The Big Read Blog (Archive)

The original program logo courtesy of RR Kidz The reading world has changed a good deal since I was a kid. The Dewey Decimal System is a relic of the past, books have gone from paper to screen, and public libraries are closing. So what remains of our literary childhood? If you are an '80s kid, like...
Caricature of Mark Twain on the Mississippi River by John Sherffius If you could have a drink with any writer, living or dead, who would it be? It’s not a new question per se (in fact we put it to the public at last year’s National Book Festival ), but it never really gets old. I am often guilty of...
Book in the Snow by flickr user SPDP At this point, beach reading has become its own literary genre: light, uplifting, and not heavy enough to cloud over a day in the sun. But what about winter reading? What do we reach for when the days are short, the nights are long, and our main objective is to...
Zaira James performs at the Brooklyn Open. James is a member of the Urban Word's Word Wide Youth Leadership Board. Photo by Brenda Williams-Butts "I love the two-way aspect of [The Big Read]. We give and we get, and the public gives and gets from it, too." --- Brenda Williams-Butts One of the...
Dave Brubeck at work. Photo by Tom Pich NEA Jazz Master Dave Brubeck died last week just a few days shy of his 92nd birthday. Thankfully, the NEA captured his soulful spirit on tape which you can listen to here in these very short NEA Jazz Moments featuring Brubeck and his music. A few years later...
Reading in Bed by flickr user Artotem Last week, as part of The Pirate's Alley Faulkner Society's Big Read , Washington Post book critic Jonathan Yardley gave a lecture on the "art of reading." While we weren't there to hear his talk, we thought we'd share a few insights on reading from some of our...
J. Patrick Lewis. Photo by Robert Donaldson After years of working as an economics professor at Ohio’s Otterbein College, J. Patrick Lewis picked up a passion that made little economic sense: children’s poetry. In 1998, he turned to writing full-time, and has since published some 80 books and...
Portrait of Henry James. Used by permission of Billy Hathorn Okay, he wasn't really from outer space. But you'll hear where that title comes from when you listen to today's post featuring Irish novelist Colm Toibin; Big Read author, Cynthia Ozick ( The Shawl ); and larger-than-life critic, Gore...
Rashawnda Williams and Dr. Jill Biden at Do the Write Thing, a benefit organized by 826DC. Photo courtesy of Ms. Williams At the tender age of 16, Rashawnda Williams has already had quite the literary career. A senior at Washington’s Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Williams doubles as the Young...
Luis Alberto Urrea. Photo by Nicole Waite As I hope everyone knows, The Big Read is growing once again. Earlier this month, we introduced three new titles: The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri, True Grit by Charles Portis , and Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea. While I'm excited by all three...

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