Big Read Connects Tucson Officially Launches Today!

Hello Big Readers! Today is September 1st, which means today marks the official launch of Big Read Connects Tucson!

Over the next nine months, through May 2016, Literacy Connects and all of our community partners will be bringing you a host of events and activities to help you get connected to Edgar Allan Poe.

To kick things off, we thought we’d introduce something fun that will be going on throughout the program that anyone can get involved in. Big Read Connects Tucson wants everyone to read Poe. What better way to do that than to give away free books.

Introducing the “POEfound” project! Throughout the program we will be leaving Poe anthologies (and a few surprises) at various places around town for you to find. Coffee shops, park benches and theater chairs are all fair game, so keep your eyes open.

What’s the catch? All we ask is that you read your POEfound book and share with us where and when you found it, and anything else that you would like on our Big Read Connects Tucson Facebook page. On the inside front cover of each of these books you will find a sticker with some guidance on how to connect with us. Play along and have fun!

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We hope you are as excited about this as we are. Take a look at our Partner list and Event page for more ways to get involved. If you have any more fun, Poe-inspired ideas or plans by all means share that with us. Poe dinner party? Awesome! Poe costume contest? Perfect! Poe choral reading? Why not!

Don’t forget to follow our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages as well to get connected from #HeadToPoe.

Decode Poe

We’ve got a fun challenge for you today: Decode Poe.

Cryptograms were widely used during the Victorian era to protect information via secret messages. Letters and messages were encrypted to ensure secrecy in communications.  The military, diplomats, businessmen, and even secret lovers used these ciphers in the safety of anonymity.

Poe was a self-declared master cryptographer, solving nearly 100 ciphers submitted to Graham’s Magazine by his readers. He used cryptography as a primary plot point in “The Gold Bug” (1843), which revolves around a cipher that contains information about a buried treasure. What’s more — “The Gold Bug” is still used in universities as instruction material for cryptography classes.

“Decoding Poe,” presented by The University of Texas at Austin is a fun look at Poe’s cryptograms. Try your hand by using the steps Poe outlines in the “The Gold-Bug” to solve cryptographs developed from “The Black Cat,” “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” and “The Tell-Tale Heart.”

Want more? Check out our “For Fun” page for more activities and to learn about the quirky Mr. Poe.