Books chosen for their staying power. Read any of these and you may think about them for weeks, months or even years afterwards.

The TOP TEN BOOKS include non-fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and mystery genres.


The Songcatcher (Ballad, #6)

by Sharyn McCrumb (born February 26, 1948 in Wilmington, North Carolina)
Classification: Fiction, Appalachia, musical history, historical fiction

You can count on celebrated Appalachian story teller Sharyn McCrumb to bring you a well-written tale packed with nuggets of little known historical facts and occasional ghostly haunting overtones.

Tracing an ancestor back to his roots gave the author some fascinating factual fodder that brightens this book about a search for an old ballad.

The author’s own family stories prove that truth is often stranger than fiction. One of the key characters is Malcolm, a member of the author’s family tree, who was kidnapped from a beach in the Scottish Isles to work on shipboard when he was less than ten years old. On the ship he worked hard but also learned songs, including the fictional one that is the subject of the book.

Once grown, he left the sea to study law on the dry land of New Jersey, participated in the Revolutionary War, and became a respected pillar of the community. At the ripe old age of 50, however, he abandoned his family and career, resettled in the less populated Appalachian Mountains and started a new family, while passing on his songs.

The book ties together many different eras by weaving together the stories of other family members, some fictional, some real, who passed the song from generation to generation until the present day.

Along the way readers learn the way that many traditional ballads were created and gathered by historians, for profit as well as posterity.

Some of the characters converse with ghosts or act on intuitions so strong they could be labeled precognition, but this isn’t a story of the supernatual. It is the story of the continuity of family as well as the ghosts of family ties that haunts each of us and quite a good read.

If you find you like Sharyn McCrumb you may also enjoy her book on the story of the real life subject of a 60's hit folksong, "Hang down your head Tom Dooley, hang down your head in shame." The Ballad of Tom Dooley brings together the facts of the sad story as well as offers some insights as to what might have really happened.