Library Book Club now reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

On Friday, May 31, Dr. Connie Calloway will lead a discussion of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot. One of the most lauded nonfiction books of 2010, The Immortal Life is a work of journalism, science writing, and history.

At the heart of the book is Henrietta Lacks, a poor black tobacco farmer from Clover, Virginia, whose cells, taken without her knowledge in 1951, became the first immortal cell line and have played a critical role in the development of polio vaccination, HIV and cancer research, gene mapping, and numerous other uses.

Henrietta Lacks’ cell line has prevented or alleviated the sufferings of millions of people, and yet until 2010, her family remained too poor to afford health insurance. National Public Radio calls The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks “a remarkable feat of investigative journalism and a moving work of narrative nonfiction that reads with the vividness and urgency of fiction.”

The discussion will take place at 12:00 in the Library Conference Room (located inside Library Administration). The Library owns three copies of the book, and it is widely available from local libraries, including on audio book. The prologue is on the author’s website, and a 5,000 word excerpt can be read on the website of O, the Oprah Magazine.

For information about this or other Library Book Club events, please contact Harold Henkel at