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Like every author fortunate enough to have a book chosen by Oprah's book club, Melinda Haynes became an instant success with her first novel, Mother of Pearl. The book enjoyed a healthy stay on The New York Times bestseller list, selling more than half a million copies in hardcover. This month, Haynes releases her second novel, Chalktown. Like Mother of Pearl, Haynes' new book is set in the backwoods South of the 1960s. Chalktown tells the story of a small Mississippi village populated by people who communicate mostly through the chalkboards on their front porches. One reviewer writes that Chalktown "has all the trappings of a southern gothic--death, race, religion and violence among country folk, written in lyrical prose that will captivate readers." Haynes will read at Raleigh's Quail Ridge Books Thursday, May 17, at 7:30 p.m. Call 828-1588 for details. --Clancy Nolan

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