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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.

Patricia McDonnell Saves 'Angle of Repose'

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I am Patricia McDonnell and I am director of the Wichita Art Museum.

I chose the one book that I could pull out of the fire of books: Wallace Stegner's Angle of Repose, because it is this unfolding incredible epic about the settling of the West in the 19th century and it places the settling of the West against the sophistication and civilization of the East.

And it's also a book that weaves together many different narratives simultaneously. So it's the story of a husband and a wife, but it is also the story of one of their grandchildren who is a history professor but, recently divorced and on the outs from his university, he thinks as a way to resuscitate himself he'll write a biography of his grandmother. And so just the intertwining of all these personal dramas is really quite amazing as well.

I think the myth of the West is something very powerful for all Americans and to discover in a book like Stegner's Angle of Repose how people really lived in the settling of the West as opposed to this fairy tale John Wayne version of the West was so profound. It tells such a captivating story through a couple of sturdy complex incredible individuals.