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Two very different N.C. authors to be on ‘Bookwatch’

Vivian Howard talks about “Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South” on “North Carolina Bookwatch” today at noon and Thursday, Jan. 12 at 5 p.m.

D.G. Martin is the host of the program.

Public television’s popular program, “A Chef’s Life,” has made North Carolinian Howard a national figure. Now, with her photograph on the lovely cover of her book, she has made The New York Times bestseller list.

Howard organized her book in a new way. Not by collections of similar dishes like salads, appetizers, main dishes and desserts, but by foods, the raw ingredients.

She gives chapters to sweet potatoes, corn, eggs, watermelon, oysters, pecans, beans and peas, blueberries, sweet corn, cucumbers, tomatoes, rice, summer squash, sausage, peanuts, okra, collards, peaches, rutabagas, apples, beets, muscadine grapes and others that are seasonally available in Deep Run, her home community, which is near Kinston, site of Howard’s Chef and the Farmer restaurant.

Steven Sherrill talks about “The Minotaur Takes His Own Sweet Time” on “North Carolina Bookwatch” Sunday, Jan. 15, at noon and Thursday, Jan. 19 at 5 p.m.

In his 2000 novel, “The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break,” North Carolina native Sherrill brought the fictional Greek legendary half-bull, half-man called the Minotaur to North Carolina as a line cook in a restaurant called Grub’s Rib just off the interstate near Charlotte.

The Minotaur lived in a mobile home in a rundown trailer park. His co-workers called him M and got used to his bullhorns, funny looking face, and tortured way of speaking. They had their own set of challenges, not unlike those described in J.D. Vance’s recent best-selling “Hillbilly Elegy.”

In Sherrill’s sequel, “The Minotaur Takes His Own Sweet Time,” M is now a professional Civil War re-enactor in a tourist-centered “historic village in Pennsylvania. Every day M puts on his Confederate uniform and goes out on the field to do his job. He dies. Over and over again.”

Just as his co-workers adapt to M and accept him as a fellow-worker, readers set aside disbelief, identify with the creature, and observe the world of a struggling working class through his eyes.

Still, M is destined always to be something of an outsider, a condition that painfully troubles and enriches his story and his relationships with the blue-collar characters that surround him.

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