"Watershed Moments" Statewide Read Resources

“Watershed Moments” Statewide Read is a statewide book club that invites the people of North Carolina to read selected works of literature as the jumping-off point for meaningful conversations among North Carolinians that can help us better understand important issues in our community and state.

This year’s selections explore our relationship with water and the environment culturally and historically. These stories about water highlight how humanities, literature, and journalism build understanding about significant issues in North Carolina.

Join Us for Virtual Live Monthly Events Featuring Special Guests and Opportunities to Discuss Dry and The Water Knife. Click here for the full schedule of events!

Don't have a book copy yet? Click here to sign up for a FREE ebook!


2020-2021 Selections

Through April 2021, “Watershed Moments” Statewide Read is featuring two books—one adult fiction novel, The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi and one young adult fiction novel, Dry by Neal and Jarrod Schusterman. The Water Knife is a near-future, apocalyptic thriller about a catastrophic water shortage in the American Southwest that leaves Arizona, Nevada, and California locked in an intense fight for what little water supply remains. Dry also examines drought, climate change, and natural disasters when the taps literally run dry in California, forcing five young adults to make impossible choices to survive. 

Programming around the selected books will take place throughout the state from November 2020 through April 2021, and includes book clubs, virtual book discussions, film screenings, and an author finale event. 

Keep an eye on our website or follow #WatershedMoments to see how you can get involved!

Statewide Read Resources

About the Books

Dry* - The drought—or the Tap Out, as everyone calls it—has been going on for a while now. Everyone’s life has become an endless list of don’ts: don’t water the lawn, don’t fill up your pool, don’t take long showers. Until the taps run dry. Suddenly, Alyssa’s quiet suburban street spirals into a warzone of desperation; neighbors and families turning against one another on the hunt for water. When her parents don’t return, and she and her brother are threatened, Alyssa has to make impossible choices if she is going to survive. Critically acclaimed author Neal Shusterman teams up with Jarrod Shusterman for this story of survival, when the California drought escalates to catastrophic proportions. Neal Shusterman is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty award-winning books for children, teens, and adults, and he also writes screenplays for motion pictures and television shows. Jarrod Shusterman is the author of the short story “UnDevoured” in bestselling Unbound. He writes for film and television, and his talents extend to directing films and commercials. Jarrod lives in Los Angeles but enjoys traveling internationally and is currently studying Spanish. *NCHC Disclaimer: The themes and situations in this book are recommended for readers over age 12 and may not be suitable for readers under age 12

The Water Knife* - In the near future, the Colorado River has dwindled to a trickle. Detective, assassin, and spy Angel Velasquez “cuts” water for the Southern Nevada Water Authority, ensuring that its lush arcology developments can bloom in Las Vegas. When rumors of a game-changing water source surface in Phoenix, Angel is sent south to hunt for answers that seem to evaporate as the heat index soars and the landscape becomes more and more oppressive. There he encounters Lucy Monroe, a hardened journalist with her own agenda, and Maria Villarosa, a young Texas migrant, who dreams of escaping north. As bodies begin to pile up, the three find themselves cast as pawns in a game far bigger and more corrupt than they could have imagined. When water is more valuable than gold, alliances shift like sand and the only truth in the desert is that someone will have to bleed if anyone hopes to drink.” Paolo Bacigalupi is a Hugo, Nebula, and Michael L. Printz Award winner, as well as a National Book Award finalist. He is also a winner of the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, the John W. Campbell Award, and a three-time winner of the Locus Award. The Water Knife is a New York Times Bestseller. *NCHC Disclaimer: This book contains mature themes, situations, and language which may not be suitable for some readers.

About "Watershed Moments"

“Watershed Moments," explores our varied relationships with the environment culturally and historically through multiple programs. The "Watershed Moments" initiative is part of the national initiative on "Democracy and the Informed Citizen" administered through the Federation of State Humanities Councils and funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.