Barbara Kingsolver takes us on an epic journey from the Mexico City of artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo to the America of Pearl Harbor, FDR, and J. Edgar Hoover. The Lacuna is a poignant story of a man pulled between two nations as they invent their modern identities.

Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step. Abileen is a black maid in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi, raising her seventeenth white child. She's always taken orders quietly, but lately it leaves her with a bitterness she can no longer bite back. Her friend Minny has certainly never held her tongue, or held on to a job for very long, but now she's working for a newcomer with secrets that leave her speechless. And white socialite Skeeter has just returned from college with ambition and a degree but, to her mother's lament, no husband.

Through the eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Lee explores the issues of race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s with compassion and humour. She also creates one of the great heroes of literature in their father, Atticus Finch, whose lone struggle for justice pricks the conscience of a town steeped in prejudice and hypocrisy.

Raney, a humorous novel by North Carolina author, Clyde Edgerton, relays Raney Bell Shepherd’s personal account of her tumultuous first two years as a rural, ultra-conservative southern bride, to Charles Shepherd, a flaming liberal whose best friend is black. Though they make beautiful music together, the newlyweds work to harmonize their discordant viewpoints and become one, even as Raney’s staunch Baptist background threatens to blow them apart. An entertaining and thought-provoking novel in which the characters squarely deal with change and the issues at hand.

This is a startling memoir of a successful journalist’s journey from the deserted and dusty mining towns of the American Southwest, to an antique filled apartment on Park Avenue. Jeanette Walls narrates her nomadic and adventurous childhood with her dreaming, ‘brilliant’ but alcoholic parents. At the age of seventeen she escapes on a Greyhound bus to New York with her older sister; her younger siblings follow later. After pursuing the education and civilisation her parents sought to escape, Jeanette eventually succeeds in her quest for the ‘mundane, middle class existence’ she had always craved.

The club selects its books democratically at the end of every year, with members nominating titles during the fall and voting in December so that a list for the entire following year can be announced in January.  We are proud of the eclectic nature and high quality of authors we read—best sellers and classics, novels as well as biographies, histories, and other non-fiction.  Each meeting is facilitated by a leader from the literary/academic community or by one of our members.  

Roanoke Symphony
11:57 am
Thu March 28, 2013

Beethoven's Choral Fantasy

Ludwig van Beethoven

Featured in the movie "The King's Speech," Beethoven's fiery, dance-inspired seventh symphony opens this all Beethoven program. Maestro Wiley is in the spotlight and at the piano performing the Choral Fantasy, the precursor to Beethoven's great Ode to Joy. The full chorus also joins us for the "Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage." A fantastic all-Beethoven celebration!

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NPR’s Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! was on the big screen in our listening area in May including theaters in Danville, Lynchburg and Richmond. 

Congratulations go out to the winners of our Wait Wait cinecast contest. Each has won a pair of tickets to see one of the cinecasts in our listening area:

Danville's Stadium Cinemas on May 2 - Warren Sterba of Danville, Lorre Fleming of Danville, John Collins of Chatham, Karen Garnett of Danville, Deb Henderson of Danville.

Lynchburg's Movies 10 on May 2 - Jim & Roseanne Robertson of Newport, Sandi Shelton of Forest, Mary McCann of Forest, Anna Leigh of Madison Heights, Jennifer Cumby of Lowesville.

Robot Reinformcement
10:35 am
Thu March 28, 2013

Cyber Teachers

Credit Virginia State University

Most educators agree that kids learn best when teachers tailor their approach, working one-on-one with students, but it’s too expensive for every child to have his or her own teacher. 

Now, however, a Virginia psychologist is hoping to create a computer that can teach individualized lessons, adjusting speed and content based on a student’s face.  

Could we create talking, thinking robots to work in our classrooms – providing individualized instruction?  Could a computer be taught to tell when a student is losing focus or getting confused?

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Commentaries & Essays
9:50 am
Thu March 28, 2013

Celebrity Sighting

Carey Keefe

It's hard to imagine that posing for a photograph could change a life -- uniting a Virginia man with a woman living 7,000 miles away, but that's exactly what happened when Staunton writer Carey Keefe went on vacation with her husband. 

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