2018 Lake County Big Read - Book Selection Survey
The NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) designed to broaden our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. Each year the NEA selects different organizations from around the country to receive a grant to host an NEA Big Read Project.

The Lake County Library is planning to submit a grant for a program during the month of October 2018. Please read the descriptions below and then choose which book you would most like to see selected for the Big Read in Lake County, CA.

Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea
The U.S.-Mexico border is not just a line on a map; it is a dream-like destination and departure point, surrounded by desperation and expectations. "No one writes more tragically or intimately about border culture than this son of a Mexican father and Anglo mother," journalist Bill Moyers said of Luis Alberto Urrea, author of numerous works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. In his third novel, Into the Beautiful North, Urrea transcends the "us against them" discourse of immigration and writes with compassion, complexity, and humor about the people and places caught up in the border wars. Urrea invites us to think of the border as more than a stark divide between nations: he reminds us that it is a place of convergence where meaningful conversations, and even love, between cultures begins.
From NEA Big Read: https://www.arts.gov/partnerships/nea-big-read/into-the-beautiful-north
The Round House by Louise Erdrich
Award-winning author and Minnesota bookstore owner Louise Erdrich hails from North Dakota and is a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians. "While Erdrich is known as a brilliant chronicler of the American Indian experience," writes Reader's Digest, "her insights into our family, community, and spiritual lives transcend any category." Erdrich's 14th novel, The Round House (Harper, 2012), tells the suspenseful tale of a 13-year-old boy's investigation and desire for revenge following a brutal attack on his mother that leaves his father, a tribal judge, helpless in his pursuit to bring the perpetrator to justice. "Erdrich threads a gripping mystery and multilayered portrait of a community through a deeply affecting coming-of-age novel" (O, The Oprah Magazine). "A preeminent tale in an essential American saga" (Booklist, starred review). "This novel will have you reading at warp speed to see what happens next" (Star Tribune).
From NEA Big Read: https://www.arts.gov/partnerships/nea-big-read/the-round-house
The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
The award-winning author of nine works of fiction and a former reporter for The Washington Post, Tim O’Brien had what some would call a typical 1950s American childhood in rural Minnesota before he was sent to fight in Vietnam as a foot soldier in 1969. Published in 1990 to vast critical acclaim and written with the help of a National Endowment for the Arts creative writing fellowship, The Things They Carried, a novel about his experiences in that war, has sold well over two million copies worldwide and was a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. More recently, the book was included among Amazon.com’s “List of 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime” and was credited as the inspiration for a National Veterans Art Museum exhibit of the same name in Chicago. The book is part memoir, part fiction, and O’Brien―the original master of truthiness―wishes you luck figuring out which is which. It’s a “marvel of storytelling which matters not only to the reader interested in Vietnam but to anyone interested in the craft of writing” (The New York Times). It’s “controlled and wild, deep and tough, perceptive and shrewd” (Chicago Sun-Times) and based on how it continues to resonate with audiences, particularly among young readers, it undoubtedly “stands the test of time” (PBS NewsHour).
From NEA Big Read: https://www.arts.gov/partnerships/nea-big-read/the-things-they-carried
When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka
Julie Otsuka's When the Emperor Was Divine follows one Japanese family uprooted from its Berkeley home after the start of World War II. After being delivered to a racetrack in Utah, they are forcibly relocated to an internment camp. They spend two harrowing years there before returning to a home far less welcoming than it was before the war. Using five distinct but intertwined perspectives, Otsuka's graceful prose evokes the family's range of responses to internment. Culminating in a final brief and bitter chapter, Otsuka's novel serves as a requiem for moral and civic decency in times of strife and fragmentation.
From NEA Big Read: https://www.arts.gov/partnerships/nea-big-read/when-the-emperor-was-divine
Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast
Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, written by Roz Chast, a longtime cartoonist for the New Yorker, is a “tour de force” (Elle), “remarkable” (San Francisco Chronicle), “revelatory” (Kirkus), “deeply poignant and laugh-out-loud funny” (New York Times), and “one of the great autobiographical memoirs of our time" (Buffalo News). A finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the Kirkus Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Books for a Better Life Award, the memoir tells the story of Chast’s parents’ final years through cartoons, family photos, found documents, and narrative prose. “So many have faced (or will face) the situation that the author details, but no one could render it like she does” (Kirkus). “Anyone who has had Chast’s experience will devour this book and cling to it for truth, humor, understanding, and the futile wish that it could all be different" (St. Louis Post-Dispatch). “I want to recommend it to everyone I know who has elderly parents, or might have them someday" (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel).
From NEA Big Read: https://www.arts.gov/partnerships/nea-big-read/cant-we-talk-about-something-more-pleasant
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