The Big Read

1342548690hDo you know about The Big Read?

I’d forgotten about it until it was referenced in an email from the Ohio Historical Society. Two years ago, in Charlottesville VA, the library system there was participating in The Big Read with Dashell Hammet’s The Maltese Falcon, which –by serendipity– I had just finished reading. It was rather like walking into a party to which I had not only been invited but at which I was expected.

As you know, I like guided book reading suggestions and seeing the full title list suggested by The Big Read got me all booky excited again.

The Big Read is a program coordinated by The National Endowment for the Arts. They’ve selected some twenty books or so that ride the fence between literary and popular literature, novels that are approachable by most adult readers. I find their book list to be diverse in topics, ethnicity and human experience. Also, they’re fairly short, The Grapes of Wrath being by far the longest. The intent of the program is to get adults excited about reading again, and if there is a program involved near you, you will find that it involves movies, theater, lectures, audio, etc.

Turns out that I’ve read quite a few of these, so I’m walking around right now with my thumbs in my suspenders strutting my reading druthers. My Big Plan for the The Big Read is to participate by reading the others on this list.

My initial pick — by dint of being the first book I got my grubby hands on — is True Grit by Charles Portis. It has never occurred to me before to read a Western, so already I’ve expanded my reading experience. Also, it’s short and I’ve already finished it. :)cover_true_grit

Which of these have you read? (Below is a screenshot. use the link to find the whole list.) Will you plan to read any of these in the next few months? If you will allow me to, I’d like to extend an encouragement to join me in The Big Read. Pick one, read, talk about the book and The Big Read. bigreadbooks

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6 thoughts on “The Big Read

  1. I’ve read several on the list — The Great Gatsby is a favorite and so is To Kill a Mockingbird. I read Le Guin so long ago I feel I should revisit the Earthsea books and Their Eyes Were Watching God is the same. A Farewell to Arms was so so, really depressing I thought, but I’m glad I fought through in the end. I wonder if I can find a copy of The Maltese Falcon in the next few weeks. I’m thinking I could make that a holiday read, cuz I really don’t have enough books in my life. :)

  2. What a great idea. True Grit is supposed to be an excellent novel. One of my friends read it and recommended it to me a while ago. I also don’t normally read westerns although I did read the Sisters Brothers and loved it so I should probably give this a try too.
    Lynn :D

  3. I have read several, of which Mockingbird and Earthsea are my favorites, also some poems and stories from Dickenson, Longfellow, and Poe (as I am sure all of us have.)

    I feel about Grapes of Wrath as you did about Farewell to Arms, Amy. Still I am glad I read it.

    I recently read the last of LeGuin’s now-6-book Earthsea “trilogy.” That is, the most recent. She’s in her 80′s now, but I do still hope there is more to come. That 6th book is The Other Wind, in which Ged and Tehanu are growing old. An extraordinary and deeply moving masterpiece.

    Among those I have always INTENDED to read, and haven’t yet :-\ are Tom Sawyer and something by Henry James. Maybe I’ll get those done now. Who knows, maybe some others too.

    Excellent piece of information, Lady Darkcargo!

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