Podcasts

Welcome to our podcasts! Feel free to browse for an episode, then click on the PLAY button to listen instantly. Alternately, you can SUBSCRIBE to a podcast so that whenever a new episode gets placed online, you will be the first to hear it. If you're unfamiliar with how podcasts work and what it means to "subscribe", then please watch the video on the right.

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A James Dickey Celebration

James Dickey is one of America’s most distinguished poets. Collected in one volume for the first time, The Complete Poems of James Dickey is an authoritative edition of all 331 of his poems. It is edited by Ward Briggs, Carolina Distinguished Professor of Classics Emeritus, and Louis Fry, Scudder Professor of Humanities Emeritus at the University of South Carolina. The Library hosted a celebration of Dickey’s life and poems on July 15, 2013. The event featured readings of Dickey’s poems by Ward Briggs, Bronwen Dickey, John Lane, and former Georgia Poet Laureate, David Bottoms.

The Library has several books of poetry by James Dickey including The Whole Poems: Collected Poems 1945-1992.


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Band of Gold

Band of Gold performs music from the 1940s through today in a variety of styles including oldies, doo wop, motown, british invasion, blues, funk, rock, country, pop, disco, new wave, dance, reggae, hip hop, show tunes and more. They performed at the Decatur Library on April 9, 2013. Below is a short excerpt from that performance.


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Jasper Fforde

International bestselling author Jasper Fforde visited on October 5, 2012 with a new literary thriller, The Woman Who Died a Lot.  Fforde’s  books skillfully and playfully combine doses of reality with plenty of fantasy and sci-fi, and they have sold millions of copies around the world for the writer, who lives in Wales.


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Ayana Mathis

Ayana Mathis is a distinctive and acclaimed new voice in fiction. Her new novel, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, is the latest Oprah Book Club 2.0 selection. Beginning in the 1920s in Georgia, it tells the story of the Great Migration of African Americans through the trials and triumphs of one very remarkable, unforgettable family. Hattie Shepherd is 15 when she flees Georgia for a new life in Philadelphia. What she finds is a disappointing marriage and children she raises with grit and mettle and not an ounce of the tenderness they crave. Captured in twelve luminous threads, their onrushing lives tell the story of a mother’s monumental courage and the journey of a nation. It is a powerful, beautiful story you will treasure, and we were pleased to be able to host this young author at the First Baptist Church Decatur on March 21st, 2013.


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Ron Rash and Michel Stone

One of our finest and most popular writers, Ron Rash, returned to us with a powerful new novel, The Cove. He was joined by a close friend and talented young writer, Michel Stone, whose first novel The Iguana Tree is drawing high praise around the country. In his much anticipated new book, Rash, the New York Times bestselling author of Serena and Saints at the River, tells the story of a blazing but doomed love affair set against the backdrop of Western North Carolina during the World War I era. The cove is a dark, forbidding place where the spirits are said to wander, and the locals believe the young woman Laurel is a witch. When Walter, a mute, enters her life, though, Laurel finds for the first time a love and happiness that she fears places everyone at risk. Stone’s debut novel “is a stirring story of love and courage under the most daunting of conditions,” a moving account of an illegal border crossing by a Mexican couple and their infant daughter and their struggle to find a home. Critics call it “a gripping story of loss, grief and human dignity.” They joined us for this author talk on May 15, 2012.


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Yale Slavic Chorus and Children’s Russian Folk Ensemble Kalinka

The Yale Slavic Chorus toured Atlanta recently and was delighted to perform with the Children’s Russian Folk Ensemble Kalinka of Atlanta School #1.  The Yale Slavic Chorus, established in 1969, sings traditional and arranged pieces from all over the Balkans and Eastern Europe.  The Ensemble Kalinka’s members are children between the ages of 7 and 15 who speak (or at least sing) in the Russian language and have an interest in Russian language and culture. Together, they played at the Decatur Library on March 10, 2013.


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Tayari Jones

Atlanta’s own Tayari Jones visited us on June 8, 2011 with her acclaimed new novel, Silver Sparrow. Set in an Atlanta middle class neighborhood in the 1980s, it is the mesmerizing story of a bigamist, his deceptions and the fate of a pair of teenage girls drawn into heartbreaking complicity. Jones was born and raised in Atlanta and now teaches at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Her previous books include Leaving Atlanta, set in the city during a series of terrible child murders, and The Untelling, which won the Lillian Smith Award.


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Cory Doctorow

Known for his work as the co-editor of BoingBoing.net, the  former European director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and co-founder of the UK Open Rights Group, Cory Doctorow is a science fiction novelist, technology activist, and blogger. He is the author of young adult novels Pirate Cinema and the bestselling Little Brother and  novels for adults, Rapture of the Nerds and Makers, as well as being a contributor to The Guardian, the New York TimesPublishers Weekly, Wired, and many other newspapers, magazines and websites. Doctorow was here on Sunday, February 17, 2013 to discuss his latest bestselling young adult novel, Homeland, the sequel to Little Brother.


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David Bottoms

Georgia’s Poet Laureate, David Bottoms, joined us with a new collection, We Almost Disappear, that affirms his status among the front rank of poets. Critics are calling the new title his “most personal and heartbreaking book” with its poems firmly rooted in southern soil and in the people of the south. Bottoms was inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame in 2009 and twice has been included on the Georgia Center for the Book’s list of “25 Books All Georgians Should Read.” He has written nearly a dozen books, and his first volume of poetry won the coveted Walt Whitman Prize. This recording was from an author talk he gave on November 11, 2011.


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Mirabai Starr

Mirabai Starr is an adjunct professor of philosophy and world religions at the University of New Mexico-Taos. She has lived at the Lama Foundation, an international spiritual community, that studies the diverse paths of religion, from Buddhism to Christianity, from Jewish to Native American beliefs. A disciple of ecumenism, her new book is God of Love: A Guide to the Heart of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Critics say her book offers “an expanded vision of value to everyone” and is “a deeply personal journey exploring aspects of the God of Love.” She joined us on June 3rd, 2012 for this talk.


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4th Ward Afro-Klezmer Orchestra

The 4th Ward Afro-Klezmer Orchestra is a nine-piece klezmer-funk-rock-jazz ensemble that performs original compositions and arrangements, combining West African rhythms with Eastern European klezmer melodies. They played at the Decatur Library on January 26th, 2013. This podcasts features three songs from this performance:

  1. Dolgo Horo
  2. Greater Lagos Wed. Night Talmud Meeting
  3. Toco Hills Kiddush Club

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Melissa Fay Greene

Atlanta’s prize-winning author Melissa Fay Greene has written a new book, No Biking in the House without a Helmet, a joyous account of a great, loving, complicated and ever-expanding family — her own! The story behind the book is as simple one: when Melissa and her husband Atlanta attorney Don Samuel found their four kids growing up and leaving the house, they decided to “backfill,” meaning, “whenever one leaves, we’ll get another.” Over eight years, five children have joined the family from orphanages in Bulgaria and Ethopia. Melissa’s account of their laughter and tears will charm and delight you. Greene is the author of The Temple BombingPraying for Sheetrock, and There is No Me Without You; One Woman’s Odyssey to Rescue Africa’s Children.


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Anne and Sam Lamott

Prize-winning novelist Anne Lamott, the author of more than a dozen bestselling books, pays us a visit with a surprising and delightful new nonfiction work, Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son. It is a vibrant, sweet and often funny account of a new and unexpected chapter in her life: becoming a grandmother. Stunned to learn that her son Sam is about to become a father at the age of 19, Lamott kept a journal about the first year of her grandson’s life. It is full of wonderful, moving details that every parent and grandparent will understand and appreciate, as Lamott describes how relationships throughout her family change and evolve. Can a baby change a family forever? You bet—and you won’t want to miss the author’s take on this.


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Joshilyn Jackson

2010 was a good year for Joshilyn Jackson. She was a finalist for the Townsend Award for Fiction, and her wonderful novel The Girl Who Stopped Swimming was announced as one of the Center for the Book’s 2010 “25 Books All Georgians Should Read.” Her new novel, Backseat Saints, is a can’t-put-it-down story about love, survival and shedding the past that features a memorable new voice: the tough, passionate and funny Rose Mae Lolly. She’s arguably the best character Jackson’s has ever come up with and is perfect for a book that is both high spirited and darker than her previous novels Gods in Alabama and Between Georgia. Joshilyn Jackson joined us for an author talk on June 29, 2010 at the Tucker-Reid H. Cofer Library.


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Jane Mendelssohn

Jane Mendelssohn author of The New York Times’ best-selling novel I Was Amelia Earhart, visits us with a memorable, original new book, American Music. It’s a luminous love story centering on Milo, a severely wounded Iraq war veteran, and Honor, a former dancer who is now his physical therapist. Whenever she touches his damaged back, mysterious images from the past appear to both Milo and Honor, ultimately revealing the source of their growing love. Critics say it’s a “beautiful mystery and a meditation on love, its power and its limitations.“ It is a book of almost hypnotic power by one of America’s finest novelists, and we know you’ll find it an unforgettable evening.


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Dr. Keith Gilyard

Dr. Keith Gilyard is one of America’s most highly regarded scholars of African American writers.  In this author talk, he discussed his new book, the first major biography of an important native Georgia author, John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism. Killens was twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, was the founding chairman of the legendary Harlem Writers Guild and is regarded as the father of the Black Arts Movement. Gilyard’s biography examines his life and those whose lives he touched including W.E.B. DuBois, Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Maya Angelou and Langston Hughes. We are very happy to share this illuminating talk with you in this program.


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Jean Kwok

The publication of Jean Kwok’s debut novel, Girl in Translation, is a literary event with a remarkable story about it. It is an affecting story of a girl who goes from a sweatshop to the Ivy League. Mirroring this novel’s tale is the real story of the author, who was born in Hong Kong, emigrated to Brooklyn with her family, worked in a Chinatown factory and managed to put herself through Harvard. She has been a teacher and translator in the Netherlands, a reader for the blind, a housekeeper, a ballroom dancer and a computer graphics specialist. Jean Kwok read at the Decatur Library on May 4, 2010.


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Maryn McKenna

Maryn McKenna is the prize-winning former science writer for theAJC who won awards for her coverage of the CDC.  She returns to the Library with a frightening but true new book, Superbug: The Fatal Menace of MRSA. MRSA is a terrifying pathogen that is evolving faster than the medical community can develop antibiotics to stop it, and it is now beginning to threaten not just hospitals and clinics but individuals young and old, healthy and sick. McKenna is also a former Fellow at the University of Michigan and Harvard Medical School and the author of Beating Back the Devil: On the Front Lines with the Disease Detectives of the Epidemic Intelligence Service.  She joined us on April 27th, 2010.


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Karin Slaughter

Atlanta’s own Karin Slaughter The New York Times’and #1 international bestselling author of ten thrillers, talked about her latest spellbinding book, Broken. It’s not just the page-turning plotting and unexpected twists that make Karin’s books so popular, but also the vivid portraits of real lives in stress, people shadowed by loss and heartbreak that keep readers by the tens of thousands coming back for more. In Broken, a Grant County novel, Special Agent Will Trent arrives to look into a prisoner’s death and encounters a police department beset with murder. Karin’s bestselling books, which have sold millions of copies here and abroad, include Blindsighted, A Faint Cold Fear and Beyond Reach, which was on an earlier list of “25 Books All Georgians Should Read.”


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Deborah Blum

Deborah Blum is the Pulitzer Prize-winning science writer of a new book, The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York. Blum’s true story, which reads like a first-rate novelist’s tale, features a memorable cast of movie stars, gangsters, aristocrats, relentless medical examiners and even homicidal grandmothers. Her chronicle of Jazz Age chemical crimes will leave you breathless and transform the way you think about the power of science. Blum is the author of the bestselling book Ghost Hunters. She is also professor of science journalism at the University of Wisconsin.


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Kevin Young and Natasha Trethewey

Kevin Young is one of America’s most acclaimed young poets, and he talked with us about the new volume of poetry that he edited called The Art of Losing: Poems of Grief and Healing. Young is the author of several notable books of poetry including For the Confederate DeadJelly RollMost Way Home and Black Maria. He was also joined by the poet Natasha Trethewey, who also contributed to the new volume. Trethewey is the author of Domestic WorkBellocq’s Ophelia, and Native Guard, for which she was awarded the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry.


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Jayne Anne Phillips

Set in West Virginia, Jayne Anne Phillips’ National Book Award-nominated Lark & Termite is her first book in nine years. Set during the 1950s in West Virginia and Korea, it is a story of the power of loss and love, the echoing ramifications of war, family secrets, dreams and ghosts, and the unseen, almost magical bonds that unite and sustain us. Phillips is the award-winning author of Motherkind and Shelter.


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Gordon S. Wood

Gordon S. Wood is a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and one of America’s most distinguished historians of early America.  He joined us on November 9, 2009 to discuss his new book, Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815. It’s the latest in the acclaimed “Oxford History of the United States” series that aims to take a definitive look at what we know about the first quarter-century of our nation’s history under the Constitution. Critics are calling it “a triumph of the historian’s art.”


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Philip Lee Williams talks with Terry Kay

Philip Lee Williams is one of Georgia’s finest authors and winner of the Michael Shaara Award for his Civil War novel A Distant Flame. He returns with an exciting, new Civil War story, The Campfire Boys. Williams is a novelist, poet and essayist whose books include The Heart of a Distant Forest and Crossing Wildcat Ridge, and he also is represented on the Georgia Center for the Book’s list of “25 Books All Georgians Should Read.” This appearance by Mr. Williams was even more special because it was held as an onstage conversation with his friend and fellow author Terry Kay. We’re pleased to present to you the wonderful conversation between Phillip Lee Williams and Terry Kay, recorded on November 2, 2009.


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ConunDrums

ConunDrums is a community of diverse women drawn together by a combination of fate, chance, intention and the call of the drum. Through their performances, they offer audiences an opportunity to connect with their own authentic selves. Armed with drums, songs, stories and dance, ConunDrums invites the audience to grab a shaker or shake their booties and share in the joy that has come into each of their lives through the drumming community.


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Wil Haygood Discusses Sugar Ray Robinson

Wil Haygood is the author of a riveting new biography, Sweet Thunder: The Life and Times of Sugar Ray Robinson, one of the greatest boxers in history. Haygood’s book is “a biography worthy of a great athlete and an important social force,” vividly detailing the often controversial life in and out of the ring of the legendary Sugar Ray, who was born in rural Georgia. His story weaves in some of the major figures in 20th century American history, including Langston Hughes, Miles Davis and Lena Horne. Haygood previously has written acclaimed biographies of Adam Clayton Powell and Sammy Davis, Jr.


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The Gypsy Hicks featuring Elise Witt

The Gypsy Hicks (Mick Kinney, Evan Kinney, Kirk McAlpin, Moses Nelligan) play 1930s swing in the style of the Hot Club of Paris, made famous by legendary guitarist Django Reinhart. With violin, accordion, banjo and guitars, the Gypsy Hicks recreate the sound of French bistros and cabarets where this blend of musette, gitane and “le jazz hot” originated. True to their name, the trio sifts in a dash of roots americana such as ragtime, blues, and novelty songs.


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Wendell Potter

In 2009, Wendell Potter made headlines all over the country when he testified before Congress that many in the health insurance business are corrupt and are dedicated to denying benefits to consumers while spending billions on lobbying to protect their interests. Now Potter, former executive with CIGNA, has written a powerful book about his experience, Deadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans. It’s a “must” program that explains how health insurers have consistently put profits ahead of patient care. Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia says Potter’s book and the story of his conversion from a health care executive to outspoken advocate of reform “is essential reading for anyone trying to understand how the system really works.” We urge you to join us for this program and discussion.


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R. A. Salvatore

The author of more than 40 books, a dozen of them New York Times’bestsellers, Salvatore has a terrific, exciting new book: The Ghost King: Transitions, Book III, the gripping conclusion to the Transitions trilogy. When the Spellplague ravages Faerun, Drizzt and his companions are caught in the chaos. Seeking help from the priest Cadderly, the hero of the recently reissued series, The Cleric Quintet, Drizzt finds himself facing his most powerful and elusive foe: the twisted Crenshinibon, the demonic crystal shard believed destroyed many years before.  Mr. Salvatore visited us on October 19, 2009.


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Robert Olen Butler

Robert Olen Butler, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, visits us to discuss his stunning new novel, Hell. It’s a hilarious romp, all about good, evil and free will and one of the year’s best novels. You’ll meet a television news anchorman now residing in hell and living with Anne Boleyn, surrounded by a remarkable cast of characters including Shakespeare, Humphrey Bogart and most of the popes and former U.S. presidents. It promises to be a fun evening! Butler won the Pulitzer for his book, A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain.


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Carmen Deedy and Thomas Gonzalez

Carmen Deedy joins us to showcase her exciting, colorful new book, 14 Cows for America. Wonderfully illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez—who like Deedy is a native Cuban now living near Atlanta—it is an inspiring, delightful story produced in collaboration with Wilson Kimeli Naiyomah.  It begins in 2002 in a far-flung village in western Kenya where hundreds of the Masai people have gathered to make a most unusual, heartfelt gift to the American people in the tragic wake of the September 11 attacks.


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Jan Karon

One of America’s most popular authors, Jan Karon, joined us to talk about her latest, eagerly anticipated novel, In the Company of Others: A Father Tim Novel. Karon’s novels, marvels of gentle, arresting storytelling, have sold tens of millions of copies, and there are over 30 million in print, making her one of the country’s top bestselling authors. In the latest novel, Father Timothy Kavanagh and Cynthia arrive on the west coast of Ireland to research his ancestry and encounter some very unexpected, surprising activities. Karon’s Mitford novels, set in a small North Carolina town in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains, include A Light in the WindowAt Home in Mitford, and Out to Canaan. This was one of only seven stops in the author’s fall tour around the country. A new edition of her  Mitford Cookbook and Kitchen Reader is being released at the same time.


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Hoda Kotb

The popular anchor for NBC’s Today Show, Hoda Kotb, shares her life story in a revealing, fascinating, behind-the-scenes new book, Hoda: How I Survived War Zones, Bad Hair, Cancer, and Kathie Lee.With humor and grace, she shows how we all have the capacity to turn a crisis into a blessing, and the lessons she has learned, from growing up with immigrant Egyptian parents to reporting from dangerous war zones all over the world, from surviving breast cancer to getting along with her Today Show colleagues. Hoda Kotb has been co-anchor of the fourth hour of Today since 2007. She has been a Dateline NBC correspondent since 1998 and hosts the weekly series Your Total Health. She is a winner of the prestigious Peabody Award and a four-time Emmy nominee and also received the 2002 Edward R. Murrow Award for her reporting.


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Sal Cilella Jr.

Sal Cilella Jr., the President and Chief Operating Officer of the Atlanta Historical Society, discusses his new book. Upton’s Regulars is a history of an important Civil War regiment, the 121st New York Infantry, which took part in some of the war’s bloodiest battles, including Antietam.  Mr. Cilella visited the library on September 17, 2009.


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Amanda C. Gable

Atlanta author Amanda Gable has written a richly imagined and heartwarming new novel, The Confederate General Rides North. It’s a whimsical, totally original story about an endearing young heroine, 11-year-old Katherine McDonnell, a precocious Civil War buff, and her touching relationship with her mother. It’s set in Georgia in the 1960s, and we’re predicting it will emerge as one of the finest debut novels of the year! Ms. Gable came to read at the library on August 11, 2009.


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James Braziel

James Braziel, author of the acclaimed novels Birmingham and 35 Miles, visits us with a powerful, mesmerizing new book, Snakeskin Road. It’s a cautionary tale about a woman’s harrowing journey of survival through the southeastern United States after it has been devastated by catastrophic climatic changes. It’s a frightening depiction of a familiar landscape which has become lawless, corrupt and extremely dangerous.


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Stephen L. Carter

Stephen L. Carter, whose brilliant debut novel, The Emperor of Ocean Park, was a New York Times bestselling novel, returns with something different: a new book, Jericho’s Fall, centered on the shadowy world of spies, government secrecy and financial fraud. It”s a riveting thriller for Carter, professor of Law at Yale University since 1982. His other books include Palace Council and New England White.


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Rhythm Ranch (formerly Cowboy Envy)

Rhythm Ranch is a new group anchored by two members of the beloved all female western band, Cowboy Envy. Berné Poliakoff (aka Frenchy) and Kathleen Hatfield (aka Buffalo K) were the lead singers of this hugely popular band. Their work has garnered much praise and multiple awards, including the “Best Harmony” award from the Western Music Association (twice). Their vocals have been described as “heavenly…with harmonies to die for” (Atlanta Journal Constitution).  Together, Frenchy and Buffalo K have performed at festivals and concerts from Alaska to South Carolina. Their history has been highlighted by appearances at Spoleto Festival, Detroit Arts Festival, Music Midtown and two concerts at the Kennedy Center. They have toured with The Indigo Girls and performed with numerous acts including Riders in the Sky, Shelby Lynn, Confederate Railroad and Sweethearts Of The Rodeo.

With Rhythm Ranch, the girls have joined up with an amazing fiddler (Al Pieper) and an extraordinary bassist (L.A. Tuten). Together they deliver dynamic performances, filled with wonderful music and great humor, delighting audiences of all ages.  They performed at the Decatur Library on May 13, 2010.


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Anne Lamott

The renowned author of many bestselling books including Traveling Mercies and Grace: Thoughts on Faith, visits us with a tough and touching new novel, Imperfect Birds. “Heartbreaking and delightful, moving and hopeful, the novel reminds us how our children are connected to and independent of us, and that no matter how difficult our struggle is with them, love underlies it all and saves us. This novel captures the deepest, purest, most terrifying experience of parents fearing for their children. With great insight and humor, Anne Lamott shows us what it means these dangerous days to be a parent, what it means to be a child, and what it means to be a family.”  She visited us at the First Baptist Church Decatur on April 9, 2010.


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Thomas Cahill

New York Times’ bestselling author of How the Irish Saved Civilization and Mysteries of the Middle Ages, discusses his powerful new book, A Saint on Death Row: The Story of Dominique Green. It’s a deeply moving and true narrative about a man transformed as he faced an unjust execution. Archbishop Desmond Tutu says of the book, “Dominique Green was a wonderful man whose life demonstrated the power of God to heal and transfigure even the most unlikely people and places. Who could have expected that Texas Death Row would be made into an avenue of divine grace?—which is exactly what happened through Dominique’s instrumentation. Though this is a book that ends in death, it does not end in despair. Read it and discover how even the obscenity of capital punishment can be transformed into an occasion of light and peace.”


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Richard Doster

Richard Doster, the fine, award-winning Atlanta author, returns with an exciting, thought-provoking new novel: Crossing the Lines. The story focuses on events of the mid-1950s when Jack Hall, a reporter for the AJC, encounters stories of white violence against black Americans. He sets out to counter those stories with those of the South he knows well and loves, only to find there are important, hidden connections between the best and worst in the region. Doster is editor of byFaith magazine, the official publication of the Presbyterian Church in America and a native of Mississippi.


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Coleman Barks

Coleman Barks, the distinguished, prize-winning poet and translator, visits us with an important new book, Winter Sky: New and Selected Poems, 1968-2008. Critics are calling it “masterful,” rich in vitality and originality, “funny, brave and honest.” Barks has taught creative writing and American poetry in the English department at the University of Georgia for 30 years, and has written and translated dozens of books. He is the foremost translator of the 13th century mystic poet Jalal Al-Din, and his bestsellers include The Essential RumiThe Soul of Rumi and Rumi: Bridge to the Soul.


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Patti Callahan Henry

The wonderful Atlanta author, whose best-selling books include Where the River Runs and Between the Tides, joined us for a celebration of her newest novel, Driftwood Summer on June 1, 2009.


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Robyn O’Brien

Robyn O’Brien, a national expert on children’s health and food allergies, will discuss her important new book, The Unhealthy Truth: How Our Food is Making Us Sick — and What We Can Do About It. The book describes her transformation into a one-woman crusader seeking to identify food allergies that affect children and her discovery of shocking truths about toxicity in American food systems. Parents won’t want to miss this program. O’Brien is the founder of AllergyKids, an organization devoted to raising awareness about food toxins. She has been featured in The New York Times and on CNN.


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Lee Smith

One of America’s most popular authors, makes a special encore visit to the Georgia Center for the Book with a fabulous new collection of short stories—her first collection in 13 years—Mrs. Darcy and the Blue-Eyed Stranger.  Lee Smith is one of the American masters of short fiction, and this new book will delight and dazzle her many fans. Her characters range from an 8-year-old boy obsessed with vocabulary words to a young bride who has married “way up” to the title character, an older woman making her way through widowhood her own way. Lee Smith is the author of 15 books including On Agate HillFair and Tender LadiesBlack Mountain Breakdown and The Last Girls.


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Michael Malone

Michael Malone, a “master of storytelling” and winner of an Edgar Award, the O. Henry Prize and an Emmy for television writing, makes his first visit to us with a terrific new novel, The Four Corners of the Sky. Malone, who has written 10 bestselling novels, including Dingley Falls ,Handling SinTime’s Witness and Foolscap, is better than ever with his latest book, “a novel of love, secrets and the mysterious bonds that help hold families together.”


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Arthur Phillips

Arthur Phillips, best-selling author of Prague and The Egyptologist, and hailed by The Washington Post as “one of the best writers in America,” will talk about his acclaimed new novel, The Song is You. It’s a powerful, original and lyrical gem, a “tale of an unusual love in the digital age.”


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Jim Lehrer

Jim Lehrer, the respected host of PBS NewsHour, makes a special visit with his 19th novel, the new and delightful Oh, Johnny, a story “brimming with memorable characters” that cleverly and humorously blends baseball, World War II and romance. You won’t want to miss this talk by Lehrer, whose many popular novels include Mack to the RescueFlying CrowsKick the Can and The Phony Marine.


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Lauretta Hannon

Lauretta Hannon, who grew up in Warner Robins and now lives in Atlanta, has written a wonderful first book that is getting lots of attention: The Cracker Queen. It’s an unflinching, poignant, warmly humorous memoir that takes readers on a wild ride from central Georgia to Savannah with a cast of dysfunctional families and a lively crew of hell-raisers and renegades. Hannon is best known for her engaging commentaries on NPR.


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Dara Torres

Dara Torres, the Olympic gold medal swimmer, will be our special guest for a very special evening talking about her new book, Age is Just a Number: Achieve Your Dreams at Any Stage of Your Life. It’s a motivational, inspirational memoir by the amazing 41-year-old mother who won America’s hearts when she made a successful Olympic comeback in the 2008 Beijing Games.  Dara Torres visited the Decatur Library on April 29, 2009.


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Georgia Debut Author Night 2 of 2

We welcome two more talented Georgia authors with their wonderful new first novels. Marc Fitten is the very gifted editor of Chattahoochee Review whose novel Valeria’s Last Stand is a comic feast set in 1990s Hungary. Laleh Khadivi is the author of The Age of Orphans, a novel acclaimed already as a “stunning” work of great originality framed in graphic, poetic language.  This program was originally recorded on April 28th, 2009 at the Decatur Library.


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Georgia Debut Author Night 1 of 2

We welcome two wonderfully talented Georgia authors who are celebrating their first novels. Sandra Novack‘s new novel Precious is a novel you won’t soon forget, a lyrical, finely crafted story about family love, its costs and its consequences.  Susan Rebecca White is the Atlanta-born author of Bound South, a delicious, compelling story of the clash of women caught between old-fashioned Atlanta traditions and 21st century reality.


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Byron Pitts

Byron Pitts, correspondent for the highly-rated CBS television news program “60 Minutes,” has written a memoir that is at once a story of success and defying the odds. Step Out On Nothing: How Faith and Family Helped Me Overcome Life’s Obstacles, is a powerful memoir that chronicles his rise from a stuttering black kid in an inner city neighborhood to a premier television journalist. Pitts’ story will resonate with those who have struggled with their own challenges.  Byron Pitts was interviewed by WSB-TV’s Monica Pearson at the Decatur Library on October 13, 2009.


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Donald Ray Pollock

Donald Ray Pollock reads from his compelling, gritty novel, Knockemstiff, which author Chuck Palahniuk calls one of his favorites.  It’s a “poignant and raunchy account of his Ohio hometown’s sad and stagnant residents,” and the story “spans 50 years of violence, lust, failure and depravity.”  Fans of Palahniuk won’t want to miss this podcast episode!


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The Rosin Sisters

The Rosin Sisters (Jan Smith, Ann Whitley and Barbara Panter) are three fiddlers and  friends who love to play and sing together. All have been playing traditional country music in the Atlanta area and beyond for over 25 years. After singing with the all-woman, a capella group, the Divas; they decided to form The Rosin Sisters to further explore their love of singing and fiddle music, especially the rich heritage that comes out of Appalachia and the South.  They came to perform at the Decatur Library on June 25, 2009.


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Corinne West

Corinne West brings a resonant and highly emotive voice to her own hybrid of Americana – roots, rock, folk, new grass, and progressive country.  She began as a five year-old, writing and singing to whomever would listen.  Few songwriters deliver both artistic integrity and popular commercial appeal the way she does. Her expressive vocals and songs pierce to the core and soothe the soul.  Corinne West played at the Decatur Library on June 11th, 2009.


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Sandra Mackey

Sandra Mackey, prize-winning veteran journalist and author of the national bestseller, The Reckoning: Iraq and the Legacy of Saddam Hussein, discusses her latest book ,Mirror of the Arab World: Lebanon in Conflict. Critics call her book a “timely, incisive guide to the complexity of the brewing conflict in Lebanon and what it will mean for the Middle East.” Mackey’s book serves as a clarifying lens for viewing the broad picture of today’s challenging Arab world.  This recording was made at the Decatur Library on April 2, 2009.


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Laurie Halse Anderson

Laurie Halse Anderson, one of America’s most popular and honored young adult authors, visits us to talk about her eagerly anticipated new novel, Wintergirls. “In this, her most wrenching, lyrically-written book since the multiple-award-winning Speak, Anderson explores Lia’s descent into anorexia and her painful path to recovery.” Anderson’s other books include PromTwisted and Fever 1793.   This recording was made on March 31, 2009 at the Decatur Library.


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Patti Digh

Patti Digh, an internationally known blogger, has a new powerful book, Life is a Verb, drawn from a blog she created after the death of her step-father from cancer. Given only 37 days to live after his diagnosis, her father’s death prompted her to wonder what she would do with her life in that short time. Her book is part-memoir, part how-to, and it will touch your heart deeply.  This recording was made on March 30, 2009 at the Decatur Library.


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The Jeff and Vida Band

Unclassifiable but terrific—The Jeff and Vida Band is a bluegrass-influenced duo with a bluesiness at its core and a powerful stage presence. Vida’s powerful vocals and driving 1942 Gibson J-45 guitar with Jeff’s rock-n-roll approach to mandolin and guitar get the crowds’ feet tapping, and “is about as perfect a combination as you’re likely to find.” Performing original songs ranging from Appalachian bluegrass to alternative country, they are one of the Southeast’s premier acoustic roots acts.  The Jeff and Vida Band played at the Decatur Library on May 14th, 2009.


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Julie Buckner Armstrong

Julie Buckner Armstrong, is one of the editors of a superb new anthology from the University of Georgia Press, The Civil Rights Reader: American Literature from Jim Crow to Reconciliation. The book, which contains fiction, drama, essays and poetry, insightfully captures the cultural and literary history of African-Americans’ struggle for freedom. Special guests include prize-winning author Anthony Grooms andConnie Curry.


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Doug Egerton

Doug Egerton, professor of history at LeMoyne College, offers a sweeping chronicle of African American history in his book Death or Liberty: African Americans and Revolutionary America. Stretching from Britain’s victory in the Seven Years’ War to the election of slaveholder Thomas Jefferson as president in 1800, Edgerton shows the scope to which slavery was woven into American daily life. Egerton highlights the will and determination of slaves, freed blacks and white reformers through the narrative and compelling portraits of their lives. A rich and comprehensive history that should not be missed!


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Kathryn Stockett

Kathryn Stockett, Mississippi-born author now living in Atlanta, unveils her first novel, The Help, already being hailed by critics as a “contemporary classic.” It’s an unforgettable novel of three women and the crossing of racial barriers in 1960s Mississippi, a “timeless and universal story.” Joining Stockett will be Octavia Spencer, an Atlanta actor, who will take part in the program.  This program was originally recorded on February 10th, 2009.


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Brian Ashley Jones

Brian Ashley Jones is a soulful singer, accomplished lead guitarist, and versatile songwriter. His music is heavily influenced by the guitar-driven blues, bluegrass, folk, country and rock he absorbed in his hometown, Spartanburg, South Carolina. His songs have been featured in the widely-acclaimed PBS television series Road Trip Nation, earning Brian a finalist position in the 2008 Emerging Songwriter’s Contest at the Flat Rock Music Festival.  You can also find Brian Ashley Jones online.


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E. Lynn Harris

The Georgia Center for the Book was delighted to present part-time Atlanta resident and bestselling author E. Lynn Harris. Harris has wowed and seduced more than three million readers with the wicked drama and undeniable heart in his novels. He will read from his new work, which is sure to top the bestseller lists. Basketball Jones is a rip-roaring tale of sex, secrets, betrayal … and blackmail that takes place in the world of the NBA.


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Stephanie Kallos

Stephanie Kallos spent twenty years in the theater as an actress and teacher. She is the author of the best-selling, award-winning novel, Broken for You, which has been translated into ten languages and was a “Today Show” book club selection. Her new novel, Sing Them Home, is set in a small Nebraska town with Welsh influences. Kallos drew from actual events that happened during her early years in tornado country, including a 1974 storm that was documented in a National Geographic photograph, to form the basis for this story of three adult children who are only now coming to grips with the disappearance of their mother during a tornado.


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Robert J. Norrell

Robert J. Norrell, Bernadotte Schmitt Professor of History at the University of Tennessee, delivers the first full-length biography of Booker T. Washington in a generation.  Up from History recreates the broad contexts in which Washington worked. He struggled against white bigots who hated his economic ambitions for blacks, African-American intellectuals like W. E. B. Du Bois who resented his huge influence and inconstant allies such as Theodore Roosevelt. Norrell details the positive power of Washington’s vision, one that invoked hope and optimism to overcome past exploitation and present discrimination. It is a fascinating portrait of one of the most influential Americans of his age.


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