Here’s a recent find by my colleague, Connie:
My book group decided to revisit some of the classics. I picked My Antonia to read. This story by Willa Cather is about a young immigrant girl and her family who settle in the American plains during the Western Expansion a century ago.
While I was debating whether to read or listen to the book, I stumbled across a series of audio guides called “The Big Read.” The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts and is designed to get people reading and discussing the same book within their community. (See The Big Read web site for more information.)
These audio guides are approximately 30 minutes long and include recordings of well-known personalities discussing a particular title. In An Introduction to My Antonia by Willa Cather, Garrison Keillor reads some beautifully evocative passages from the book, and Gen. Colin Powell and author James McBride share the impact the book had on their lives. I also enjoyed listening to the granddaughter of the immigrant that Antonia is based on talk about her grandmother, Anna Sadilek Pavelka.
I used the guide as an introduction before I read the book, and I played portions of it during my book discussion meeting.
The library currently has 14 of these wonderful guides for such books as The Great Gatsby, Their Eyes Were Watching God, The Grapes of Wrath, Fahrenheit 451, and The Joy Luck Club.
Check out the Big Read series — it just might inspire you to read or reread one of these classics.
Check the WRL catalog for My Antonia.
Check the WRL catalog for An Introduction to My Antonia by Willa Cather.