The Big Read is a countrywide program funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. It is similar to the One Book, One Community event where a community reads the same book and comes together to discuss it. Each Big Read book has an accompanying radio program and I recently discovered that my library has these programs on CD. At only around 30 minutes each, the programs contain excerpts from the book (read by a celebrity), comments from scholars and authors, a brief bio of the author and appropriate musical selections. This week I listened to the programs on The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and My Antonia and today I started A Farewell to Arms. I love listening to these! It is fascinating to hear about the backgrounds of these famous novels and to hear about the lives of their authors and what events influenced them and in turn influenced their work. It feels like I am back in college in my literature classes. I feel energized and excited by literature after listening. So far, I’ve really enjoyed the program on My Antonia the best – it was very moving. I did cry. And now I must read My Antonia all over again! If you get a chance to hear any of these programs, do. They’re really quite wonderful. You can listen to all of them on the NEA website.