The Big Read Blog (Archive)

What's On Your List?

Books by Picaland

The holidays are fast approaching! We decided to ask our Big Read grantees what's on their reading lists---maybe something new they've been saving for vacation, or an old favorite they like to revisit around this time of year. Are there books they're planning on giving their bibliophile friends and family (or, hoping to receive)?

Edith G. Craig, DeKalb Public Library (DeKalb, IL): "I just finished up The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins. They were recommended by a friend who is crazy about the series being turned into a movie. I saw the movie trailer and immediately went to pick up the first book. I was hooked! I read the three books in one weekend! They are well-written and the character narration makes you feel every bit of turmoil or happiness that the heroine is going through. I highly recommend them (and I will be gifting them to my sister who's a big action/adventure fiend).?

Rachel Peterson, Quincy Public Library (Quincy, IL): "I am reading Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell because I saw the movie and wanted to know if the book would have more details. Plus, I wanted to read something thrilling, scary, and hopeful."

Corby Skinner, SkinnerBeloit Public Relations (Billings, MT): "Melanie Rae Thon has two new books: The Voice of the River, a novel; and In This Light, selected stories. Shann Ray's book of short stories, American Masculine, is also terrific---dark but beautiful. Alyson Hagy's short story collection, Ghosts of Wyoming, won the 2011 High Plains Book Award for fiction."

David Plunkett, Jefferson-Madison Regional Library System (Charlottesville, VA): "The Hairstons: An American Family in Black and White. A fascinating look at race relations in America for the past several hundred years, told through the history of both sides of one family, both the slave owners and the enslaved peoples and their descendants."

Veronica Murphy and Walter Ritter, Write Out Loud (San Diego, CA): "We've been reading LOTS of Holiday Collections in preparation for our December program. Many of the pieces we'll present we newly discovered this year (Robert Frost's Christmas Trees, Taylor Caldwell's My Christmas Miracle, Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl S. Buck, E.B. White's Remembrance is Sufficient, The Worst Christmas Story by Christopher Morley) and others we've been keeping on our list for inclusion when the program suits (A Chaparral Christmas by O. Henry, A Parakeet Named Dreidel by Isaac Bashevis Singer and Christmas Every Day by William Dean Howells). We've been wanting to fit in Chekov's Vanka for several years but it always gets eliminated because it's just too sad for a family holiday program.

We are looking forward to reading more Tobias Wolff, John Mortimer, Sylvia Townsend Warner, Evelyn Waugh, Chitra Diva Karuni (I'm afraid our list is eclectic and never-ending).

We will likely give a new Patricia Pollaco book to our granddaughter, because the stories are rich with family and beautifully illustrated, and The Discoverers by Daniel Boorstin to our teenage grandson. (He is NOT a reluctant reader).

Evelyn T. Silliman, St. Catharine College (St. Catharine KY): "I am reading Just in Case by Meg Rosoff, followed by two of Wendell Berry's novels, Nathan Coulter and Hannah Coulter. The institution I work for is considering these for our fall 2012 Freshman Read."

Randy Gadikian, SUNY Fredonia (Fredonia, NY): "I am reading Chess Story, also known as The Royal Game, by Stefan Zweig. This is the last work by the Austrian writer and humanist before his death by suicide. Chess Story is a good complement to The World of Yesterday, also by Zweig, a book that narrates distinct periods of Zweig's life during the tumultuous period from 1900 to post-World War II. Many claim that The World of Yesterday is Zweig's autobiography, but he steadfastly denied this was the case.

Ben Strand, Young Auditorium (Whitewater, WI): "Twain?s Feast: Searching for America's Lost Foods by Andrew Beahrs, in preparation for our fourth Big Read!"

Thanks to all of our Big Read grantees for participating! For more information on The Big Read and our participating communities, please visit The Big Read website.


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