North Carolina Reads
North Carolina Reads is North Carolina Humanities’ statewide book club! North Carolina Reads annually features five books that explore issues of racial, social, and gender equality and the history and culture of North Carolina. All five books pose critical questions about how North Carolinians view their role in helping to form a more just and inclusive society.
Starting in February 2023, NC Humanities will host virtual monthly book club events where participants will hear from guest speakers, including book authors and topic experts. Libraries, community groups, and individuals across North Carolina are encouraged to read along with NC Humanities and host community programs of their own to accompany NC Humanities’ virtual events. Event registration information is below.
At the heart of North Carolina Reads is NC Humanities’ desire to connect communities through shared reading experiences. Reading is important because it helps develop critical-thinking skills; strengthens minds, vocabulary, and mental health; and creates opportunities to empathize with others’ stories and experiences.
North Carolina Reads Book List and Book Events by Month:
February 2023 – Carolina Built by Kianna Alexander
Historical Fiction. A story based on Josephine N. Leary, a real-life American entrepreneur who was emancipated in 1865. Leary is determined to build a life of her own and a future for her family. When she moves to Edenton, North Carolina, from the plantation where she was born, she is free, newly married, and ready to follow her dreams.
Register for the Free Book Club Discussion Event: On February 22 at 6:30 PM, online, join NC Humanities for an interactive panel discussion examining themes from the North Carolina Reads selection Carolina Built. This panel will explore the story based on the life and legacy of Josephine N. Leary, an African-American entrepreneur and business woman who lived in North Carolina during the Reconstruction Era. This event features author Kianna Alexander and Dr. Hilary Green in a conversation moderated by NC Humanities Board Trustee Liliana Wendorff.
March 2023 – Game Changers: Dean Smith, Charlie Scott, and the Era that Transformed a Southern College Town by Art Chansky
Non-Fiction. Drawn together by college basketball in a time of momentous change, Dean Smith and Charlie Scott helped transform a university, a community, and the racial landscape of sports in the South.
Register for the Free Book Club Discussion Event: On March 27 at 6:30 PM, online, join NC Humanities for an interactive panel discussion examining themes from the North Carolina Reads selection Game Changers. This panel will explore how Dean Smith and Charlie Scott transformed a university, a community, and the racial landscape of the sports in the South. This event features author Art Chansky and Dr. Matt Andrews in a conversation moderated by NC Humanities Board Trustee Brian Kahn.
April 2023 – Money Rock: A Family’s Story of Cocaine, Race, and Ambition in the New South by Pam Kelley
Non-Fiction. The story of Belton Lamont Platt, nicknamed Money Rock, and of a striving African American family, swept up and transformed by the 1980s cocaine epidemic. This gripping tale, populated with characters both big-hearted and flawed, shows how social forces and public policies—racism, segregation, the War on Drugs, mass incarceration—help shape individual destinies.
Book Club Discussion Event Information Coming Soon!
May 2023 – Under a Gilded Moon by Joy Jordan-Lake
Historical Fiction. Kerry MacGregor’s future is derailed when, after two years in college in New York City, family obligations call her home to the beautiful Appalachians. As Kerry finds herself caught in a war between wealth and poverty, innocence and corruption, she must navigate not only her own pride and desperation to survive but also the temptations of fortune and the men who control it.
Register for the Free Book Club Discussion Event: On May 23 at 6:30 PM, online, join NC Humanities for an interactive panel discussion examining themes from the North Carolina Reads selection Under a Gilded Moon. This panel will explore themes of wealth, poverty, corruption, and family obligations during the Gilded Age. This event features author Joy Jordan-Lake and Dr. Jennifer Le Zotte in a conversation moderated by NC Humanities Board Trustee Mike Wakeford.
June 2023 – Step It Up and Go by David Menconi
Non-Fiction. This book is a love letter to the artists, scenes, and sounds defining North Carolina’s extraordinary contributions to American popular music. Menconi shows how working-class roots and rebellion tie North Carolina’s Piedmont blues, jazz, and bluegrass to beach music, rock, hip-hop, and more.
Register for the Free Book Club Discussion Event: On June 27 at 6:30 PM, online, join NC Humanities for an interactive panel discussion examining themes from the North Carolina Reads selection Step It Up and Go. This panel will explore how working-class roots and rebellion tie blues, jazz, and bluegrass to beach music, hip-hop, and a celebration of North Carolina popular music. This event features author David Menconi and founder of Ramseur independent label and North Carolina Music Hall of Fame Trustee Dolphus Ramseur in a conversation moderated by NC Humanities’ Board Trustee Elizabeth Carlson.
Access our free North Carolina Reads resources:
Here is how you can participate in North Carolina Reads in 2023:
- Download the How to Participate presentation slides.
- Get the books you want to read. NC Humanities encourages people to check with their local library or local bookstore for assistance in finding book copies.
- Those who need accessible books may request books for free courtesy of the State Library of North Carolina Accessible Books & Library Services. (Carolina Built in large print, LT39629 ; Under the Gilded Moon in audio DB102739 ). Please read the eligibility requirements to see if you qualify for service.
- In October 2022, NC Humanities took requests for free book boxes from individuals and groups that included book copies other unique swag. The request window was Oct. 14- 31, 2022. Please note you do not need to have received a book box to participate in North Carolina Reads. Book boxes are expected to ship in January 2023.
- Read at your own pace! Download our Reading Schedule and Discussion Questions Guide for help.
- Join thousands of other North Carolinians at one of the five virtual book club events hosted by NC Humanities. Events will be recorded and be available for re-watch on NC Humanities YouTube channel. See above to register!
- Host your own North Carolina Reads program! Download our Program Guide for help planning your own community book discussion with friends or your library group!
- Share your North Carolina Reads story with us! Share photos and your comments about the books by tagging us on social media at @NCHumanities or send us an email!
Please note, you do not have to request a book box or read the books to participate in NC Humanities’ North Carolina Reads virtual book club events. Please note that selected North Carolina Reads books are intended for readers 18 and over and may not be suitable for some audiences.
Please direct all North Carolina Reads-related questions to Melissa Giblin, Director of the North Carolina Center for the Book, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (704) 687-1526.
North Carolina Reads 2022 Resources:
This is a program of the North Carolina Center for the Book and is provided by NC Humanities.