Images from the Picturing America collection celebrate scenic as well as man-made wonders—those carved by the forces of nature and those crafted by human ingenuity. Some also suggest the ways in which human experience is shaped, even defined, by place.
The books chosen for “Places in the Heart” present a similar message and are set in an urban ghetto (Brothers and Keepers), along one of the great scenic rivers in North America (A River Runs through It), and in small towns from Colorado (Plainsong), to Iowa (Gilead), to Maine (Empire Falls). In each, there is a deep connection between the characters and their surroundings, between them and the places they call home.
Empire Falls by Richard Russo
A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean
Brothers and Keepers by John Edgar Wideman
Plainsong by Kent Haruf
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
Related Picturing America Images
5A—View from Mt. Holyoke (the Oxbow) by Thomas Cole
5B—Cover Illustration for The Last of the Mohicans by N.C. Wyeth
8A—Looking Down Yosemite Valley, CA by Albert Bierstadt
9A—The Veteran in a New Field by Winslow Homer
11A—John Biglin in a Single Scull by Thomas Eakins
13A—Brooklyn Bridge, 1929 by Walker Evans
13B—Autumn Landscape—River of Life by Louis Comfort Tiffany
14B—Brooklyn Bridge, 1919–20 by Joseph Stella
16B—Fallingwater by Frank Lloyd Wright
19A—Freedom of Speech by Norman Rockwell
19B—Selma-to-Montgomery March for Voting Rights in 1965 by James Karales
20A—Cityscape I by Richard Diebenkorn
20B—Ladder for Booker T. Washington by Martin Puryear
The project scholar was Suzanne Ozment, Ph.D., Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Professor of English, University of South Carolina Aiken.
Download the scholar’s essay and recommended reading list (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.