The Big Read Blog (Archive)

literature

Shel Silverstein’s poem, Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out , captivated me as a scrappy ten-year-old tomboy. Silverstein’s cautionary tale about sloth, wrapped in vivid descriptions of fanciful narrative, fastened the poem to my developing psyche, and made me always rather...
A few weeks ago, a colleague passed along a link to a new series of postage stamps dedicated to the birth of modern art in America. As I browsed the miniature tributes to Georgia O'Keeffe, Man Ray, and Joseph Stella, I wondered how many stamps the United States Postal Service has dedicated to...
A 1920 photo of Alice Paul, the 28 year-old powerhouse behind the 1913 Woman Suffrage Parade. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, photograph by Harris & Ewing, [reproduction number LC-DIG-ds-00180] One hundred years ago this Sunday, 5,000 women’s...
Jack London with his dog, Rollo, 1885. Photo courtesy of Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens Ernest Hemingway once said, “There is no friend as loyal as a book.” While I agree with dear Ernie to a certain extent, the loyalty of man’s best friend is hard to rival. The lifelong...
A peek at Flavorwire Literary Editor Emily Temple's "books-to-consider" shelf at her New York City office. Image courtesy of Flavorwire A little direction in the vast world of literature is always helpful. Different readers find direction from different sources: professors, relatives, colleges,...
The First Thanksgiving by flickr user skitpero Thanksgiving…the name of the holiday is a self-descriptor. Giving thanks. This season of reflection joins families and friends all over the nation and asks for pause to remember what is important---or what should be more important. Perhaps that is why...
Keyboard 2 by flickr user john_a_ward When the Big Read launched in 2006, the program’s library consisted of four titles: The Great Gatsby, Their Eyes Were Watching God, To Kill A Mockingbird, and Fahrenheit 451. All were American classics, representing the lives, fears, and difficulties of the...
Dr. Catalina Castillón with a Spanish-language copy of Bless Me, Ultima . Photo courtesy of Castillón Rudolfo Anaya’s Bless Me, Ultima , is one of the most notable and celebrated books in Hispanic-American literature today. The novel tells the story of young Antonio’s journey to manhood, and the...
Irvin Mayfield with his trumpet. Photo courtesy of the artist When a Big Read author and a National Council on the Arts (NCA) member get together, beautiful music is made---literally. In a project that has been some eight years in the making, jazz musician and NCA member Irvin Mayfield is composing...
By Rebecca Gross The finished Edgar Allan Poe mural, created by youth at the Logan Heights branch of the San Diego Public Library. Photo by Veronica Murphy As children, our first experience with books is typically hearing stories read out loud. Later, as cognition improves, we begin reading out...

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