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 Top 40 Books in The Great American Read

The Great American Read has reached TWO MILLION votes in the search for America’s best-loved novel. (That’s an average of  only 16,600 votes a day!)  It’s still anyone’s game! Below are the TOP 40 BOOKS from the list of 100 that are currently leading the pack. 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.

TOP 40 BOOKS

(LISTED IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER, NOT BY VOTE RANKING)

1984
A Prayer for Owen Meany
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
And Then There Were None
Anne of Green Gables
Atlas Shrugged
The Book Thief
The Catcher in the Rye
Charlotte’s Web
The Chronicles of Narnia (Series)
The Clan of the Cave Bear
The Color Purple
The Count of Monte Cristo
The Da Vinci Code
Dune
Gone with the Wind
The Grapes of Wrath
Great Expectations
The Great Gatsby
The Handmaid’s Tale
Harry Potter (Series)
The Help
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
The Hunger Games (Series)
Jane Eyre
The Little Prince
Little Women
Lonesome Dove
The Lord of the Rings (Series)
Outlander (Series)
The Outsiders
The Pillars of the Earth
Pride and Prejudice
Rebecca
The Stand
To Kill a Mockingbird
Where the Red Fern Grows
Wuthering Heights

The Great American Read returns to PBS starting on Tuesday, September 11, 2018, with 7 new episodes airing weekly on Tuesday nights at 8/7c.  The winner will be revealed in the final episode on Tuesday, October 23, 2018.

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

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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Books Referenced in OITNB

If you love Orange Is The New Black, you are no doubt familiar with the bookish-ness of the show. Not only is the show based on the published memoir of Piper Kerman, but the characters consistently reference and are shown reading modern books from the real world. Often the books hold significance, either to the plot line or to the development of the characters – either way, the books are significant.

With the release of the 5th season of OITNB (June 9th), we revisited the first four seasons and compiled a list of the books mentioned throughout the show.

Find our commentary comparing the memoir Orange Is The New Black to the Netflix Original series here.  Visit the Books of Orange is the New Black tumblr account, or BookRiot, for more on the books read and referenced in the show. Continue reading