Wells Tower’s “Seven Postcards from an Orange County Childhood” falls on page 100 of Amazing Place: What North Carolina Means to Writers, but one of the joys of any anthology is the freedom to open it wherever you like. Edited by Marianne Gingher and featuring authors like locals Bland Simpson, Belle Boggs and Stephanie Elizondo Griest, the collection moves geographically from the mountains through the Piedmont to the sound country, with brilliantly crafted stories that range from quirky to deeply poignant. Simply find your spot and dig in.
Even if you’ve lived here for just a short time, there’s still a good chance that you’ll come across a passage so familiar that for a moment, you’ll believe you could have written it. Take the imagery from Wells’ childhood, which is both local and universal: the penny collection swapped for a Cheerwine, the fires boys set to burn away their boredom, the “old and dangerous” high school girls who will kiss in the kudzu.
A good summer read should do many things – among them, make you laugh out loud, hold your breath, then sigh and nod. Amazing Place will, proving that what North Carolina means to these writers is often what it means to all of us.