The Big Read Blog (Archive)

The Age of Innocence

Washington, DC Edith Wharton courtesy of the Library of Congress. The Age of Innocence is a novel to be sure. But it also reads like a historical document, recreating in remarkable detail New York?s celebrated Gilded Age. Wharton herself grew up among New York?s elite society, which isn?t...
Washington, DC Edith Wharton, courtesy of Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscripts Library. Edith Wharton writes like a librettist composes operas, or like a sculptor builds structures. Today, we take a look at (and a listen to) the lasting effect of Wharton's...
Washington, DC Book cover courtesy of Modern Library, a division of Random House, Inc., New York. As playwright David Ives notes on The Age of Innocence audio guide , ?sitting down with this novel is like sitting down next to the most wonderful dinner guest who knows all of the guests at the party...
Washington, DC "First Dusting" by David Hoffman via Flickr You've finished all of the selections in the Big Read library---now what? Well, if you're like me, then you'll search out other titles by the authors that you've come to know after weeks of reading, discussing, and celebrating. Here are...
Washington, DC Edith Wharton. Photographer and date unknown. From Library of Congress collection Though in her lifetime, she saw her reputation wax and wane, Edith Wharton's name is very familiar to contemporary readers and---thanks to celluloid versions of The Age of Innocence , Ethan Frome , and...
Washington, DC "The Teacher" by Kevin Dooley via Flickr While you may not be able to judge a book by its cover, sometimes you can tell an awful lot about a book from its first line. Or can you? Here are the first lines from five of the titles in The Big Read library. Can you guess which novels...
Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania The New York City skyline, circa 1904. Photo by William Herman Rau , from Library of Congress collection. When Dr. Ferda Asya, Associate Professor of English at Pennsylvania?s Bloomsburg University, approached the Bloomsburg Public Library staff about organizing a Big Read...
March 29, 2010 Washington, DC Undated portrait of Edith Wharton from Library of Congress collection Although Edith Wharton's writing chronicled the milieu of early 20th century, upper class New York, I think one of the qualities that makes her a "classic" writer is that the concerns addressed in...
Washington, DC View from my bus stop after the last round of snow in metro DC. Here in Washington, DC, we're preparing for snow. As I ponder a weekend spent indoors with a lovely pile of books (thank goodness I'm not in charge of shoveling!), how fortuitous to stumble upon this quote by Edith...
Washington, DC Portrait of Edith Wharton, photographer unknown. From the collection of the Library of Congress. Although on the surface Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence and Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club may not seem to have much in common, each novel is---in its own way---an investigation of the...

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