Jean Boone Benfield, of Asheville, will read from her new book, Mountain Born: A Recollection of Life and Language in Western North Carolina, at 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 20, at City Lights Bookstore in Sylva.
The book recalls her growing-up years in Asheville in the 1940s. It is not so much a memoir or collection of family stories as it is a compendium of the features that made up everyday life for just about everybody in that time and place. Chapters cover foodways and housework, traditions and superstitions, and gardening and recipes. The final section of the book is a fascinating collection of old words and phrases, each defined and with an example of use.
Benfield will read selections from the book and take questions and comments from the audience.
Mary Judith Messer will read from her new memoir, entitled Moonshiner's Daughter: Growing Up Poor in the Smokies … How Did We Survive, at 7 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 21, at City Lights. The book tells Messer's story of growing up in Haywood County in extreme circumstances of poverty, family discord, and outright abuse. It's a compelling story, and Messer has changed some of the names to protect the identities of the innocent people involved.