Art Works Blog

The Big Read

"Books, you know, they’re not just commodities. The profit motive often is in conflict with the aims of art. We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often...
At 45 years old, Earl Mills was married with five children, owned his own home, and had worked steadily through the years. Yet he had a secret that few others knew: he could not read. This is unfortunately not an unusual circumstance: according to the U.S. Department of Education, 32 million U.S...
A few weeks ago, we posted a new audio gem to our Shortcuts section , of actor Charles Keating reading Edgar Allan Poe 's poem "The Bells." His recitation was so perfectly eerie that it seemed only appropriate to have you take a listen on Halloween, that Poe-iest day of the year...
On Tuesday, we announced a new addition to our Big Read library : Brother, I’m Dying by Edwidge Danticat. This memoir—our first nonfiction Big Read title—tells the story of Danticat’s family, and their long and winding journey from Haiti to the United States. Although...
Author Ellen Hopkins once said that, “Nonfiction speaks to the head. Fiction speaks to the heart. Poetry speaks to the soul.” But Edwidge Danticat’s memoir, Brother I’m Dying, simultaneously does all three. Today, Brother, I’m Dying became the first nonfiction book to...
For as long as humans have roamed this planet, there has been war. And for as long as there’s been war, there has been art that portrays it, from dramatic paintings of epic battles to sculptures of famous moments from mythology. “Before modernism, portrayals of war and conflict were...
Actor Tony Plans reads "My Life with the Wave" by Nobel Prize laureate and NEA Big Read author, Octavio Paz.
Just because it’s called the Big Read doesn’t mean little readers can’t be involved. Our Big Read communities design all sorts of programming geared toward children, and often choose children’s companion books that draw upon the same themes as the selected Big Read title...
"…When you read Hemingway as a young writer, you begin to really focus on the importance of every word. It's not about coming up always with the new word or the flashy diction, but it's about getting to a larger truth about subjectivity and character through the simple turns...
There’s no shortage of data outlining the benefits of reading for children. In the NEA’s own 2007 report, To Read or Not to Read , research suggested that reading proficiency was associated with higher test scores, and later, with higher-paying jobs, greater career growth, and higher...

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