The Big Read Blog (Archive)

November 30, 2007 Washington, DC As I read some of the recent blogs?Paulette's about her commendable effort to give up TV and David's about what constitutes "literature"?I was reminded of the first time I encountered the art of Dashiell Hammett. Ten years ago, before becoming the Publications...
November 20, 2007 Attleboro, MA *Except for Attleboro, MA Just when you think the news about reading can't get any more alarming, a statistic comes along that makes you swallow your gum in amazement. According to the NEA's To Read or Not to Read report landing today, just 31 percent of recent...
November 9, 2007 New Paltz, NY Is a backlog of unwritten blog posts a backblog? I'm pinned under a backblog this morning. I'm also lodged under my usual detritus of books, bedding and Big Read paraphernalia -- lodging this time in New Paltz, NY, where last night I introduced Dr. Margarite Fernandez...
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 18, 2007 Albuquerque, New Mexico A quick quiz today, inspired by a revelation I had while driving around Albuquerque the morning after Rudolfo Anaya's standing-room-only, fire-marshal's patience-trying appearance last week. Without thinking, what does this photo remind you of? The...
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 10, 2007 Las Cruces, New Mexico In Washington, DC, where I live when I'm not on the road, the default question is "Red or blue?" In Napa County, near where I used to live, the question tends more toward "Red or white?" And in New Mexico, where I just completed a whirlwind Big Read tour, the...
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...
September 25, 2007 Oak Park, Illinois Two things I learned in Oak Park, Ill.: 1) roughly a third of the world's fresh water is in the Great Lakes, and 2) roughly a third of America's creativity grew up or flowered in Oak Park. OK, I'm exaggerating, but it's not just O.P.-reared Ernest Hemingway,...

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