Art Works Blog

The Big Read

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...
As you may have seen, we recently had some big news in Big Read-land : the novels The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears by Dinaw Mengestu and When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka will be joining our roster of Big Read titles for the 2014-2015 grant cycle. The Beautiful Things That Heaven...
It's an understatement to say Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy , aka Leo Tolstoy , was a giant among men. Not only was he an iconoclastic activist — his practice of nonviolent resistance influenced both Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mohadnas Gandhi — but he was one of the finest writers...
During his service with the 3rd Infantry Division from 2002 to 2006, Hector Ocampo served two tours of duty in Iraq, the first in 2003 and the second in 2005. His experiences there are never too far from the surface, particularly on his birthday, which triggers memories of an earlier birthday...
Fahrenheit 451 is widely regarded as one of the great American novels and a masterpiece of literary science-fiction. Since its publication in 1954, the novel—considered controversial by some—has become one of the most widely taught books in the American public education system. But a...
A little over ten years ago, in September of 2003, Jhumpa Lahiri's debut novel, The Namesake, entered the world. A poignant novel and new Big Read selection, The Namesake further explores themes Lahiri has mined throughout her writing career; identity, self-acceptance, and the trials and...
With the incredibly amazing NEA National Heritage Fellowships Concert happening TONIGHT! , we wanted to highlight a 2013 Heritage Fellow whose music makes a cameo on the new Big Read audio guide for Luis Alberto Urrea’s fantastic novel, Into the Beautiful North . Selecting the music, as...

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