book club Archives - The Birthplace of Country Music
Listen
Play
Loading station info...

Radio Bristol Book Club: Storming Heaven

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! If one of your resolutions for 2022 is to read more books, Radio Bristol Book Club is a great way to help you meet that goal – so read along with us!

Our first book of 2022 is Denise Giardina’s Storming Heaven. This 1988 novel follows the journeys of four residents of Annadel, West Virginia, who live in the midst of conflict between the mining community and the coal industry that dominates the small town. From activists and union men to a local nurse and a Sicilian immigrant whose sons lost their lives in the mines, Giardina uses their personal and every day stories to explore “forgotten events in history,” including the Battle of Blair Mountain, the largest labor uprising in United States history. Giardina’s book is a complement to The Way We Worked, a Smithsonian exhibit currently on display at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum. This exhibit traces the history of work in America over the last 150 years, including the impact of unionization on workers’ rights and working conditions. The museum has also created a supplementary display focused on local and regional work history, and one section of the display explores coal mining and includes a wide variety of objects and images loaned to us from the Buchanan County Historical Society. The exhibit will be open through January 23, so be sure to stop by and visit it before it goes!

The cover of the book is dark green with the title in a pink or peach color. Below the title and author, an image of a coal town in the mountains is seen with a railroad track leading into it from the right side of the picture.
The cover to Denise Giardina’s Storming Heaven.

Denise Giardina was born and raised in West Virginia. Storming Heaven, her second book, was a Discovery Selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club and received the 1987 W. D. Weatherford Award for the best published work about the South. She is the author of Good King Harry, Saints and Villains, The Unquiet Earth, Fallam’s Secret, and Emily’s Ghost. Her Appalchian novels have been taught in university courses. Giardina has been ordained as a deacon in the Episcopal Church, and she is also a community activist and a former candidate for governor of West Virginia.

An older white woman sitting in a wooden rocking chair. She is wearing a green-patterned floral dress with a brownish cardigan, and she is holding a microphone while she talks to an audience.
Denise Giardina speaking at Appalachian State University in 2015.

Please make plans to join us on Thursday, January 27 at 12:00pm for the discussion of Storming Heaven by Denise Giardina. The book is available at the Bristol Public Library, so be sure to pick up a copy and read it ahead of time. 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 info@birthplaceofcountrymusic.org (Subject line: Radio Bristol Book Club) – your book insights might appear on air with us! You can find us on the dial at 100.1 FM, streaming live on Radio Bristol, or via the Radio Bristol app.

Looking ahead: Our book pick for February is the children’s book Come Sing, Jimmy Jo by Katherine Paterson; we’ll be discussing it on Thursday, February 24. Check out our full list of 2022 Radio Bristol Book Club picks here, where you can also listen to archived shows!

Rene Rodgers is Head Curator of the Birthplace of Country Music Museum and a voracious reader.

Radio Bristol Book Club: Weaver’s Daughter

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!

Author Kimberly Brubaker Bradley writes August’s Radio Bristol Book Club book, Weaver’s Daughter, a heartwarming historical novel about a pioneer family living in the Southwest Territory (now Tennessee) in 1792. The protagonist, Lizzy Baker, and her two sisters must navigate the hard work that comes with living the farm life, and so they help their mother by weaving to make extra money for the family.

The cover image shows a young white girl with long brown hair in pioneer dress bending over a loom or worktable with yarn piled nearby.

However, the most challenging obstacle for the Baker family is dealing with 10-year-old Lizzy’s sickness. Around harvest time each year, Lizzy suffers greatly with an affliction that doctors and natural medicine cannot seem to remedy. She struggles to breathe, and each year it only seems to get worse. Family and neighbors rally together to help Lizzy, but nobody is sure what ails her or how they can help. Hezzy and Nan, Lizzy’s sisters, have their wants and cares in the pioneer life, but nothing else matters when you are afraid your sister might die. 

Taking their minds off their own worries, all the girls are excited when a new family from Charleston, South Carolina, the Beaumonts, arrive and move in practically next door to the Baker family in a rundown log cabin. What is this wealthy family doing so far from home, and will the community and the Baker family accept the newcomers into their lives? Weaver’s Daughter is an incredible story about family, love, friendship, community, and the bonds that tie all these together.    

A headshot of the author showing her from the chest/shoulders up. She is a white woman with long brownish hair and blue eyes; she is wearing glasses. She has on a royal blue V-neck sweater with lighter blue trim, dangly earrings, and a pendant on a black leather necklace rope.
Portrait of Kimberly Brubaker Bradley.

Kimberly Brubaker Bradley lives on a 52-acre farm in Bristol – right on the border of Tennessee-Virginia and nestled in the Appalachian Mountains. Bradley was a chemistry major at Smith College in North Hampton, Massachusetts, where a classmate suggested she take a course in children’s literature. Newbery Medalist Patricia Maclachlan was the instructor, and both she and Bradley soon realized Bradley had a gift for writing. After college, Bradley started medical school as planned but dropped out after six weeks to pursue her dream of being an author. Although her books are marketed for children and teens, adults have discovered her fine writing and storytelling and have become true fans. Bradley has published 17 books, which have won several awards and honors. Her children’s books, The War That Saved My Life, received the Newbery Honor award in 2016, and Fighting Words received the Newbery Honor Book in 2021. 

Please make plans to join us on Thursday, August 26 at 12:00pm for the discussion of Weaver’s Daughter. 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 sharing our thoughts on this wonderful children’s book, and if you have thoughts or questions about the story that you would like to share with our readers, you can email info@birthplaceofcountrymusic.org (Subject line: Radio Bristol Book Club) – your book insights might appear on air with us!

Looking ahead: Our book pick for September is the graphic novel The Carter Family: Don’t Forget This Song by David Lasky and Frank M. Young; we’ll be discussing it on Thursday, September 23. Check out our full list of 2021 Radio Bristol Book Club picks here, where you can also listen to archived shows!

* Tonia Kestner is the Executive Director at the Bristol Public Library.