Because of rescheduling, both of my face-to-face book clubs met this week. On Tuesday night, we met to discuss The Broker by John Grisham, which I didn't get to read. The discussion was good and everyone seemed to have liked the book -- lots of international intrigue and political corruption. Following the lively discussion, we made plans for our December meeting, which will include bringing our favorite book wrapped nicely for an exchange. Our December meeting is usually very informal. Everyone is choosing to read any type of Christmas book. We also chose our books for the coming year. I don't have my list with me right now, but I'll share that later.
Last night, I met with my other group, and we had a local author/speaker come in to talk to us. It was really nice. Fred T. Morgan is a Stanly County (NC) native who worked his entire career as the Features Editor at the local newspaper (Stanly News & Press). However, his passion is researching the local folklore, ghost tales and other colorful stories from the area residents. He has written seven books. Several of the books are collections of ghost tales that he listened to growing up. He said that his family spent evenings telling stories in front of the fireplace -- all trying to outdo each other. His last two books depart a little from the supernatural tales. Uwharrie Bizarres is a collection of true stories from local residents. Morgan says that this is his favorite of all his books. His newest book is called Come to the Lobby, which is a collection of stories from his days in the news room. It seems that he was the person that was called to the lobby to talk to anyone walking in with information they felt was newsworthy.
I bought several of his books, including a couple copies of his newest for Christmas presents. I think my dad and uncle will enjoy these stories. I'm sure I'll enjoy reading the stories, as well. However, I enjoyed his talk probably more than I'll enjoy the stories themselves. He was fascinating. He's in his 80s and he's full of life and energy. He shared the story of how he came to be a book lover at the age of 8 years old. The librarian at his school physically pulled him into the stacks and opened a book in front of him. She told him to take it home that he would love it. It was full of adventure and fun. He reluctantly took it home and was immediately drawn into the story. I wish you could hear him tell about his experience. He described her as the stereotypical librarian (including the glasses and the bun). He worked in the library for several years as he got older. She would send students to him for reading recommendations. When He got to high school, he began to neglect the school library and the librarian, but he continued reading. She died and was buried before he ever heard about her illness. He says that he regrets to this day that he never thanked her for taking a personal interest in him as a child and putting him on a different path as a lifelong reader and writer. He asked everyone there to always thank the librarian for the help we receive, which made me feel good.
He does his own research, usually in person. He doesn't own a computer and says that he has no desire to learn. He writes in long hand on a legal pad and types out his manuscripts on his old manual typewriter. He's not a famous author and not known outside of this area of North Carolina, but he is a treasure just the same.