Under the direction of Deb Van Duinen, Assistant Professor of Education, Hope College planned its second year of the Big Read, a project developed around the theme "an entire community reading one book together" to focus on sharing the untold stories of their community members. The organization chose to read The Things They Carried
O’ Brien after finding out there were a large number of veteran organizations in their community.
Through multiple book discussions, including a visit from the author himself, public events, and programs in partnership with local high schools, community members gained a deeper understanding of one another and even brought a sense of healing to some of its residents.
A multiple award-winner, the novel has sold more than two million copies and has been
translated into several languages. In 2005 The Things They Carried
was named by
the New York Times as one of the 22 best books of the last quarter century. It received
the Chicago Tribune Heartland Award in fiction and was a finalist for both the Pulitzer
Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. The French edition of The Things
received one of France’s most prestigious literary awards, the Prix
du Meilleur Livre Etranger. The title story from The Things They Carried
the National Magazine Award and was selected by John Updike for inclusion in “The
Best American Short Stories of the Century.”
Local professional artist (Joel Schoon Tanis) collaborated with 10 area school classrooms in the painting of large illustrative art panels (each panel illustrates the themes in each chapter - the one displayed in the upper right corner is about the Rainy River).
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