Warm weather and sun in North Carolina brought the completion of the Circle City Books wall mural last week. Onlookers and photographers were a constant presence as the final strokes were applied by artists Bailey Friedman (Number One Daughter) and her friend Emily Kerscher. Then, off into the sunset rode Bailey, jet-bound to New Zealand, for an indefinite adventure of indeterminate duration. But what she and Emily left behind was a sensation that scarcely goes an hour without being remarked upon by another newcomer who is just astonished to see such a sight in Pittsboro.
Though the mural is finished, I’ve conceived of a plan to extend the process (some might say drag it out) for several more months. With an eye toward the good opinion of the community, and because I think I can still squeeze a couple more books onto the wall, I have determined to hold a contest to elect an additional two or three titles to be added this summer. They will be placed horizontally across the top of some of the existing books. My proposal is to allow visitors to the store to nominate up to three titles each, and after a several months of voting, paint the new books on the wall in June. It will be especially interesting to me to see if the choices favor local authors or nationally known authors.
As of now, 48 books are depicted on the wall. Some represent writers of world-wide renown, some local talents who aspire to such stature. But all are books to which, by including them, I intended to pay homage. Several local writers have asked (some indirectly) to have their books added to the wall. I hadn’t calculated the impressive number of writers we have in the area, but once I began the process of building the list, it became clear that the choices I made would likely have repercussions that aren’t entirely positive. No matter how much reading you do, you can’t read every good book, and even though I am keenly interested in local writers, there are some good ones that I still haven’t encountered. And, of course, there are a few not so good. More than anything else, the wall reflects my bookshelf at home. In addition to many works of fiction, I’ve included some poetry, drama, history, science and sociology; there are books from every decade of the 20th century. Nearly every book was either written in North Carolina, or by a North Carolinian. The one obvious exception is “Light in August”, but in my thinking, all Southern writers owe to Faulkner at least some small part of their voice.
Let me present here for the first time in print, the entire roster:
- The Lost Colony – Paul Green
- Only in America – Harry Golden
- Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal – William Leuchtenburg
- Look Homeward, Angel – Thomas Wolfe
- From Slavery to Freedom – John Hope Franklin
- Raney – Clyde Edgerton
- Big Fish – Daniel Wallace
- Beasts of the Southern Wild – Doris Betts
- The Hope of Liberty – John Moses Horton
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou
- Tantalus in Love – Alan Shapiro
- Cold Mountain – Charles Frazier
- The Heart is a Lonely Hunter – Carson McCullers
- Light in August – William Faulkner
- A Gallery of Southerners – Louis Rubin
- With the Lightnings – David Drake
- The Light in the Piazza – Elizabeth Spencer
- Woodrow’s Trumpet – Tim McLaurin
- Gather at the River – Hal Crowther
- Children of Heaven – Roxanne Henderson
- Old Southern Apples – Lee Calhoun
- Lusty Wind for Carolina – Inglis Fletcher
- Silk Hope, N.C. – Laurence Naumoff
- Bootlegger’s Daughter – Margaret Maron
- Literary North Carolina – Richard Walser
- Accidental Birds of North Carolina – Marjorie Hudson
- Kate Vaiden – Reynolds Price
- Biodiesel Power – Lyle Estill
- Proud Shoes – Pauli Murray
- Dagon – Fred Chappell
- Oldest Living Confederate Woman Tells All – Alan Gurganus
- The Conjure Woman – Charles Chesnutt
- They Called Him Stonewall – Burke Davis
- Debby – Max Steele
- The Parchman Hour – Mike Wiley
- The Four Million – O. Henry
- Clash of Angels – Jonathan Worth Daniels
- Blood Done Sign My Name – Timothy Tyson
- The Mind of the South – Wilbur J. Cash
- Oral History – Lee Smith
- Still Valley – Manly Wade Wellman
- Dragonbreath – Ursula Vernon
- Literary Trails of North Carolina – Georgann Eubanks
- The Cheerleader – Jill McCorkle
- Ellen Foster – Kaye Gibbons
- Winter People – John Ehle
- Seeking the Hook – Lou Lipsitz
- Mural Painting – Friedman and Kerscher
I won’t expound on every title here, but a few comments might be useful for readers outside of the South. Paul Green’s outdoor symphonic drama, “The Lost Colony” (1937), has been in almost constant summer performance near Manteo, N. C., for nearly 75 years. “The Hope of Liberty,” by George Moses Horton (he lived about five miles from the store) was the first book published (1829) by a Black writer in the South. “Clash of Angels” was Jonathan Worth Daniels’ first book, written (1930) before he was to spend two generations as the progressive editor of the Raleigh News and Observer. “Still Valley” was the title Rod Serling gave a short story by Manly Wade Wellman that was used as a episode of the Twilight Zone (1961).
5 thoughts on “Beautiful Mural at Circle City Books”
Very very impressive and wonderful. Does Margaret Maron know about her book being honored in this manner. I bet she’d be thrilled.
I haven’t told her, but I think I am going to invite all the living writers on the wall to join us for a dedication in the spring. That would be fun.
Myles–I just thought of a great way to promote the store and mural even more–Roadside America. Someone other than you should send in a tip about the mural and see if they accept it. If so, many people, like myself, may travel just for a photo op and stop in and hopefully purchase a couple of things. We have been known to drive eons of miles just to shoot a muffler man. Just a thought.
You are right! The wheels are already turning… Now if I could only find someone to tip them off at http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/latest I would be on my way to being on everyone’s way!
I love the mural!
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