Jack London's The Call of the Wild is a singular classic. It is a great novel that can be appreciated by readers of all ages, as well as a philosophical book that provides an action-packed adventure. Oddest of all, it is an experimental novel (half of the characters are canine, including the hero) that is a thrilling pleasure to read. No wonder this American novel has never lacked readers—both here and abroad.
The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts designed to revitalize the role of literary reading in American popular culture. Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America, a 2004 NEA report, identified a critical decline in reading for pleasure among American adults. The Big Read addresses this issue by bringing communities together to read, discuss, and celebrate books and writers from American and world literature.
A great book combines enlightenment with enchantment. It awakens our imagination and enlarges our humanity. It can even offer harrowing insights that somehow console and comfort us. Whether you're a regular reader already or making up for lost time, thank you for joining The Big Read.
Sled dogs in the frozen wilderness (Copyright Paul Souders/Corbis)
London with his dog, Rollo, 1885 (Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens)