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Letters to the Editor

Watch these books
Thank you for your accurate reports about my explanation of my decision not to recommend David Potorti and his book for UNC-TV's North Carolina Bookwatch ("Front Porch," Aug. 25 was the latest).

Each year, nearly a thousand books are written by North Carolina authors or about North Carolina topics. The Independent gave good coverage to one of the books that was not selected for the 20 Bookwatch programs this season.

Maybe Independent readers would also like to know something about local authors who are a part of this year's season.

For instance:

  • Duke professor Orrin Pilkey's How to Read a North Carolina Beach and his provocative ideas about how governmental policies have a detrimental effect on the coastal shoreline (Sept. 19)
  • His colleague Orin Starn's Ishi's Brain, which poignantly describes the consequences of our treatment of Native Americans, their relics and their remains (Sept. 26)
  • On a lighter side, an amazing story as well as great cooking advice from the Magnolia Grill's Karen Barker, Sweet Stuff (Oct. 3)
  • UNC's John Shelton Reed's Minding the South and what it means to be a Southerner (Oct. 24)
  • Steven Sherrill's Visits from the Drowned Girl and his acclaimed first novel, The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break (Oct. 31)
  • UNC's religion professor Carl Ernst's award-winning Following Muhammad, a carefully articulated criticism of common views of Islam (Nov. 7)

    North Carolina Bookwatch (Sundays at 5 p.m. on UNC-TV) is the only weekly statewide broadcast about North Carolina books.

    I wish there were more room for information about local books and authors on UNC-TV, in the Independent, and in other media outlets. In the meantime, I hope the Independent will continue to spread the word about Bookwatch--especially news about the local authors who appear on the program.

    These are my personal views and not necessarily those of UNC-TV.
    D.G. Martin
    Host of North Carolina Bookwatch
    Chapel Hill

    Good eating
    Why is the woman on the 8/25 cover eating a $100 bill? Surely in a place with as many restaurants as the Triangle there are tastier options for a person with some cash.
    Michael Sandler

    Not so distant shores
    Ah Derek... May I call you Derek? Let me pass along an allegory of my own. Actually one passed on from my late father. He once told me that prejudice is like getting a very large splinter in your hand. You think you've gotten it all out, but every once in a while another sliver works its way to the surface. And if you're ever going to get all of it, it will only be with patience and vigilance.

    You're quite correct in thinking that 30 years of dumping restrictions is not going to make the lake water safe to drink ("In the Valley," Aug. 25). Especially when there are still those who will dump there anyway. But all those dead bodies can't be helping either. The dumping is taking place on both shores my friend. And until that stops, the lake will never be safe.

    The calls we've heard for "black unity" should in fact simply be calls for "unity." The sweeping, generalized vilification of any group of people as a whole--no matter who is on what end of it--only serves to perpetuate the de facto segregation of black and white.

    The unification of all people can only come about from the bottom up. Four centuries of pollution will only be cleaned up incrementally. There is no quick fix. But today I can (and do) go to "Jazz at The Know" and Bruce Bridges will (and does) make me welcome at his lunch counter. By itself that's not even a blip on the radar. Taken together with other such interactions it can build into something resembling harmony. But no unilateral effort will ever make it happen.

    Harboring four centuries worth of bitterness and resentment and anger is akin to drinking the waters of Deadlake, then expecting the Others to die.
    James Bengel

    talk back.
    Got something to say about an Independent article? Send no more than 300 words to; to P.O. Box 2690, Durham 27715; or fax 286-4274. Include your name, phone number and mailing address for verification; we cannot publish a letter without confirmation from the writer. We reserve the right to edit letters for length, style and clarity.

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