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Big Read
00000179-cdc6-d978-adfd-cfc6d7a40000The National Endowment for the Arts' "Big Read" looks to encourage literacy by holding community events around the country celebrating a single book each year. This year's book selection is Into the Beautiful North" by Luis Alberto Urrea, which follows a nineteen-year-old woman who travels to the United States to bring back seven men--including her father--to help defend her Mexican village from danger.Of course, the stories of people who come to this country are wide and varied, and many of those stories live right here in Wichita. Over the next few weeks, we'll hear some of those stories. Follow them below.-The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts designed to revitalize the role of literature in American culture and bring the transformative power of literature into the lives of citizens. The Big Read brings together partners across the country to encourage citizens to read for pleasure and enlightenment.

Clare Vanderpool Saves 'Hannah Coulter'

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I'm Clare Vanderpool, and I'm a mom and I'm a writer. I have chosen Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry because I think if we're talking about a culture in which stories are suppressed, this is a book all about story and our connection to story, our connection to place. It's the story of a life, in my estimation, a life well-lived.

So I think it kind of shows us not only how to live but also gives us a chance to see how one character reflects back on that life.

Wendell Berry writes stories that all take place in this fictional town of Port William, Kentucky.

And all the stories are interconnected, the characters are all interconnected, You can read a story that takes place in 1910 and you'll find relatives of characters that you find in a much later story. They are interconnected in some way. So this particular one-- Hannah Coulter--she's in her 70s and she's reflecting back on her life. She has been... she's had two marriages, she's had children, her first husband was killed in war, she remarries and at this point in her life she's alone. Her children all have moved away. Her second husband has passed away. And she's reflecting back on her life, sorting through and sifting through these memories.

And I just find that very interesting especially in a time when I think our ability to and inclination to reflect is somewhat limited. You know we don't really allow ourselves much time or space or quiet. It not only gives us a window into a life well-lived with purpose and meaning and love but it also I think teaches us how to reflect on that life. And express great gratitude.