Art Works Blog

The Big Read

This Saturday, not one, but TWO Big Read authors will be speaking at the 2015 National Book Festival in Washington, DC. Marilynne Robinson will discuss her latest novel, Lila, while Louise Erdrich , who recently received the 2015 Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction, will reflect on her...
As we get ready for Memorial Day, we thought we’d take a look at patriotism through a poet’s eyes; namely, Walt Whitman’s. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Whitman was living and writing in Brooklyn, New York. But in 1862, he headed south after reading in the New York Herald that his brother,...
Summer is fast approaching and so we're winding things down on the Big Read blog. Two more posts to go and then we close up shop 'til the fall. Fare the well breezy spring days of 75 degree temps (all three of them), and hello swamp-heat, which so graciously suffocates the District like a wool...
Last fall, Deborah Jiang-Stein found herself wondering if she’d ever been read to in prison. Born to an incarcerated, heroin-addicted mother, Jiang-Stein spent her first year of life in the Federal Women’s Prison in Alderson, West Virginia. She soon entered foster care and was later adopted,...
Why are we so fascinated by the habits of famous writers? Perhaps it’s simple voyeurism, or maybe it’s a way to feel closer to our favorite books and literary heroes. For aspiring authors, it can encourage the belief that if we adopt similar mannerisms, we too can become successful, well-known,...
Few books are more associated with jazz than The Great Gatsby , which so evocatively captures the extravagance of The Jazz Age—a term author F. Scott Fitzgerald himself coined. So when director Baz Luhrmann transferred the story to the silver screen in 2013, the music played as important a role as...
It's always fun to revisit classic scenes from epic novels, especially out loud. In today's Big Read audio pause, we're going to look at a heartbreaking moment from Charles Portis's True Grit. This scene captures the indomitable spirit of the novel's young heroine, Mattie Ross, and her trusty pony...
It's no secret that digital technology ranging from e-books to social media is forcing public libraries to innovate and adapt, and patrons are beginning to rethink what defines a library. For instance, a 2012 survey from Pew Research found that while many patrons still want to use libraries for...
Since April is not only Jazz Appreciation Month but National Poetry Month, we decided to merge the two. Below are five jazz songs and albums inspired by poetry, two of which tap the genius of Big Read poets. Gentian by Tomoko Ozawa Although pianist and composer Tomoko Ozawa isn’t the first musician...
Here's our (unofficial) soundtrack to Edith Wharton's Age of Innocence, one of the titles in our Big Read library.

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