Reading Programs

Reading Programs

Sci-Fi Society: Humans and Technology (Features Updated Titles)

The pursuit of increasingly sophisticated technology has undoubtedly been a hallmark human society.  This series examines the relationship between humans and technology, and asks participants to consider how human interaction with technology and the quest for progress can often lead to unforeseen consequences. It may even make us question what it means to be human. 

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

I, Robot by Isaac Asimov

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Muslim Journeys: American Stories

Spanning centuries of American history, the stories of American Muslims show how people of varying religious, cultural, ethnic, and racial backgrounds have interacted with each other, not only shaping and reshaping their individual lives, but changing the contours of American society as well. These stories are windows onto the formation of Muslim and American identities in the modern world. The books in the American Stories section of Muslim Journeys do not aim to provide a comprehensive representation of American Muslims. The American Muslim population is too diverse for that.

Picturing America: Making Tracks

As the art and literature of the past 150 years reveal, the railway has had a profound impact on Americans’ sense of mobility and range of opportunities and on their thinking about time and distance. Making Tracks, part of the Let’s Talk About It Picturing America series, includes two nonfiction books, a selection of poems, a documentary film, and a novel. The series opens with an historical account of the construction of the transcontinental railroad, followed by a cluster of poems by nineteenth and twentieth-century poets that offer views of trains and from trains.

Picturing America: Land of Opportunity

Since the establishment of New World colonies by Europeans, America has been seen as a grand experiment. The very size and geographic diversity of the country reinforce notions of greatness and power and potential.

Making Sense of the Civil War

In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War in 2012, the National Endowment for the Humanities and American Library Association have awarded the North Carolina Humanities Council a grant for a new Let's Talk About It series, Making Sense of the Civil War.

This five-part reading and discussion series probes the meaning of the Civil War with:

The African American Experience: Looking Forward, Looking Back

African American literature embodies both a literary tradition and particular perspectives with which to view American history from the horrors of slavery to the struggles of segregation and to the trials and triumphs of the civil rights movement and beyond. Literature by and about African Americans offers a variety of cultural lenses through which to better see the identities and relationships of black and white Americans. This body of literature incorporates the ways in which African American culture and sensibilities have been interwoven into the social, political, intellectual, and artistic fabric of America.

Altered Landscapes - North Carolina's Changing World

Salt, Garden Spells, If You Want Me to Stay, Blood Done Sign My Name, and Plant Life — four novels and one history-based memoir — were all written between 2003 and 2007. They bring a childhood perspective to bear on dangerous worlds where innocence is quickly lost. These works from the new millennium differ from those before in that they begin more starkly with recognitions of the inevitability of violence and loss. Darkness fills the margins. Yet as grim as life can sometimes get, hope exists where it always has, in human hearts, in strong memories, in a commitment to reach across the divide to hold another’s hand.

Picturing America: Places in the Heart

The books chosen for this series suggest the ways in which human experience is shaped, even defined, by place. They are set in an urban ghetto (Brothers and Keepers), along one of the great scenic rivers in North America (A River Runs Through It), and in small towns from Colorado (Plainsong) to Iowa (Gilead) to Maine (Empire Falls).

Affirming Aging

This series captures the hard truths that come with growing old: the surprise of seeing a wrinkled face, the anger at not being able to do what was once easy. Each of the novels in this series takes a unique look at shared histories, mutual dependency, and the humbling experiences that come when the body wears out but the mind remains lively. 

Discovering the Literary South: The Louis D. Rubin, Jr. Series

As novelist, essayist, teacher, editor, and publisher, no single figure has done more to “discover” the literary South than Louis Rubin. So it is appropriate to name this series in his honor. The books in this series were published within the last twenty years by writers who have moved beyond the Southern hometowns of their youth. Yet they take a long look back, not for nostalgia’s sake, but to bear witness to the full panoply of time’s interactions with place, memory, and family.

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