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Knox County Public Library will host Sam Venable, News Sentinel columnist,  to discuss Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance at noon Wednesday, January 25, in the East Tennessee History Center auditorium, 601 South Gay Street. The talk kicks off the monthly Books Sandwiched In lecture series, a partnership between Friends of Knox County Public Library and UT’s College of Arts and Sciences.

A light lunch will be available for the first 30 attendees.

Hillbilly Elegy provides insight into the “invisible middle” or “white underclass” brought to light in the recent election. The book garnered a top spot on best seller lists from New York Times to Amazon.

Hillbilly Elegy is a compelling, personal and often painful look at a family dynamic long unseen—and then either ignored or mismanaged—in 20th and 21st century America,” Venable said.

In Hillbilly Elegy, a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, tells his story of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town. In the telling, he offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class, a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like from first-hand experience.

Also part of the Books Sandwiched In series are:

  • February 22,  The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League by Jeff Hobbs; facilitated by Tatia M. Harris, City of Knoxville.
  • March 29, Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxane Gay; facilitated by Rebecca Klenk, UT Department of Anthropology.
  • April 26, Why? Explaining the Holocaust by Peter Hayes; facilitated by Daniel H. Magilow, UT Department of Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures.

The series includes a book discussion of Kindred by Octavia Butler, the evening of Tuesday, March 28, led by Michelle Commander, UT Department of English and Africana Studies.