Art Works Blog

Springtime in Alaska

We're pretty proud of our generous and excellent cadre of Big Read audio guide contributors. Elie Wiesel, Annette Bening, Martin Amis, Aimee Mann...I could go on for days. For example, Robert Redford offered to read excerpts for the NEA from Jack London's The Call of the Wild. Some contributors, Redford included [he's also featured on the The Great Gatsby guide], appear on more than one Big Read audio program because they recognize the importance of the initiative. Writer Richard Rodriguez is one of these veteran contributors. Just before Redford reads the audio clip featured below, Rodriguez eloquently notes: "Jack London belongs to a Darwinian age. He belongs to an age in which from Europe had come Charles Darwin's reminder that the strongest survive and that the creatures who make it in time have to essentially assert their will against the wildness. And asserting their will againstthe wildness, they become part of the wildness. Because this dog, this creature who enters Alaska, essentially discovers the wildness within himself." As for the inimitable Johnny Cash, well, he almost appeared on this audio guide, but at the last minute didn't make the cut. So let's listen to how the first half of the show could've ended, with the fitting ballad, "When It's Springtime in Alaska (it's Forty Below)."

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