Appalachian women Archives - The Birthplace of Country Music
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Radio Bristol Book Club: Voices Worth the Listening: Three Women in Appalachia

Welcome to Radio Bristol Book Club where readers from BCM and the Bristol Public Library come together each month to celebrate and explore books inspired by our region’s rich Appalachian cultural and musical heritage! We invite you to read along and then listen to Radio Bristol on the fourth Thursday of each month at 12:00 noon when we dig deep into the themes and questions raised by the books, learn more about the authors, and celebrate the joys of being a bookworm!

Voices Worth the Listening: Three Women in Appalachia is a powerful look at the lives of three different women from different parts of Appalachia. This oral history paints a complex picture of the region through the unique yet relatable experiences of these interesting women. Their lives are influenced by issues such as race, class, drug culture, education, socioeconomic mobility, self-blame, dysfunctional family, religion, and perseverance, and their stories will resonate with the experiences of people in and outside of the region. This carefully crafted oral history faithfully recounts the lives of these women using their own words to expand the readers understanding of Appalachia and Appalachians.

Image of the book's cover, which shows a black-and-white photograph of what looks to be a rock and wooden beam structure with three blank framed rectangles (windows?) in the center.

Thomas Burton was born in Memphis, Tennessee. He graduated from David Lipscomb College before continuing his education at Vanderbilt University where he earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in English literature. He taught at East Tennessee State University from 1958 until his retirement in 1995. During his time at ETSU he directed the Appalachian-Scottish Studies Program and was appointed Professor Emeritus in 1996. Dr. Burton has conducted many oral interviews in the Appalachian region and published several books including The Serpent and the Spirit: Glenn Summerford‘s Story, Serpent-Handling Believers, and Beech Mountain Man: The Memoirs of Ronda Lee Hicks. He also transcribed and edited Rosie Hicks and Her Recipe Book. He excels at presenting oral histories in text in such a way that brings the reader back to the speaker.

An older white man with grey hair and a white beard. He is wearing a charcoal suit jacket or blazer over a light blue shirt, and he is standing at a wooden dais with a microphone.

Author Thomas Burton.

Please make plans to join us on Thursday, November 17 at 12:00pm (a week earlier than usual due to the Thanksgiving holiday the following week) for our discussion of Voices Worth the Listening: Three Women of Appalachia. You can find us on the dial at 100.1 FM, streaming live on Radio Bristol, or via the Radio Bristol app. The book is available at the Bristol Public Library, so be sure to pick up a copy and read it ahead of time. The librarians will be happy to help you find the book. We look forward to exploring this book on-air, and if you have thoughts or questions about the book that you would like to share with our readers, you can email (Subject line: Radio Bristol Book Club) – your book insights might appear on air with us!

Looking ahead: Our book pick for December is The Star Fisher by Lawrence Yep; we’ll be discussing it on Thursday, December 22. Check out a full list of the books we have read in 2022 here, where you can also listen to archived shows. Our 2023 Radio Bristol Book Club list will be added to the show’s page soon!

* Top image: Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Image by James St. John and taken from Flickr

Erika Barker is Curatorial Manager at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum and an avid reader.