HARTSVILLE – On the heels of a more successful than expected first foray into the world book writing and publishing, author and retired educator Charlie Burry Jr. has a second book out chocked full of lessons for life, humor, recollections of a life-long educator and the people who influenced him along the way.
Burry, a former principal at Hartsville High School, will be at the school’s media center from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. Thursday to sign copies of his book for teachers and from 11:30 to 1:30 for the general public.
“I Got a Better Idea” is a further reflection of Burry’s 45-year career in public education. He said the second self-published book was inspired by the first book of memoirs that he published in April 2020.
Burry said that about 90 percent of all self-published books sell less than 100 copies. His first book has already sold 650 copies, and he has recently ordered 100 more copies.
Burry said he received great feedback from the first book; both the number sold and the feedback encouraged him to proceed with his second book.
“I think the second book is a little better than the first one,” Burry said.
He said 40%t of the first book was from Hartsville High School files, such as graduation speeches that he made at the school.
The second book, not so much, he said. In it he recalls “other stories of ‘light bulb’ moments from his life and career, people who influenced him and more life lessons that he thought might be fun to write about and enjoyable for others to read.”
Burry said in the process of writing the second book, he kept remembering things that happened that he thought would be fun to write and read about.
Burry started writing to experience the accomplishment, to get a couple of books in print to hold in his hands and have a sense of pride, hoping along the way that people would enjoy reading them.
He said writing has also helped him adjust to retired life.
With the second book, Burry said he wanted to prove that he wasn’t a one-book author.
“I wanted to see if I could do a second book and do a better job,” he said. “Hence, the title ‘I Got a Better Idea.’”
He said people should never stop learning. The life lessons that he talks about in his second book come through “victory and defeat, heartache and humor, good fortune and fate, friendship and forgiveness.” He said these are things that make us a better person. He said reading is one good way to learn.
Burry said the second book is a little longer. It is 70 chapters, and each chapter is four or five pages.
“It is a book that you can put down and come back to it later,” he said.
Burry said the first section is about his learning experiences from student to the time he walked the halls of his alma mater as school principal.
The second section recalls his experience teaching at a juvenile corrections school and how it impacted his philosophy of education, personally and professionally.
The third section is about his coaching career. He was a coach for 31 years, including time as a football coach, basketball coach and tennis coach.
Burry said the fourth section is a bucket list of experiences and places he was fortunate enough to visit.
The fifth section is filled with humor and stories about practical jokes, which are a part of his life.
In a sixth section, Burry introduces readers to 10 people who had a hand in making him a better person “simply with their friendship and the manner in which they lived their lives.”
The final section has more life lessons that come from his life experiences in parenting, coaching, leading a school and riding a unicycle.
“I am still learning life lessons,” Burry said. “I don’t know anyone who isn’t.”
Burry said it has never been about making money. He said you don’t make money self-publishing. All proceeds from his books, above publishing and printing costs, go into a scholarship fund at Hartsville High School. He said the first scholarship was awarded this year at the senior program in May 2021 to Shelby Allen, who is attending the College of Charleston.
Burry said he and his wife will continue to present the scholarship annually. He said the book sales have provided the seed money for the scholarship.
“I hope to have a third book coming,” Burry said. “I don’t know that it will be the same kind of book as the first two,”
Even though he is retired, Burry said he hopes that people will continue to learn from him through his books. He said his career as an educator is continuing through his books.
Burry retired at a 45-year career in public education in June 2018. His career as teacher, counselor, coach and principal included at least 40 of those years were at Hartsville High School.
Burry is a 1969 graduate of Hartsville High School. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in history in 1973 from Furman University and a a Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree from Francis Marion University (College) in 1976. In 1993, completed his Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of South Carolina.
A self-professed wordsmith, Burry said he enjoys the process of sharing his thoughts through the written word. He also enjoys watching sports, reading, listening to music, kayaking and spending time in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Saluda, North Carolina.
Burry is married to the former Debby Sturgeon of Columbia, who is a retired registered nurse. They have two daughters, Beth and Caye.
To receive a copy of either of his books, email email@example.com. Mailed copies are $25. Copies picked up or that can be delivered locally are $20.95.