The Big Read Blog (Archive)

Think back to the last time you wrote something down. Not typed it out but, wrote---with your hands, on a piece of paper, for an extended period of time to complete a thought. Chances are it has been a while. Technology and literature is something we talk a good deal about at the NEA: how readers...
Rope Bridge by Vera Kratochvil In this audio excerpt, we take a brief look at the deceptively simple, yet heartbreaking plot in The Bridge of San Luis Rey . The opening of our Big Read audio guide features actress Marian Seldes, Sister Maureen Fiedler, JD McClatchy, Russell Banks, and the voice of...
W.B. Yeats. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Since we’re just a few days from St. Patrick’s Day, we thought we’d celebrate with a brief look at Ireland’s most famous poet, William Butler Yeats, and his role in the Irish Literary Revival. Although no...
Dr. Michelle Martin, Augusta Baker Chair in Childhood Literacy at the University of South Carolina. Photo by Kimberly Truett, University of South Carolina For more than 50 years, storyteller and librarian Augusta Baker was one of the leading experts of children's literature in the United States,...
Cover of Housekeeping , courtesy of Picador Eccentricity can often be misinterpreted as mental instability, but so can genius and originality. Take Thelonious Monk for example. Or Andy Warhol. Or Zelda Fitzgerald as discussed in Monday's post. The character of Aunt Sylvie in Marilynne Robinson's...
Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald (American, 1900-1948), Circus , ca. 1938, oil on canvas, 36 ¼ x 24 ¼ inches, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, Alabama; Gift of the artist, 1943.5 “Mr. Fitzgerald is a novelist and Mrs. Fitzgerald is a novelty." So said writer Ring Lardner after visiting his good...
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...
The Homer Public Library in Homer, Alaska. Photo courtesy of the library Books that are based on real-life events, such as war, are capable of provoking powerful stories from those who suffered through a similar experience. Case in point: Tim O’Brien’s Vietnam novel-in-stories, The Things They...
Former National Council on the Arts members John Steinbeck and Ralph Ellison. Photo by R. Philip Hanes, Jr. Wednesday, February 27, would have marked John Steinbeck's 111st birthday. To celebrate the Big Read author, we pulled together a few fun facts about the American icon. Did you know...? When...
Cover of Their Eyes Were Watching God. Image courtesy of Harper Perennial Modern Classics Oftentimes, books we read in childhood and adolescence become touchstones throughout our lives. Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God is undoubtedly one such book for many people. In this 1937...

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