Literary Quote of the Month

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Big Read! Are You Reading with People from YOUR Community?!

Bringing a Community Together by Reading a Good Book!

Are you reading with your community this fall? Since 2006 The NEA (National Endowment for the Arts), along with the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and Arts Midwest has provided grants to 800 not-for-profit organizations to organize and promote Big Read events. This year 75 non-profit organizations including arts & cultural organizations, libraries and universities will share in a $1 million grant to host Big Read events between Sept. 2010 and June 2011. For me, nearby Ridgefield, CT. is playing host (thanks to Ridgefield Playhouse applying for and being awarded part of the NEA grant) and that's the community I'll be joining (along with my reading group) to participate in this years Big Read. What's our Big Read? The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck! We'll be reading The Grapes of Wrath, but the book will also serve as a stepping stone to learning more about the period of history the book takes place- in this case the depression era. There will be lectures, book discussions, film screenings, and exhibits, and in "my community" even a concert by the local orchestra including music composed during the same time period as The Grapes of Wrath.

Who chooses "The Books"? "A distinguished group of writers, scholars, librarians, critics, artists, and publishing professionals" recommends the books for the Big Read. This year there are 31 choices which include classics, international authors, poets, and a short story collection. You can find the full list of books at the Big Read Book Page. There are links on the book page for each book's brief description, reading guide, teachers guide, and a link to a radio show where the book is discussed. You can listen to the radio show right from the book page, or you can subscribe in iTunes for free.

Want to know if your community or a community close to you is participating?! You can learn more about The Big Read and use the search engine at the NEA Big Read Website to find a participating community. Even if there isn't a Big Read event near you, you can still enjoy reading one of the great books and find great resources to expand on what you've read.

I'll be cracking the spine on my copy of The Grapes of Wrath soon! Have YOU read The Grapes of Wrath? On Sept. 22nd, my reading group will be attending the first Big Read Event at the Ridgefield Library where "Dr. Mark Schenker, Associate Dean at Yale, will present a scholarly background lecture on John Steinbeck and "The Grapes of Wrath." Let me know if you're reading something for The Big Read!


Ashley Daoust said...

I'm in Denver, CO, and we don't do the Big Read, but we have a city-wide initiative called One Book, One Denver, which is kind of similar - it's tagged as a city-wide book club, and there are discussion groups all over. It's the mayor's initiative. Folks vote on their choice of three books to read, and the top choice is announced in September. We all put the mystery book on hold and then we can each go pick up a copy that day and start reading, as a community. I think it's pretty cool! You can learn more here, if you're curious:

Suzanne said...

Hi Ashley!
Thanks so much for the link to One Book, One Denver! I think it's great that the mayor decided to create his own reading promo! The selection of books is great too! I'm rooting for The Help by Kathryn Stockett- I just loved it! I'll be posting the link later this weekend so everyone can take a look! I also was reading some of the comments about the selections, and thought how the point of "One Book" programs is to encourage whole communities to talk and share their thoughts through a common thread and how some people lose sight of that.

my read shelf:
Suzanne's book recommendations, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

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