Our Staff’s Top Picks for Summer Reads

Summertime is book club time at Carolina Performing Arts, as we read books that make us so excited for the season to come! Our Artistic Coordinator Ellie Pate and Marketing and Communications Coordinator Jess Abel put together their recommended reads.

Four women smile as they hold books they've been reading and discussing together.

The Cello Suites: J.S. Bach, Pablo Casals, and the Search for a Baroque Masterpiece
 by Eric Siblin
A book that delves into the technicalities of Bach’s six cello suites with the energy and curiosity of someone who’s just heard them for the first time, this read is perfect for the classical aficionado and Bach beginner alike. I can’t wait for Johnny Gandelsman to play them on his violin in front of an already (!) sold-out crowd in CURRENT ArtSpace + Studio on February 9, 2020. Fans of Johnny, stay tuned in case we add an additional performance! – JA

And Then We Danced: A Voyage Into the Groove by Henry Alford
What started as a personal account from a Zumba class for the New York Times turned into a new passion for longtime writer Alford. Much like Misty Copeland, Alford found his passion for dance late. But unlike the ballerina, who began dancing at the age of 13 (late in the professional ballet world) Alford didn’t discover his love of dance until he was 50. His story explores personal anecdotes and the history of dance—I’m looking forward to seeing Misty give her own perspective on similar things and much more when she kicks off our season on September 6. This book is a fun primer for all the incredible dance on our season–including Martha Graham and Alvin Ailey! – JA

Edna Lewis: At the Table with an American Original, edited by Sara B. Franklin
This collection of essays is the first ever to position the great chef Edna Lewis (who I admittedly hadn’t heard of before CPA started booking our 19/20 season!) as a fulcrum of American culture. It makes you consider food’s ever-present influence on who we are and what it took for Edna to share her knowledge. Whether you’re a Southerner, gardener, or lover of fried chicken, stories of Edna evoke both nostalgia and a desire to question the institutions that formed her legacy. I can’t wait to get Als’s take on this hero through his work-in-progress, Edna Lewis, this February! – EP

White Girls by Hilton Als
Hilton Als’s latest book paints an experience of life, gender, and race that he narrates and analyzes simultaneously. In this book, identities are less tangible than the dynamics and relationships behind them. I am intrigued by the way Als’s mind makes associations and, from an audience perspective, I’m eager to get such personal insight into the mind of the critic and playwright. This one is sure to be an excellent primer for anyone interested in how performance exists for us every day. – EP

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