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Find your happy place and pick up a good book.

I’ll set the scene: there’s a chill in the air outside, the fire is crackling in the fireplace, and you’re curled up in a comfy chair with a warm blanket. The only thing missing? A good book. Whatever genre you’re interested in – mystery, romance, historical fiction – you’ll want a page-turner of a book. So, pour another cup of something warm and dive into this list of authors from the Western North Carolina region to read while on vacation at High Rock Rentals.

First, the historical authors.

Thomas Wolfe was born and raised in Asheville, and he attended UNC Chapel Hill. You can even find this North Carolina native’s memorial off Market Street in the downtown area. Wolfe wrote several plays and four lengthy novels in total, but he is best known for penning Look Homeward, Angel. This novel details his experiences growing up in Asheville, which he renames “Altamont.” It’s rumored that his not-so-subtle nods towards family and friends in this novel created such conflict that he moved away from the town for eight years to let tensions subside.

F. Scott Fitzgerald spent some of his 1930s summers at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville. He is best known for writing The Great Gatsby, inspired by his time struggling to keep up with the New York elite. However, he is also the author of This Side of Paradise, The Beautiful and Damned, Tender is the Night, and The Last Tycoon, finished and published after his death.

Secondly, some contemporary Asheville authors.

Sarah Addison Allen is a New York Times bestselling author born and raised in Asheville. Her list of novels includes: Garden Spells, The Sugar Queen, The Girl Who Chased the Moon, The Peach Keeper, Lost Lake, and First Frost. She incorporates elements of magical realism into her books as well as nods to her upbringing in Asheville.

Sara Gruen is a Canadian transplant who now resides in Asheville with her husband and kids. You may have read her hit novel Water for Elephants, which was adapted as a major motion picture in 2011. She is also the author of Riding Lessons, Flying Changes, Ape House, and At the Water’s Edge.

John Ehle was native to Asheville and known as the “father of Appalachian literature.” Though he authored more than 17 books, he is best known for his seven Appalachian novels. These novels were inspired by the stories passed down in his family’s seven generation history in North Carolina. Ehle also served in World War II, taught students at UNC Chapel Hill, and was on the governor’s staff. A North Carolinian through and through, Ehle was elected to the state’s Literary Hall of Fame for his work.

And finally, a book that truly hits close to home.

William R. Forstchen is a local professor and New York Times bestselling author. His novel One Second After is set in Black Mountain and dives into complex terrorism devices called electro-magnetic pulses. He followed this book with One Year After, which is also set in the Black Mountain region. You may even be able to spot some of the locations Forstchen describes in these thrilling novels. Check out a preview here:

If none of these authors are scratching your reading itch, stop by one of downtown Asheville’s bookstores for more inspiration. Some of the best bookstores we recommend include Sassafrass in Black Mountain, Malaprop’s, Firestorm Books, Battery Park Book Exchange, and Downtown Books & News in Asheville. You’ll be sure to find a page-turner in no time!


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