Art Works Blog

The Big Read

Last Saturday marked Edith Wharton 's birthday—she would have turned 153—so we thought we’d celebrate with a few facts you might not know about the Pulitzer Prize-winning Big Read author. She kept up with the Joneses: Wharton was born Edith Newbold Jones, a daughter of one of...
There are no shortage of treasures housed at the Library of Congress, but this one has always been a particular favorite for the way it documents a fascinating, if troubling piece of American literary history. This incredible letter from 1942 was written by Ernest Hemingway to poet and playwright...
With every New Year comes a batch of resolutions on how we can improve ourselves. Less junk food, more exercise. Less complaining, more volunteering. And for many of us, less television, and more reading. We can’t help you with the kale-eating or the gym-going, but here are five reasons why...
After recently stumbling into an (older) review of Wes Anderson's movies by the remarkable writer, Michael Chabon, I was reminded of Chabon's memorable breakdown of the Big Read novel, A Wizard of Earthsea, by one of his favorite writers, Ursula K. Le Guin. Curiously, both Wes Anderson'...
"Our Christmases together were simple. We limited our gifts to pennies and wits and all-out competition. Who would come up with the most outrageous for the least? The real Christmas was for the children, an idea I found totally compatible, for I had long ago ceased to speculate on the meaning...
In a proclamation penned by a few leading children’s authors , it was written that “picture books should be fresh, honest, piquant, and beautiful.” To demonstrate just how fresh and beautiful they can be, NEA Director of Literature Amy Stolls recently brought in about six dozen...
"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...

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