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Big Read Book Club Guides

The Big Read was created by the National Endowment for the Arts. With these Book Club Guides, NEA hopes to inspire people across the country to pick up a good book, listen to radio programs, watch video profiles, and read brief essays about classic authors. Each Kit available for check out includes a Teacher's Guide, A Reader's Guide and an Audio Guide. Each Guide is an excellent and systematic enhancement to your own reading pleasure as well as your book club's discussion. Contact the Information Desk at the Library Commission to check out these items:
    by phone: 800/307-2665
    by email: Information Services Team

Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Humor, trouble, and adventure follow Tom Sawyer everywhere-from the banks of the Mississippi to the brink of death and back in Mark Twain's first full novel.

Age of Innocence, The by Edith Wharton
In 1870s New York, Newland Archer and his fiancée seem the perfect match. But when the alluring Countess Ellen Olenska returns home from Europe, Newland must make the most important decision of his life.

Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
In one of the most respected works of Chicano literature, Rudolfo Anaya tells the story of Antonio Juan M�¡rez y Luna, a young boy who grapples with faith, identity, and death as he comes of age in New Mexico.

Call of the Wild, The by Jack London
Abducted from his comfortable home and sold as a sled dog, Buck battles the elements to become leader of the pack. This story of a struggle for survival is an unforgettable adventure.

Death of Ivan Ilyich, The by Leo Tolstoy
Leo Tolstoy's Ivan Ilyich is a Russian judge and middle-class everyman. Struck down by disease at forty-five, Ivan discovers a horrifying truth: He has not lived a meaningful life.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury -- Nebraska Library Commission has 25 copies
In one of literature's most haunting denunciations of censorship, Ray Bradbury uses the materials of science fiction to tell the story of Guy Montag, a fireman forced to burn books.

Farewell to Arms, A by Ernest Hemingway
A story of love and pain, loyalty and desertion, Ernest Hemingway's World War I novel features the tragedy of an American ambulance driver on the Italian front and his passion for a beautiful nurse.

Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
A Dust Bowl saga of the Joad family's rough passage to California and the rougher treatment they find there, John Steinbeck's novel is tragedy and comedy, story and allegory, editorial and epic.

Great Gatsby, The by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Told through the eyes of narrator Nick Carraway, F. Scott Fitzgerald's lyrical masterpiece recounts Jay Gatsby's desperate quest to win back his first love as he struggles to recapture the past.

Heart is a Lonely Hunter, The by Carson McCullers  -- Nebraska Library Commission owns 8 copies
A teenage outcast, a drunken socialist, a black doctor, and a sad café owner confess their secrets to a deaf-mute, in Carson McCullers's dramatic story of poverty and racism in a 1930s Georgia mill town.

Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson
When Ruth and her sister Lucille are abandoned in the isolated Idaho town of Fingerbone, their lives become intertwined with the legacy of loss that haunts the Foster family.

Joy Luck Club, The by Amy Tan
In sixteen interwoven stories, Amy Tan's characters-four Chinese immigrant mothers and their American-raised daughters-struggle to connect despite the ghosts and secrets of the past.

Lesson Before Dying, A by Ernest J. Gaines  -- Nebraska Library Commission has 7 copies / 1 book on cassette
A frustrated schoolteacher in 1940s Louisiana tries to give a condemned man back his dignity before he dies. Vivid and compassionate, this novel asks: Knowing we're going to die, how should we live?

Maltese Falcon, The by Dashiell Hammett
Detective Sam Spade becomes embroiled with a mysterious client, avenges the death of his partner, and chases a priceless treasure in this classic American private-eye novel.

My Antonia by Willa Cather -- Nebraska Library Commission has 11 copies
The spirited daughter of a Bohemian immigrant family plans to farm the untamed Nebraska land. Willa Cather's tale comes to us through the eyes of Ántonia's childhood friend, Jim Burden.

Old School by Tobias Wolff
At a New England prep school where keeping up appearances is everything, Tobias Wolff's youthful narrator learns the painful difference between truth and fiction.

Shawl, The by Cynthia Ozick
Rosa Lublin is a Holocaust survivor whose memories of a Nazi death camp continue to traumatize her thirty years later. Cynthia Ozick's heartbreakingly empathic novella achieves one of fiction's loftiest goals: giving readers insight into a stranger's heart.

Sun, Stone and Shadows edited by Jorge F. Hern�¡ndez
This anthology presents a superb selection of the finest Mexican short stories ever written, and offers a glimpse into a diverse and fascinating culture. Authors include Juan Rulfo, Octavio Paz, Rosario Castellanos, and Carlos Fuentes.

Their Eyes were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
Zora Neale Hurston's vibrant novel presents Janie Mae Crawford's growth from a voiceless teenage girl into a woman who takes charge of her own destiny.

Thief and the Dogs by Naguib Mahfouz
Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz's psychological thriller follows a thief's quest for revenge down the boulevards and back alleys of Cairo.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
As Harper Lee's narrator, Scout Finch, tries to draw out a reclusive neighbor, she bears witness to a racially charged trial that shapes the character of her Alabama community.

Washington Square by Henry James
The timeless story of a young girl's desire to please both her disapproving father and the man she loves, this novel follows Catherine Sloper's remarkable transformation from a meek wallflower to a steadfast woman true to her convictions.

Wizard of Earthsea, A by Ursula K. Le Guin
In the first book of Ursula K. Le Guin's widely admired fantasy series, only the power of language can restore balance to a dangerous world.

For more information, contact Lisa Kelly.