The Big Read Blog (Archive)

The Age of Innocence

What do these three tremendous actors have in common? They’ve all read excerpts of Big Read books, featured below. To hear the entire audio guides to these respective novels ---The Grapes of Wrath, The Death of Ivan Ilyich , and The Call of the Wild ---head over to The Big Read website . Start May...
Billie Holiday in Down Beat magazine, 1947. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons It's autumn in New York, and Newland Archer is about to marry May Welland. [Okay, he's about to marry her in a fictitious novel set some 140 years ago. Details.] May is the woman Archer is supposed to marry according to...
Washington, DC Edith Wharton courtesy of the Library of Congress. The Age of Innocence is a novel to be sure. But it also reads like a historical document, recreating in remarkable detail New York?s celebrated Gilded Age. Wharton herself grew up among New York?s elite society, which isn?t...
Washington, DC Edith Wharton, courtesy of Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscripts Library. Edith Wharton writes like a librettist composes operas, or like a sculptor builds structures. Today, we take a look at (and a listen to) the lasting effect of Wharton's...
Washington, DC Book cover courtesy of Modern Library, a division of Random House, Inc., New York. As playwright David Ives notes on The Age of Innocence audio guide , ?sitting down with this novel is like sitting down next to the most wonderful dinner guest who knows all of the guests at the party...
Washington, DC Edith Wharton. Photographer and date unknown. From Library of Congress collection Though in her lifetime, she saw her reputation wax and wane, Edith Wharton's name is very familiar to contemporary readers and---thanks to celluloid versions of The Age of Innocence , Ethan Frome , and...
Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania The New York City skyline, circa 1904. Photo by William Herman Rau , from Library of Congress collection. When Dr. Ferda Asya, Associate Professor of English at Pennsylvania?s Bloomsburg University, approached the Bloomsburg Public Library staff about organizing a Big Read...
Washington, DC Portrait of Edith Wharton, photographer unknown. From the collection of the Library of Congress. Although on the surface Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence and Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club may not seem to have much in common, each novel is---in its own way---an investigation of the...