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Coming up on ‘Bookwatch’

Matthew Griffin talks about “Hide” on “North Carolina Bookwatch” today at noon and Thursday, Dec. 28, at 5 p.m.

Earlier this year, Greensboro native Griffin’s debut novel won the Crook’s Corner Book Prize for the best debut novel set in the American South. It is the heartbreaking story of two older gay men who have long lived together on the outskirts of a small North Carolina town.

Frank is a World War II veteran, tough talking and covered with tattoos. Wendell is a taxidermist. They have paid a heavy price for being gay, but the story’s power comes from the tortured and tender way in which Wendell and Frank adapt to the aging Frank’s rapidly deteriorating physical and mental condition.

As the novel closes, readers may be moved not so much by the problems Frank and Wendell had as gay people, but by the challenge of finding meaning at the end of life.

Wendell, who always fixed the meals, has trouble adjusting to cooking for just himself when the bedridden Frank eats only nutrient shakes.  He has too much time to fill and finds “the biggest danger of all is an empty space in the day. It’s easy, then, for the whole thing to break through and rush in and join the emptiness inside.”

“You just go on living,” Wendell says. “You don’t have to have a reason.”

Sara Foster talks about “Foster’s Market Favorites: 25th Anniversary” on “Bookwatch” Sunday, Dece. 31, at noon and Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018 at 5 p.m.

For 25 years, owner Sara Foster has made Foster’s Market in Durham a favorite for food and fellowship. Her new book shares recipes and tells how her market came to be and came to thrive.

Foster’s is the sort of place I wanted for my new book, “North Carolina’s Roadside Eateries: A Traveler’s Guide to Local Restaurants, Diners, and Barbecue Joints.” If I ever get to write a new edition, Foster’s will be in it.

Sara Foster is also a great teacher and communicator, so her new book, like the ones she has written earlier, bring together her traditions of simple and seasonally inspired cooking, including recipes for pimiento cheese puffs, pecan sweet potato sticky buns, chicken and black-eyed pea soup, pickle-brined fried chicken with sriracha honey, chile-braised pork shoulder with taco fixings, heirloom and shell bean salad with sherry vinaigrette, dark chocolate buttermilk bread pudding with bourbon hard sauce and brown sugar apple crisp with crumb topping.

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