The Big Read is a nationwide literacy program of the National Endowment for the Arts, with the goal of bringing back literary reading (as opposed to People magazine reading, I suppose) to American popular culture. Cities and towns across the country have chosen annual Big Read books, then sponsored a month of parties, readings and other participatory events to highlight and celebrate adult literary reading.
Metro Atlanta has celebrated The Big Read for three years now, spearheaded by the Atlanta History Center's Literary Center at the Margaret Mitchell House. This year's reading is The Stories and Poems of Edgar Allen Poe, appropriately creepy for the Halloween month. The kickoff event is a Masquerade Ball at the Atlanta History Center on October 14, and a ton of free events for all ages are happening in following weeks, including several book chats at intown bookstores and library branches, and a Poe film festival (The Fall of the House of Usher and The Masque of the Red Death). The NEA has produced a fascinating podcast about Poe's writings featuring Richard Wilbur, Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) and others -- click the Play arrow next to Edgar to listen now, or download it from iTunes.
The Edgar Allen Poe radio show on The Big Read
I haven't quite decided how we'll celebrate The Big Read here in the library, but I'm thinking maybe a lunch of Poe film shorts, poetry reading (MMM, maybe) and definitely a raven or two. Watch for details by October 14.
Until then, I'll leave you with this short film of The Tell Tale Heart. Guilt, my friends, is hard on the psyche. Life a clean life, and stay sane. Or not . . .
Read more information about this short film on its Vimeo page.