City Lights Bookstore * 3 E. Jackson Street, Sylva, NC


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Drop off a maximum of one milk carton's worth of books until 5 o'clock on trade-in days.

Phone 828-586-9499

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Allsbrook Pens Book about the Banjo in Haywood County

City Lights is pleased to welcome William C. Allsbrook, Jr., MD on Friday, September 22, 2023 at 6 p.m. for a presentation of his new book, Making Music: The Banjo in a Southern Appalachian County.

An intimate look at the role of the banjo in a long-standing, joyful musical tradition vital to the Appalachian region

The banjo has been emblematic of the Southern Appalachian Mountains since the late twentieth century. Making Music: The Banjo in a Southern Appalachian County takes a close look at the instrument and banjo players in Haywood County, North Carolina. Author William C. Allsbrook Jr., MD, presents the oral histories of thirty-two banjo players, all but two of whom were born in Haywood County. These talented musicians recount, in their own words, their earliest memories of music, and of the banjo, as well as the appeal of the banjo. They also discuss learning to play the instrument, including what it “feels like” playing the banjo, many describing occasional “flow states.”

In the book, Allsbrook explores an in-home musical folkway that developed along the colonial frontier. By the mid-1800s, frontier expansion had ceased in Haywood County due to geographic barriers, but the in-home musical tradition, including the banjo, survived in largely isolated areas. Vestiges of that tradition remain to this day, although the region has undergone significant changes over the lifetimes of the musicians interviewed. As a result, the survival of the in-home tradition is not guaranteed. Readers are invited into the private lives of the banjo players and asked to consider the future of the banjo in the face of contemporary trends. The future will be shaped by how this remarkable mountain culture continues to adapt to these challenges. Still, this thriving community of banjo players represents the vibrant legacy of the banjo in Haywood County and the persistence of tradition in the twenty-first century.

Call City Lights Bookstore at 828-586-9499 if you have questions or would like to reserve copies of the book.

Making Music: The Banjo in a Southern Appalachian County (American Made Music) By William C. Allsbrook Cover Image
ISBN: 9781496845818
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: University Press of Mississippi - June 23rd, 2023

Amanda Clayton to Present Tiger!

Amanda Clayton, Sylva native and illustrator of the new children's book Tiger!, will be at City Lights Bookstore at 11 a.m. on Saturday, September 22, 2023. Chatting with Amanda recently, she said, "Kirsten and I wanted to make this book as a way to tell kids that they can be exactly as they are, who they want to be." Amanda will read the book, ask attendees what animal they want to be, and help them make collage self-portraits of themselves as that animal. Layla Gillet will help jot down why they chose that animal, then we'll create a gallery!

TIGER! By Kirsten Miller, Amanda Clayton (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Kirsten Miller, Amanda Clayton (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781648230035
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: POW! Kids Books - August 15th, 2023

Ron Rash Presents His New Novel

© Richard NourryCity Lights Bookstore and The Jackson County Public Library will host an evening with Ron Rash on Tuesday, October 3rd, at 6 p.m. The reading and book signing will be in the Community Room of the Jackson County Public Library. 

Rash will present his new novel, The Caretaker. Told against the backdrop of the Korean War as a small Appalachian town sends its sons to battle, The Caretaker is a breathtaking love story and a searing examination of the acts we seek to justify in the name of duty, family, honor, and love.

RonRash is the author of the PEN/Faulkner finalist and New York Times bestselling novel Serena, in addition to the critically acclaimed novels The Risen, Above the Waterfall, The Cove, One Foot in Eden, Saints at the River, and The World Made Straight; five collections of poems; and seven collections of stories, among them Burning Bright, which won the 2010 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, Nothing Gold Can Stay, a New York Times bestseller, and Chemistry and Other Stories, which was a finalist for the 2007 PEN/Faulkner Award. Three times the recipient of the O. Henry Prize, his books have been translated into seventeen languages. He teaches at Western Carolina University.


The Caretaker: A Novel By Ron Rash Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385544276
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Doubleday - September 26th, 2023

Serena: A Novel By Ron Rash Cover Image
ISBN: 9780061470844
Availability: No new copies on our shelves but maybe in used, now or arriving soon. Ask us.
Published: Ecco - September 29th, 2009

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In the Valley: Stories and a Novella Based on SERENA By Ron Rash Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525564225
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor - July 13th, 2021

City Lights Bookstore T-Shirt


Support the bookstore, buy our t-shirts!  The initial print-run is limited to white and burnt orange on a soft, black cotton shirt. 

We're tickled to have connected with Macon County artist, Matt Gauck who created the "reading by lightning bug" drawing to highlight the southern Appalachian setting of this City Lights Bookstore.

Price: $20.00

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