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Book City ★ Roanoke

Book City Media

Authors, readers, and resident city builders gather in BOOK CITY ★ Roanoke to discuss how the written word shapes our identity and helps us act in the world. BOOK CITY ★ Roanoke projects explore engagement and equity at the intersection of books and place.
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Top 10 Book City ★ Roanoke Episodes

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Season two of the BOOK CITY ★ Roanoke podcast launches with a conversation with freelance journalist and local foods advocate Christina Nifong. In her profiles of Roanoke area residents, Nifong plays the cinematographer. "I'm always trying to decide when to go in tight and when to pull back," she says. The telling detail help us understand her subject, and these individual stories help us understand the broader place.

Nifong recently penned a story for The Roanoker, "What Makes Roanoke, Roanoke?" In this episode she talks about what she found out in the many conversations she had in writing it and she talks about the changes and trajectory of her own life as mother and professional.

Follow Christina Nifong's writing and projects in her Nourishing Stories newsletter available at christinanifong.com.

This season of the podcast is sponsored by Book No Further, an independent book store on Roanoke's Historic City Market.

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Identity and Action: Season one of the BOOK CITY ★ Roanoke podcast continues with poet Ashley Rhame. Ashley writes and performs with astonishing frequency. She's active in bringing people together in The Speakeasy, evenings of music and poetry. She is the program lead for Girls Rock Roanoke, and she works full time for Roanoke Public Libraries at the new Melrose Branch.

"Without poetry, I don't know who I would be," says Rhame.

In this episode, Rhame performs the poem "The Color of My Soul", a poem through which Rhame uncovered aspects of who she is in the world. It's a topic she uses to engage young people, who she says, need to know who they are to navigate the world around around them. Words help.

Listen to this City Builder, and share her joy for writing, performing, and caring for the people sharing the neighborhood and the world around her.

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Identity and Action: Season one of the BOOK CITY ★ Roanoke podcast continues with Gregory Samantha Rosenthal. Dr. Rosenthal, an assistant professor of public history at Roanoke College, has led the charge in reviving and building the Roanoke LGBT Memorial Library at the Roanoke Diversity Center.

Rosenthal says they learned of the pieces of past libraries even before moving to the region in 2015. "I wanted to see it," they said. The conversation highlights the power and community benefit of individual efforts, and explores the changing roles of books and technology in identity and self exploration. "The books seem anachronistic" to young volunteers, but oral histories show just how important they were for the community in the past.

Rosenthal founded the Southwest Virginia LGBTQ+ History Project, a community-based queer public history initiative. The effort has resulted in the LGBTQ History Collection at the Virginia Room of the Roanoke Public Library, as well as a digital archive. Students and community members have recorded oral histories with LGBTQ+ elders. And the group offers monthly walking tours of Downtown Roanoke and Old Southwest, Roanoke’s historic gayborbood.

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Season two of the BOOK CITY ★ Roanoke podcast continues with a conversation with four-term Roanoke City Council Member Bill Bestpitch. Bestpitch offers reflections on his reading life, Roanoke's progress, and the exchange of perspectives over shared reading.

Bestpitch entered public life through his active participation in the Old Southwest neighborhood in the early 90s and is active in a number of civic and reading groups in the community.

This season of the podcast is sponsored by Book No Further, an independent book store on Roanoke's Historic City Market.

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