The Big Read Blog (Archive)

WHY DO I READ?

February 13, 2009
Washington, DC

It may seem fairly obvious, but I think we sometimes forget that writers are also readers. In this excerpt from the Reader?s Guide for A Lesson Before Dying, author Ernest Gaines reminisces about falling in love with books.

As a child in Louisiana, there was no library that I could go to. But when I went to California, I found myself in the library. And at 16, I started reading and reading. I especially read anybody who wrote about the land. I?d look at the dust jacket, and if there was a tree or lake or field on it, I'd flip through. I especially liked to read the 19th-century Russian writers -- Chekhov, Tolstoy, and Turgenev -- because they wrote about the land and peasant life.

Want to know more? Visit The Big Read Web site to peruse the calendar of events for the following Big Reads of A Lesson Before Dying taking place in February: East Baton Rouge Parish Library (Baton Rouge, Louisiana); California State University, East Bay (Oakland, California); and Westchester Arts Council (White Plains, New York).