front St. She's also an essayist, novelist, and arts reporter.

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