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Literary Beacon: North Carolina Reads 2024

Let the Rowan-Cabarrus Library help you navigate the world of books. Want to read the latest thought-provoking non-fiction book? How about a light-hearted fiction book? Either way, the Library has you covered.

NC REads 2024


To receive your own copies of each title, use the form on the box directly below or click here. You can also read the titles as ebooks by checking them out through Overdrive

Beyond Innocence 

Poster Girls

American Refuge 

The Violin Conspiracy 

Welcome to the Circus of Baseball 

Archives Services Librarian

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Laura Silva

How to Participate - 2024

The Library at Rowan-Cabarrus has received a grant to provide five copies of each of the five chosen books and will participate in this state-wide celebration through readings, events, and contests to win copies of the books. 

How to Participate:

1. Get a copy of the books! 

  • Win a copy of the books from the Rowan-Cabarrus Library. More information is in the box for each title on this page.

  • Check out a copy of the books from the Rowan-Cabarrus Library. We have at least one copy of each of the books either in print or eBook through our Dogwood Digital Library.

  • Check out a book from the local public libraries.

  • Buy a copy from a local book store or from an online retailer. 

2. Read! Check out the reading schedule and discussion questions to guide your reading and to prepare for the events. 

3. Participate in the discussion events hosted by the NC Humanities and the Rowan-Cabarrus Library. 

All the events are free, but you will need to register using the link in the Events section of this page. 

February - Beyond Innocence

Beyond Innocence

February 2024 – Beyond Innocence: The Life Sentence of Darryl Hunt by Phoebe Zerwick. 

Non-Fiction. A young Black man is falsely accused of murdering a white woman in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and is sentenced to life in prison, where he spent 19 years behind bars before his tireless attorneys were able to prove his innocence. Part true crime drama, part chronicle of a remarkable life cut short by systematic prejudice, Zerwick’s narrative powerfully illuminates the sustained catastrophe faced by an innocent person in prison and the difficulty all formerly incarcerated people face when they try to restart their lives.



March - Poster Girls

book cover

March 2024 - Poster Girls by Meredith Ritchie

Historical Fiction. After an unwanted southern migration, an upside-down world in 1943 offers military wife and mother, Maggie Slone, a job at Charlotte’s largest wartime employer––the massive and dangerous Shell Assembly Plant. Meanwhile, military wife and Alabama native, Kora Bell’s steadfast determination enables her to navigate the challenges she faces as a Black woman seeking employment under Jim Crow. A shared love of literature spurs an unlikely friendship between Kora and Maggie, and the two work together to unify the plant’s workforce.


April – American Refuge

American Refuge

April 2024 – American RefugeTrue Stories of the Refugee Experience by Diya Abdo.

Non-Fiction. In this intimate and eye-opening book, Diya Abdo–daughter of refugees, U.S. immigrant, English professor, and activist—shares the stories of seven refugees. Coming from around the world, they’re welcomed by Every Campus A Refuge (ECAR), an organization Diya founded to leverage existing resources at colleges to provide temporary shelter to refugee families. We learn that these refugees from Burma, Burundi, Iraq, Palestine, Syria, and Uganda lived in homes they loved, left against their will, moved to countries without access or rights, and were among the 1% of the “lucky” few to resettle after a long wait, almost certain never to return to the homes they never wanted to leave. We learn that anybody, at any time, can become a refugee.


May - The Violin Conspiracy

Violin ConspiracyMay 2024 – The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb.

Fiction. The riveting story of a young Black musician who discovers that his old family fiddle is actually a priceless Stradivarius: when it’s stolen on the eve of the world’s most prestigious classical music competition, he risks everything to get it back. Growing up Black in rural North Carolina, Ray McMillian’s life is already mapped out. But Ray has a gift and a dream—he’s determined to become a world-class professional violinist, and nothing will stand in his way. Not his mother, who wants him to stop making such a racket; not the fact that he can’t afford a violin suitable to his talents; not even the racism inherent in the world of classical music.

June - Welcome to the Circus of Baseball

book cover

June 2024 – Welcome to the Circus of Baseball by Ryan McGee.

Non-Fiction. A gloriously funny, nostalgic memoir of a popular ESPN reporter who, in the summer of 1994, was a fresh-out-of-college intern for a minor league baseball team. Madness and charm ensue as Ryan McGee spends the season steeped in sweat, fertilizer, nacho cheese sauce, and pure, unadulterated joy in North Carolina with the Asheville Tourists. He has since risen the ESPN ranks to national TV, radio, and Internet host, but his time in Asheville still looms large.


Disclaimer & Grant

Please note that selected books are intended for readers 18 and over and may not be suitable for some audiences.

North Carolina Reads is made possible in part by “A More Perfect Union”, a special initiative grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.