Big news, big ideas, big experiences: starting on Thursday, January 24th, WRBH is collaborating with Xavier University and the New Orleans Public Library to present something called The Big Read, an innovative concept and a perfect fit for a station like us. The idea is that the whole city, as a collective, reads a single book and then shares the experience; sort of like a giant Oprah’s book club, but without any television involved. The radio, however, plays a very important part in this event, since not everyone in the city has the ability, the eyesight, or the funds to participate. WRBH allows anyone with access to 88.3 FM the opportunity to hear the Big Read selection, which this year is A Lesson Before Dying, the beautifully written and moving book by Ernest Gaines. Amazon describes the book in this way:
A Lesson Before Dying, is set in a small Cajun community in the late 1940s. Jefferson, a young black man, is an unwitting party to a liquor store shoot out in which three men are killed; the only survivor, he is convicted of murder and sentenced to death. Grant Wiggins, who left his hometown for the university, has returned to the plantation school to teach. As he struggles with his decision whether to stay or escape to another state, his aunt and Jefferson’s godmother persuade him to visit Jefferson in his cell and impart his learning and his pride to Jefferson before his death. In the end, the two men forge a bond as they both come to understand the simple heroism of resisting—and defying—the expected.
Ernest J. Gaines brings to this novel the same rich sense of place, the same deep understanding of the human psyche, and the same compassion for a people and their struggle that have informed his previous, highly praised works of fiction.
In addition, the volunteer assigned to this book is none other than one of our very favorite readers, Cameron Gamble. Cameron has a faithful following among our listeners, and it’s easy to understand why–his soft, honeyed drawl and honest interpretation of the words make each book a joy to listen to. So, join us on January 24th (and throughout the airing of the book) at 11 am and again at 10 pm on weekdays, and share this unique experience with friends, families, and the entire city of New Orleans.