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The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.


iRead: The Big Read Kickoff

iRead: Big Read Feature

The Great Gatsby 1974 Movie Trailer

The Great Gatsby 2013 Movie Trailer

The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby may be the most popular classic in modern American fiction. Since its publication in 1925, Fitzgerald's masterpiece has become a touchstone for generations of readers and writers, many of whom reread it every few years as a ritual of imaginative renewal. The story of Jay Gatsby's desperate quest to win back his first love reverberates with themes at once characteristically American and universally human, among them the importance of honesty, the temptations of wealth, and the struggle to escape the past. Though The Great Gatsby runs to fewer than two hundred pages, there is no bigger read in American literature.

Source: NEA Big Read Reader's Guide

The Big Read Blog

Bringing the Big Read to the People

Canal Fest

October is a great time of year to enjoy many of the outdoor festivals taking place around the city. Over the next two weekends The Big Read will be at Canal Fest and Music on Main Street at Whistlestop Plaza.

Three Questions: Anna Godbersen

Anna Godbersen

Anna Godbersen is a YA historical novelist from Brooklyn NY and a visiting author during Irving's Big Read. Ms. Godbersen has two fiction series in print, The Luxe, set in the 1890s during America's Gilded Age, and Bright Young Things, set in Manhattan during the Roaring Twenties. Both series center on a group of young socialites, and their intrigues. For young people looking for their next book to read after The Great Gatsby, take our recommendation and pick up a copy of Bright Young Things.

Three Questions: Dr. Elliot Engel

Dr. Elliot Engel

Dr. Elliot Engel, noted lecturer, will be one of this year's Irving Big Read distinguished speakers. His presentation, "The Rise and Fall of F. Scott Fitzgerald" will explain how the author's background influenced the writing of The Great Gatsby, and later how the novel impacted his life. We asked Dr. Engel three questions about his visit.

Tweeting the Great Gab Fest

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Reading a great book is fun, but it's often a solitary pursuit. Meeting others to discuss a great book adds to the pleasure, but who has the time? This month you can discuss our 2013 Big Read selection, The Great Gatsby and still fit it in your busy schedule.

Three Questions: Dr. Joan McGettigan

Joan McGettigan

For many Americans, their first exposure to the story of Jay Gatsby of West Egg is through one of the six film versions. Many older adults may prefer the 1949 adaptation starring Alan Ladd or perhaps the 1974 production with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow. In 2013 a younger generation was introduced to The Great Gatsby in the stunning adaptation by director Baz Luhrmann, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Dr. Joan McGettigan, Associate Professor at TCU's College of Communications, knows her Gatsby, having recently written Gatsby, What Gatsby for the online publication Bright Lights Film Journal. We asked three questions about Gatsby at the movies and her upcoming visit to the Big Read stage.

Three Questions: Gail Carson Levine

Gail Carson Levine

Gail Carson Levine is a children's author of such titles as Ella Enchanted (1997) and The Princess Tales series of books. Gail's novel Dave at Night (1999) tells the story of orphaned Dave Caros and his journey to find a home in 1920s New York City. Among the accolades for Dave at Night include American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults and New York Public Library Best Children's Books of the 20th Century. We selected this outstanding novel as the children's alternate selection for this year's Big Read.

Irving in the 1920s


Kevin Kendro, the City of Irving's Archivist, has the enviable position of collecting memories and restoring artifacts from our city's rich past. Kevin took time to provide us this glimpse into life in Irving ninety years ago, in the time of Jay Gatsby.

Suggested Books

book cover

We hope after finishing this year's Big Read selected novel, The Great Gatsby, you'll be inspired to read more. Fiction specialist Carla Morgan offers this annotated list of novels with similar themes, characters, settings and authors writing in the same time period as Fitzgerald. Enjoy.

Kickoff Events

Pet Parade

This year we're having three times the fun by hosting three events to start our month long Big Read program. Whether you enjoy jazz and classic cars, Houdini-inspired magic or dressing up to parade your favorite pet, we have something for everyone! Besides all the fun to be had, you can pick up a free copy of this year's selection, F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, The Great Gatsby, or alternative books for children, Dave at Night by Gail Carson Levine, while supplies last.

About the Big Read


Let's raise our glasses for a toast. The occasion is the Big Read and the man of the hour is the infamous millionaire Jay Gatsby. With a beguiling smile he draws us into F. Scott Fitzgerald's tragic tale of lost love, excess, and disillusionment. Whether it's your first time, or perhaps one too many times, the story is too compelling to resist, because there is no bigger read in American literature.

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