A reader recently asked me to post some of my favorite books, so here goes:
Alton Ballance's Ocracokers continues to be one of the best introductions to Ocracoke. Written by a native islander with a degree in journalism, this book includes history, stories, personal anecdotes, and reflections about island life.
Ann Ehringhaus's Ocracoke Portrait is a wonderful compilation of Ann's photographs and quotations from residents and visitors that capture the spirit of the island.
To Ocracoke! by Fred Mallison is a delightfully written, entertaining, and engaging account of visiting Ocracoke in the 1930s. It is currently out of print, but I understand the Ocracoke Preservation Society is negotiating to have it reprinted.
I recommend three books on the United States Life Saving Service: Ship Ashore!, The U.S. Lifesavers of Coastal North Carolina; The U.S. Life Saving Service, Heroes, Rescues and Architecture of the Early Coast Guard; and Fire on the Beach, Recovering the Lost Story of Richard Etheridge and the Pea Island Lifesavers.
For the history of Blackbeard you can't go wrong with Robert E. Lee's Blackbeard the Pirate, a Reappraisal of His Life and Times, and Kevin Duffus's The Last Days of Black Beard the Pirate.
Jack Dudley's coffee table book, Ocracoke Album, has an excellent collection of vintage photographs and accompanying text.
My own book, Digging up Uncle Evans, is a compilation of "History, Ghost Tales, & Stories from Ocracoke Island"
There are, of course, many other excellent books about Ocracoke and the Outer Banks. Some concentrate on history, some on stories, others on wildlife and the environment.
The reader also asked about my personal reading choices. I generally prefer to read non-fiction. Subjects often include science (e.g. The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene, The Cooperative Gene, by Mark Ridley, The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins, How the Mind Works by Stephen Pinker, Hallucinations by Oliver Sachs, A First-Rate Madness by Nassir Ghaemi, and Guns, Germs, and Steel, by Jared Diamond), religion (e.g. Why I Am Not a Muslim by Ibn Warraq and Did Jesus Exist by Bart Ehrman), history (e.g. The Great Hunger, Ireland 1845-1849 by Cecil Woodham-Smith and The Big Oyster by Mark Kurlansky) and some biography (e.g. The Secret Life of Houdini by William Kalush and Larry Sloman).
I have also recently read (or re-read) several classics: Great Expectations, Jane Eyre, The Trial, Metamorphosis, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Treasure Island, Moby Dick, and War and Peace.
Maybe some of our readers would like to share their favorite books. Please leave a comment if you would.
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the unique"Ocracoke Greeting." You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news022113.htm.