The Big Read Blog (Archive)

To Kill A Mockingbird

April 4, 2008 Staunton, VA This is either the most revolutionary idea I've ever had, or the dumbest. But first let's just throw up some eye candy, shall we? I always like to put some art up to leaven these otherwise indigestible lozenges of prose, so here is "The Big Read Blues," courtesy of the...
March 21, 2008 Washington, DC Lately, politicians and pundits agree that America seems reluctant to talk about racism in any but the most sensationalistic terms. They're not wrong, either. Quietly though, one city and town at a time, a nationwide program called The Big Read is starting to help...
Translation is both the most parasitic form of writing and the purest. It?s writing without storytelling, without plot, or character, or any of the other gifts that only a few lucky fictioneers have it in them to deploy. No, translation is writing at its most elemental linguistic level, with the...
November 1, 2007 Washington, DC After the Russian Big Read delegation visited America last spring, most of us felt optimistic, but not quite confident. These officials from Ivanovo and Saratov seemed to get the idea of inducing a whole city to enjoy the same book for a month or so, but -- amid the...
October 26, 2007 Ivanovo, Russia Taking a Russian trip is like reading a Russian word: You won't know whether you really understand it till near the end. In the meantime, a whirlwind of impressions loom out at me from yesterday's Muscovite fog as I write you now from the lobby of the Soyuz hotel in...
October 12, 2007 Canton, Illinois There are more or less two kinds of Big Reads. There are the big-city Reads, where partners beat their brains in trying to steal attention from a million overcommitted people. If they can dragoon maybe 15,000 habitual and reluctant readers into picking up a good...
October 4, 2007 Washington, DC Watching Charles Osgood on CBS Sunday Morning commemorate both the golden anniversary of Sputnik AND Gene Autry's centennial, I couldn?t help wondering what our society will find to commemorate 50 years from now -- the 50th anniversary of the 100th anniversary of Gene...
August 28, 2007 Washington, DC Did you see that piece in the New York Times last week about JT Leroy, the abused-kid-turned-truck-stop-hooker who transformed himself into an acclaimed writer of literary fiction -- until he turned out to be a female freelance writer who'd transformed herself into...
July 19, 2007 Washington, DC ?Mom, which one of us do you love best?? It?s a question my mother would never answer, but each of us had our suspicions -- depending on which of us had just pitched marbles into her demitasse set (oldest brother), taken the pinking shears to her hand-sewn curtains to...
July 13, 2007 Washington, DC I hate to deluge the Communications office with yet another post, but by the clock on the wall, it's time for Uncle David to dip into the ol' mailbag and see what you blog fans out there in cyberland are exercised about. Turns out there's a fascinating letter from...

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