The NEA Big Read – This Boy’s Life

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The NEA Big Read – This Boy’s Life

September 7 - October 24

The National Steinbeck Center and the Salinas Public Library are proud to receive an NEA Big Read grant to host a community read on Tobias Wolff’s memoir This Boy’s Life. From early September to mid-October, we will host a variety of events to discuss and explore themes covered in the book. Please check back on our website and follow us on social media for more information. For specific questions, please email

Ways to get involved:

Read This Boy’s Life

Challenge your family to a reading contest, start a book club, or join your neighbors in reading This Boy’s Life. We want as many people in Monterey County to read This Boy’s Life. Here is the book description from the NEA Big Read’s website:

Tobias Wolff’s memoir, This Boy’s Life (Grove Press, 1989), is a story about a mother and son trying to survive in 1950s America. Separated from his father and brother and without good male role models, Wolff struggles with his identity and self-respect when his mother moves the two of them across the country. They eventually settle in northern Washington where Wolff finds himself in a battle of wills with a hostile stepfather. Wolff’s various schemes—running away to Alaska, forging checks, and stealing cars—lead to an act of self-invention that releases him into a new world of possibility.

Attend NEA Big Read Events

By August, a full schedule outlining movie screenings, theatre performances, book discussions and more will be posted. Attend one or more (the more the merrier) events! Follow us on social media to see updates and schedules.

Help us spread the word

Rally your friends, family members, and coworkers to join you in reading This Boy’s Life. Help us spread the word about the NEA Big Read and the accompanying events.

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