The search for the Earthly Paradise, a better life, perfect happiness—all of these have affected the nations and peoples of our hemisphere. And it is those hopes (and often the resulting disillusionments), that inform much of the epic fiction of the Western Hemisphere.
“New American Worlds” offers an opportunity to explore the epic tradition in the literature of the Americas through reading and discussion. The books selected for this series, representing different regions of the Americas, are united by their mythic grandeur, and by the sweep and audacity of their authors’ imaginations.
- One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
- Absalom! Absalom! by William Faulkner
- Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
- Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
The humanities scholar’s essay was written by Margaret Sayers Peden, Professor Emeritus, University of Missouri, Columbia.
Download the scholar’s essay, annotated book list, and supplementary texts (PDF). Please note: The American Library Association is the copyright owner of this essay and annotations. The credit lines embedded in the program materials and/or sponsor and funder logos must remain on all published (print and web) materials derived from these materials.
How-To Discussion Programming Guides
Developed to aid participants in “The Millennium Project for Public Libraries,” this how-to guide (PDF) provides basic information about developing and promoting book discussion programs.
When planning a “Let’s Talk About It” program, you may wish to consult the planner’s manual (PDF) for general how-to information about program format, selecting a scholar, promoting your series, evaluation, and more.