Art Works Blog

The Big Read

In 1966, author Jorge Luis Borges told an interviewer, “I think nowadays, while literary men seem to have neglected their epic duties, the epic has been saved for us, strangely enough, by the Westerns.” It’s true that the soundstages of Hollywood—commercially driven and...
In honor of Valentine's Day, we asked our Facebook friends to tell us about their first literary crush. Here's what they had to say: I think I have to go with Jane Eyre. Then and now, I view her behavior as so admirable. She has a hard road to hoe but she traverses everything with dignity...
Washington is a tourist’s dream: we’ve got more monuments and museums than you can shake a stick at. But in between the grand marble memorials are a number of smaller literary landmarks, which are often regrettably easy to miss. Here are a few that are worth seeking out. Henry Wadsworth...
The Maltese Falcon hinges on the trials and and tribulations of our anti-hero, detective Sam Spade, who is brilliantly portrayed by Humphrey Bogart in the faithful film adaptation. However good the film may be, it does not come close to the experience of reading the book. What's more, the film...
We love reading our favorite writers on the page, but seeing their faces on the street? Now that’s a special pleasure all its own. So feast your eyes on what happens when street art gets literary, and check out the unique ways Big Read authors and others have been used to transform our public...
Like peanut butter and jelly or red wine and cheese, music and books are often enhanced when enjoyed together. So with the 2014 NEA Jazz Masters Awards Ceremony and Concert coming up on Monday, we thought it would be fun to pair our Big Read books with what felt like complementary jazz tunes. Have...
Over 100 years after his death, Mark Twain is still making headlines—and not just in the literary world. Last month , PsyPost.com ran a piece announcing, “New study confirms Mark Twain’s saying: Travel is fatal to prejudice.” The study, first published in the journal Social...
Julie Otsuka’s debut novel , When the Emperor was Divine — one of our new Big Read titles — is a somber and insightful historical narrative of contemporary fiction. In her novel, Otsuka masterfully captures and illuminates the infamous tensions in the United States during 1942...
It's been a cold and snowy week in Washington, which naturally put us in a wonderful wintry mood (or a cranky, bitter mood, if you're the summer type). To celebrate the fact that it finally feels like winter, we thought we'd share "The Bells," a sweet seasonal poem from Edgar...
It goes without saying that we know an author or poet first and foremost by their words. But what were the places and passions, the people and objects that inspired and shaped the stories and verses we know so well? Below are five well-known items associated with Big Read writers, and a look how...

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