The Guardian launched its new series exploring "the best towns and small cities in the U.S." with a visit to Chapel Hill, N.C., which "blends liberal philosophy and Southern culture in a way that borders on the utopian. From its community-minded businesses and political activism to a music scene that has quietly influenced the global stage, it's the kind of town that doesn’t need to brag about itself or inspire a Portlandia to know its worth."
Among the highlights was a stop at Flyleaf Books, where the staff book recommendations "are like mini-works of literature in themselves: 'a phantasmagorical odyssey taking a Swiftian look at racial discrimination...' (that’s Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad). This is a bookstore run by smart people with great passions and big ideas. There’s afternoon storytelling in the children’s section and for adults there are book clubs, author talks, poetry readings and 'humanities in action' events promoting civil discourse on some of the most divisive issues in the U.S. today. There are also some pretty hilarious lapel badges, like the ones depicting a bare-chested, superhero Justin Trudeau or the rather bleaker, 'Winter Is Here.' "