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Ashe County Reading Challenge Book Club Guide: May 2024 Meeting Notes

May 2024


RCBC May 2024 Meeting Notes

Books Discussed (Click on the titles underlined below to link to our Cardinal website.)


Architectural Survey of Ashe County, North Carolina by Ashe County Historical Society

  • From the Ashe County Historical Society’s website:  This newest book from the Ashe County Historical Society is a must have for anyone interested in local history, culture or architecture. Featuring nearly 400 homes, businesses, churches, and other significant buildings, this book provides a wide overview of the places that have made Ashe County what it is today. Each featured location includes photos, and a historical overview. Includes a complete index of each person mentioned within the entries. Every postal district in Ashe County is included, subdivided into small local communities. This book is an excellent way to learn about all corners of Ashe County.
  • Our reviewer this week, who is very stingy with stars, gave this book five of ‘em!  She suggested we keep it in the car for joy rides around this beautiful county of ours!  A fascinating way to learn history.
  • The book is available for purchase by clicking here.  Alternatively, you can borrow the book from ACPL once it is in the building; we have two copies on order, one for the genealogy room and one for regular circulation.
  • Stars given:  ★★★★★
  • Category entered:  4. A book written by two or more authors  

Breaking Alzheimer’s by Dayan Goodenowe

  • A personal story from a doctor well versed in the biochemical mechanisms of neurological disease.  Dr. Goodenowe is confident that his research into plasmalogen levels is a revolutionary scientific breakthrough in the understanding, prevention, and treatment of Alzheimer’s.  The book discusses his research findings.  He also shares more in depth content on his eponymous website.
  • Stars given:  ★★★★★
  • Category entered:  38. A book written by or about a scientist  

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

  • From the author of The Martian, Andy Weir entertains us yet again with another space adventure starring a high school science teacher tasked with saving the earth from a dying sun.  After his astronaut crewmates are found dead, our teacher must figure out how to outsmart the universe and save humanity, all while struggling with a fuzzy memory. Entertaining and thrilling, this book was a Hugo award finalist and a Goodreads 2021 winner in the science fiction category.
  • Of note, Beatles fans will be sure to like this one!  
  • Stars given:  ★★★★★
  • Category entered:  38. A book written by or about a scientist  

The Year We Disappeared by Cylin Busby and John Busby

  • A true crime memoir written by a father-daughter team placed in protective custody after a local ex-con with connections to the mob tried to kill John Busby for trying to testify against him.  John, a former Falmouth, MA police officer, dared to take on Melvin Reine, a local crime boss with violent tendencies.  John paid the price when Reine tried to kill him with a shotgun, having a driver get close to John’s car on a MA road and level shots at John’s head.  John, though his jaw was literally blown off, lived to survive.  He and his family were one of the first in MA to be placed under police custody.  This book outlines what life was like for them after the shooting.
  • Our reviewer lived near the proceedings in the book and had children that went to school with some of the characters’ children!
  • Stars given:  ★★★★
  • Category entered:  36.  A book set in the 1980s

When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill

  • This interesting read records a fictional history when many suppressed women in the 1950s allowed their angst to fuel their transformation into dragons!  The book tackles difficult social topics such as discrimination and political deception along with personal struggles such as rage and familial responsibility.  In a world set to keep women small, the women in this book grow BIG!  If you liked Lessons in Chemistry, you might give this book a shot!  
  • Of special note, the book is dedicated to Christine Blasey Ford.
  • Our reviewer found this book from BookMarks in Winston-Salem.  She highly recommends the store and states the employees that work there are extremely knowledgeable and can always find her a book to meet any challenge category.
  • Stars given:  ★★★★★
  • Category entered:  31. A book featuring a dragon

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

  • Nature essays written by a Native American botanist, the full title speaks to what lies within the pages:  Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants.  The book ties together indigenous stories with the world of botany, teaching us about Native American rituals and spiritually, while simultaneously cultivating a reverent respect for the natural world.  Reciprocity with nature is a theme.  At times, this book can be a tough listen, but the stories definitely need to be told.
  • Our reviewer advises that this book is better as an audio listen; she tried both reading and listening and felt the writing was enhanced by listening to it read aloud.
  • Stars given:  ★★★★★
  • Category entered: 29. A book with an American Indian character  

When These Mountains Burn by David Joy

  • The author of this book is a recent OTSP festival presenter.  Mr. Joy resides in Jackson County, NC and has a unique insight into Appalachian society.   The book is a dark crime novel set near Cherokee.  It follows three characters’ journeys into the seedy world of the opioid epidemic in the NC mountains.  According to our reviewer, Mr. Joy writes with a sense of place that very much speaks to her, and she highly recommends.  The novel won the 2020 Dashiell Hammett Award for Literary Excellence in Crime Writing.
  • Mr. Joy was featured on a recent Southern Storytellers PBS episode which you can watch on YouTube by clicking here.
  • Stars given:  ★★★★★
  • Category entered:  29. A book with an American Indian character