As a librarian and an author, books have played a big role in my life. When I heard about the Great American Read, an outreach campaign by PBS that aims “to get the country reading and passionately talking about books,” I was excited to participate in this endeavor. I organized a display in my library of some of the 100 titles that were nominated and will be voted upon through the summer. These books range from classics such as Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice to contemporary works like Gone Girl and the Da Vinci Code. Childrens and Young Adult books as well as Science Fiction, mystery, and Horror tales are represented. In addition, the complete Harry Potter series and James Patterson’s Alex Cross mysteries are listed with a few other multi-book sets.The title receiving the most votes will be announced in the fall. During the voting period, PBS will run a series featuring a discussion about the novels by celebrities, authors, and book readers across the nation. The launch episode, hosted by Meredith Vieira, can be viewed on the Great American Read website where you can find the 100 titles and cast your votes: https://www.pbs.org/the-great-american-read/
The website also features an opportunity to share your own story about how a novel changed your life and a Facebook group you can join to discuss books with fellow readers:
While I applaud PBS for their effort to excite people about reading, there are many titles that didn’t make the cut to the list that I believe were worthier than others that did. I realize the difficulty of choosing only 100 novels from the sheer number of books published in the U.S. The choices excluded non-fiction and poetry. Some of of my favorites that weren’t featured are listed below:
- The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (time-travel romance made into a popular movie)
- Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (tear-jerker novel also made into a movie)
- Time and Again by Jack Finney (classic time-travel book featuring historical photographs, also a film)
- The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (popular classic children’s book and movie)
- The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (childrens/young adult book)
- The Eight by Katherine Neville (This chess-themed mystery that features some chapters taking place during the French Revolution had a following in the 1970’s)
- The Magic Treehouse Series by Mary Pope Osborne (popular children’s time-travel series that is much requested at libraries and one that my daughter loved when she was younger.)
- Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (Great Expectations made the list, but this one is my favorite)
- The Cat Who Series by Lilian Jackson Braun (The only cozy mystery on the list is Agatha Christie’s And then there were None. This is one of my many favorite cozy series)
- The Winter People by Phyllis Whitney (although maybe not as popular as the others, this was the first gothic romance that I read as a teen that got me interested in authors such as Victoria Holt and Barbara Michaels).
What about you? Are there any books that you consider your own great reads? I’d love to see your comments.