Books

John has authored three books that speak to his love of nature, his personal development through explorations in the wild, and his storytelling abilities depicting people’s often conflicting approaches toward preservation of the natural and manmade environment.

“When Durham author and environmental advocate John Manuel decided to write a book about canoeing, he had a choice to make: write something that would be sold in bait shops, or write literature. The result is The Canoeist, part nature guide, part memoir, a combination that works …”

The Independent Weekly, Durham

“A riveting read. You will love this book, even if you don’t canoe.

Cliff Jacobson, author of Expedition Canoeing

“An honest take on a man’s path of self-discovery viewed through the lessons learned from a lifetime of running rivers.”

Paddler Magazine

“The changes along Hope Valley Road in John Manuel’s novel mirror the cultural changes that are testing our nation. Some of his characters bend, some break. The ones still standing in the end persevere with strength, grace, and humility that we will all need to survive.”

Jay Erskine Leutze, Stand Up That Mountain

“Gorgeously well-written.”

Wilmington Morning Star

“After just a few pages, I rediscovered the joy of a well-crafted essay. By the time I’d finished the chapter, I’d already decided I’d find room for it in the magazine.”

Ross Prather, editor Canoe & Kayak

“This book is a rarity: an excellent memoir by a fresh, new voice.”

Lee Smith, author of Last Girls

“With humor and pathos, John Manuel captures a way of life fast fading from the American scene. This is a compelling and timeless story of the necessity of adapting to change.”

Anna Jean Mayhew, The Dry Grass of August

“As the Old South turns into the New, traditional ways of life are challenged and changed. In John Manuel’s timely novel, two generations of one family come to a parting of the ways, and controversial neighbors arrive. Vivid characters enrich this archetypal story and make for a rich, rewarding read.”

Lee Smith, Dimestore, A Writer’s Life

“A parable of conservation and community…a fast and absorbing ride.”

Lee Smith, author, The Last Girls

“What makes The Canoeist worthy is Manuel’s ability to put us in the boat with him, spectating from the stern.”

The News & Observer (Raleigh North Carolina)