Arts
7:00 am
Mon May 28, 2012

Speaking Volumes: Linda Lane

Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Linda Lane tells Josh Raulerson reading has made all the difference in her life.

Recently, she's been reading:

Isabelle Wilkerson, The Warmth of Other Suns

In this epic, beautifully written masterwork, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Isabel Wilkerson chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life. From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America. Wilkerson compares this epic migration to the migrations of other peoples in history. She interviewed more than a thousand people, and gained access to new data and official records, to write this definitive and vividly dramatic account of how these American journeys unfolded, altering our cities, our country, and ourselves.

Random House

Michelle Norris, The Grace of Silence

A profoundly moving and deeply personal memoir by the co-host of National Public Radio's flagship program All Things Considered.

While exploring the hidden conversation on race unfolding throughout America in the wake of President Obama's election, Michele Norris discovered that there were painful secrets within her own family that had been willfully withheld. These revelations—from her father's shooting by a Birmingham police officer to her maternal grandmother's job as an itinerant Aunt Jemima in the Midwest—inspired a bracing journey into her family's past, from her childhood home in Minneapolis to her ancestral roots in the Deep South.

The result is a rich and extraordinary family memoir—filled with stories that elegantly explore the power of silence and secrets—that boldly examines racial legacy and what it means to be an American.

Random House

Rebecca Skloot, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Science journalist Skloot makes a remarkable debut with this multilayered story about faith, science, journalism, and grace. It is also a tale of medical wonders and medical arrogance, racism, poverty and the bond that grows, sometimes painfully, between two very different women—Skloot and Deborah Lacks—sharing an obsession to learn about Deborah's mother, Henrietta, and her magical, immortal cells. Henrietta Lacks was a 31-year-old black mother of five in Baltimore when she died of cervical cancer in 1951. Without her knowledge, doctors treating her at Johns Hopkins took tissue samples from her cervix for research. They spawned the first viable, indeed miraculously productive, cell line—known as HeLa. These cells have aided in medical discoveries from the polio vaccine to AIDS treatments.

Publishers Weekly

Speaking Volumes is a weekly conversation on books and reading with some of the people who make news in Pittsburgh. The program airs on 90.5 FM Mondays during Morning Edition, and Wednesdays during Essential Pittsburgh.