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RECENT RECOMMENDATIONS FROM SOUTHERN INDIES...

Understanding that her more delicate husband would never survive the Civil War, Constance Thompson takes up the moniker Ash, disquises herself as a man and joins the Union army in his stead.

Inspired by true stories of women who wore blue and gray, readers should not dismiss Neverhome as one novel among many.

Neverhome by Laird Hunt (Little, Brown and Company) Recommended by Lyn at Square Books Oxford MS

Salter writes sex sans sentimentality and his breakthrough novel will make you blush and book a flight to France. Following an affair between a Yale dropout and young French woman, Sport avoids the sappy story trap through sparse, seductive prose.

Buy this book and read it when no one is watching. Literature has rarely been this lusty.

A Sport and a Pastime by James Salter (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) Recommended by Everett at Square Books Oxford MS

Distraught over her father's death, Macdonald decides to train a goshawk. Mabel enters her life.

This stunning book is resonating with readers everywhere. Macdonald is willing to feel, to the depths of her soul, and to share those feelings with the world. And, with her command of language, she has the ability to enable us to understand her hawk's, and her own, thoughts, emotions, moods and instincts and their extraordinary bond.

This book is about so much: grief, identity, relationships with humans and other species, and tolerance of, and respect for, all living beings - including oneself.

H Is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald (Grove Press) Recommended by Samantha at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

It's been in the news for years, but Jay Smith & Mary Willingham's Cheated lays out the UNC academic/sports deception and prime players in all its breathtaking scope.

Follow the timeline and see how the dots are connected. While I'd read about the scandal, Cheated was full of revelations. Even more than for UNC, the authors make clear how this fits into a history of multi-institutional disgrace.

What happens next is urgent for the landscape of collegiate money-making sports and its players.

Cheated: The UNC Scandal, the Education of Athletes, and the Future of Big-Time College Sports by By Jay M. Smith, Mary Willingham (Potomac Books) Recommended by Rosemary at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

A strange, beautiful book about science, art, identity, war, and storytelling itself, I am Radar stretches its tendrils across continents and generations, and into some pretty ambitious narrative territory.

When Radar is born with black skin to his pale white parents, a chain of events begins that entangles the particles of the universe from New Jersey to Norway, from Cambodia to the Congo. What happens when a radical Norwegian puppet collective meets the Colonel Kurtz of library books? Mr. Larsen's wild ride of a novel is mind expanding indeed.

I Am Radar By Reif Larsen (Penguin Press) Recommended by Tony at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

Fans of magical realism and international literature will love Cristina Garcia's Dreaming In Cuban.

Following the lives of three generations of women, her story shows how culture, family, and spirituality shape who we are and the place we choose to call home. Garcia pulls from Santeria, using the religion's relationship with color to create vivid imagery that mirrors the characters' lives. This book is truly entertaining and readers of all ages are sure to find a heroine.

Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia (Ballantine Books) Recommended by Emily Catherine at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

Epitaph: A Novel of the OK Corral by Mary Doria Russell

For two weeks while reading Epitaph, I lived in 1880s Arizona and came to know the people who lived there.

Russell is a master at putting her meticulous research into creating a vivid picture of time and place, and brilliantly bringing into life her characters. This book continues with the story started in Doc, focusing here on Wyatt Earp. There is so much more to this man than we have seen in movies. If you are a fan of westerns you will love this book and if you are a fan of books that completely absorb, Epitaph will more than reward.

Epitaph: A Novel of the O.K. Corral by Mary Doria Russell (Ecco Press) Recommended by Rene at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC