The Big Read, One Book - One Community

Past Titles

2013: Great Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe, 1809-1849, was the master of the horror tale. From his best-known works including The Raven, The Cask of Amontillado and The Tell-Tale Heart, Poe's work is guaranteed to deliver shivers.

2012: The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

The 2012 Big Read title, The Maltese Falcon is considered one of the best detective novels of all time. Brilliantly written, it's a thriller, a love story and a dark, dry comedy. The 1930 classic was Dashiell Hammett's third novel.

If you like noir fiction, check out the "If You Like The Maltese Falcon..." booklist.

2011: Voices of Conflict: the American Civil War

Big Read 2011, Voices of Conflict: The American Civil War, focused on multiple titles by local and national authors in honor of the Civil War's 150th Anniversary.

See the Big Read 2011 - Voices of Conflict: the American Civil War booklist for titles.

KSMU presents readings of letters and journals written during the Civil War.

Read more about the impact of the Civil War in the Ozarks at Community & Conflict.

2010: A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck

What happens when Joey and his sister, Mary Alice, -- two city slickers from Chicago -- make their annual summer visits to Grandma Dowdel's seemingly sleepy Illinois town? The story is set during the Great Depression and captures the self-reliance and independence of a feisty grandmother.

Recollections and Connections podcasts

Interview with Richard Peck -- Listen now...

2009: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird

This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel explores in a profound and riveting way the two broad themes of tolerance and justice. Narrated through the voice of a young girl nicknamed Scout, the novel treats the first through the children's fear of their mysterious neighbor and the second with her attorney father Atticus's courage in defending a black man falsely accused of raping a white woman in the Jim Crow south of the 1920s. "To Kill a Mockingbird" was published in July 1960 to highly favorable reviews and quickly climbed the bestseller lists, where it remained for 88 weeks. In 1961, the novel won the Pulitzer Prize. The film, starring Gregory Peck, premiered in 1962, and won Oscars for best actor, screenwriter and set design. In 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech and in 1964 won the Nobel Prize. Forty-nine years after the publication of the book, America elected its first African-American president.

2008: The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg

The View from Saturday

Introducing the Souls — Noah, Nadia, Ethan and Julian, and their teacher Mrs. Olinski. From rescuing struggling baby sea turtles on the beaches of Florida to discovering kindness within others, these former "underdogs" and their teacher embark on a journey that not only brings them together, but helps them to realize their own full potential, not to mention win the state Academic Bowl. You don't have to be the most popular, a genius or a super athlete—you just have to give yourself and others a chance to shine.

2007: The Man Who Loved Clowns by June Rae Wood

The Man Who Loved Clowns

Meet eighth-grader Delrita Jensen and her uncle Punky, a 35-year-old man with Down syndrome. After moving with her parents to Tangle Nook, Missouri, Delrita, in constant fear that someone will discover the secret she's hiding, struggles with her own feelings about what it means to be different. As Delrita faces one of the most traumatic experiences of her life, she learns the hard way that it's okay to open oneself up to others and that happiness and love are feelings worth working for. Along the way, readers will meet a delightful cast of characters, including Avanelle and Tree Shackleford, siblings from a family that just moved to town and who have their own secret to hide, and Aunt Queenie and Uncle Bert, a childless couple who open Delrita's heart to unconditional love and understanding. You'll feel right at home in this story which takes place in the heart of the Ozarks, as they accompany Punky to McDonalds and step back in time at everybody's favorite theme park, Silver Dollar City.

2006: Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

Charlotte's Web

Wilbur, the pig, is desolate when he discovers that he is destined to be the farmer's Christmas dinner until his spider friend, Charlotte, decides to help him. This award-winning novel, first published in 1952, explores the themes of true friendship and the value of being trustworthy through the relationship of a likable pig and his loyal spider friend.

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