My Top Picks For The Great American Read

Image result for the great american readThe Great American Read is an eight-part series that explores and celebrates the power of reading, told through the prism of America’s 100 best-loved novels (as chosen in a national survey). All of the books that made the list are truly great, but only one can be named The Great American Read.

Read our last post to see which 40 Books are leading the race, and find a list of my favorites listed below. If you don’t see your book, there is still time to change that. You can vote for your favorites each day until Thursday, October 18, 2018 at midnight PT, when voting closes. Click here to vote now.

The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood

The 1984 book explores the issues of womens rights, religion, and individual liberties. Atwood conceived the novel as ‘speculative fiction,’ (similar to Louis Lowry’s The Giver), works that imagine a future that could conceivably happen without any advances in technology from the present. In other words, she said, “Science fiction has monsters and spaceships; speculative fiction could really happen.” Every aspect of the book was inspired by social and political events of the early 1980s, but remains poignant because we can imagine this happening today.

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby is a classic choice for The Great American Read because it is an archetypal representation of The American Dream: if you work hard enough, you can succeed. The story primarily concerns the young and mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby and his passionate obsession with a married Daisy Buchanan. Considered to be Fitzgerald’s magnum opus, The Great Gatsby explores themes of decadence, idealism, resistance to change, social upheaval, and excess, creating a portrait of the Roaring Twenties that has been described as a cautionary tale regarding the American Dream.

The Help, Kathryn Stockett

People should read The Help because it is real. Though it is a work of fiction, it is based on true events. The story is about African Americans working in white households in Jackson, Mississippi, during the early 1960s. Kathryn was born in 1969 in Jackson and grew up in a household with a black housekeeper.  The story was based on her experiences growing up and it was just adjusted to occur in the 1960s in the midst of the civil rights movement.  A beautifully written but painful story steeped in American history.  It tells the story of black household workers in the South in the early 1960s—domestic helpers who take great risks by sharing stories about what it’s like to walk a mile in their shoes. Their tales not only reveal the great sense of empowerment that comes from sharing and having your voice heard, but also remind us of the greatness of the real women who do this work today under sometimes terrible conditions. It is a novel about empowered, heroic women taking a stand for human rights during the civil rights era. It was also adapted into a movie in 2011.

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The Great American Read

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The Great American Read is an eight-part series that explores and celebrates the power of reading, told through the prism of America’s 100 best-loved novels (*as chosen in a national survey).  It investigates how and why writers create their fictional worlds, how we as readers are affected by these stories, and what these 100 different books have to say about our diverse nation and our shared human experience. The series is the centerpiece of an ambitious multi-platform digital, educational and community outreach campaign, designed to get the country reading and passionately talking about books. Continue reading

What Should I Read?

If you love to read, and read a lot, it can be hard to find well-written books that meet the standards of a bibliophile. Even harder when the bibliophile is looking for something specific.

We all have specific tastes; we know what we like, and what we don’t like. With the advent of online book selling, I can’t tell you how many times I have ordered a book based on the description, only to find upon arrival that it wasn’t quite what I was looking to read.

Below, we have compiled a list of websites that can help you find exactly what you are looking to read! Continue reading

FLAVORWIRE’S Ultimate Literary Calendar

Ever have a hard time keeping track of those hard-to-remember literary dates? Need a theme for your party, but don’t know what to celebrate? Want to know which famous author died on your birthday? If you have any of these common concerns, relax. Flavorwire has come to your rescue with an enormous infographical literary calendar, complete with a literary event for every day. Even the random ones. So without any further ado, behold the epic Flavorwire literary calendar — and never go without a literary event to celebrate again. Continue reading

Library Thing: TLAPD Literary Treasure Hunt

*EDIT: Answers have been revealed (IN CAPS).

LibraryThing is an online service to help people catalog their books, while connecting them to a community of like-minded book lovers. LibraryThing (known by users as LT) is a great resource for new book suggestions, bookish news, or learning about literature. Similar to Goodreads, LT functions as a virtual library, and connects you to the libraries of others. (Find our Goodreads profile here; Our LibraryThing profile here.)

LibraryThing offers powerful tools for cataloging and tracking your books, music, AND movies. LT has access to the Library of Congress, six national Amazon sites, and more than 1,000 libraries worldwide — making LT a highly extensive database. Users can search, sort, and “tag” books, or use various classification systems (including the Library of Congress, Dewey Decimal, or other custom systems) to organize their collections. LibraryThing is also a great social networking space, allowing users to see other peoples’ libraries, including libraries similar to yours, making it easy to swap reading suggestions and make recommendations. Users are encourages to sign up to win free books through our Early Reviewers and Member Giveaways programs.

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Support Local San Diego Bookshops

UntitledBibliophiles fear the day when brick-and-mortar stores are phased out and e-books rule the market. Those of us addicted to collecting paper books and maintaining our bookshelves know that the age of the book is not dying; rather, books are fast moving to the digital sphere. And we don’t like it. Regardless of the benefits offered by technology, our nostalgic hearts yearn for the smell of worn pages and the sensation of flipping through a thick volume – neither of which can be fulfilled by e-readers.

I am not alone in that I still prefer a printed, paper book to the now popular e-book devices (Kindles, iPads, or Amazon Readers). Though the industry is quickly shifting from paper to electronically based products and transactions, the book is not dying. Continue reading

Little Free Library Project

Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization that inspires a love of reading, builds community, and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world.

Through Little Free Libraries, millions of books are exchanged each year, profoundly increasing access to books for readers of all ages and backgrounds.

Each ‘library’ is free and open to the public. Each offers a selection of books for passersby to take, and will have space for the community to participate by leaving or exchanging books of their own at each little free library.

Little Free Libraries play an essential role by providing 24/7 access to books (and encouraging a love of reading!) in areas where books are scarce.

Every Little Free Library is uniquely crafted and filled with an exclusive array of books, different every time. Read about the history behind the LittleFreeLibrary here, and enjoy our selection of some of the most recently shared LittleFreeLibraries on Instagram below:

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Orange Is The New Black, Season 5 Episode 7: Poussey’s Library

 

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Orange Is The New Black routinely pays homage to its form, by referencing books throughout the entire Netflix original series. After the first season, the show heavily diverges from the truth of the memoir it was based on, though the show still makes an effort to honor books by including them in the characters lives. Not only do inmates rely on story to get through their incarceration, but their incarceration becomes a story (ie. Orange Is The New Black: A Memoir by Piper Kerman).

OITNB may weave a tall tale, but a tale that is rooted in truth. Although the lives of Chapman and the other inmates depicted on the show are fictitious, they are based on real people in true situations. The show brings to light real issues that exist within the prison system, and educates us while entertaining us.

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