Last night PBS launched a new mini-series called The Great American Read. They have compiled a list of the 100 most popular books in America, and over the course of the summer have asked viewers to vote for their favorite. The winner will be crowned Americas Favorite Book. The 2-hour launch was last night, and they touched on all 100 books. They featured some books over others, interviewing celebrities and authors about their favorite books.
Here are some of the books they featured:
- The Lord of the Rings
- Tom Sawyer
- Things Fall Apart
- Harry Potter
- The Catcher in the Rye
- The Outsiders
- Gulliver’s Travels
- The Color Purple
- Gone With the Wind
- Charlotte’s Web
- Pride and Prejudice
- Invisible Man
- Bless Me, Ultima
- Tales of the City
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
- To Kill a Mockingbird
- The Great Gatsby
I loved listening to people talk about why they love a book and how it impacted their lives, sometimes in huge ways. Because of the show I’ve added several books to my tbr, and I’m itching to re-read a few that I might not have completely understood in my younger years!
The experience of watching The Great American Read was amazing, in part because I got on Twitter and followed the hashtag obsessively. People were live-tweeting, and talking, and encouraging others to vote for their favorites. I loved when people would bring up a book they loved that didn’t make the list. I’d be like, “Oh, yeah, that IS a great book!” If you’re interested in joining the discussion, the hashtag is #GreatReadsPBS. There is also a facebook page where PBS is leading discussions and hosting a book club. Here are a couple of my favorite tweets from the night: (yes, I’m including one of my own, get over it, I’m a freaking genius :P)
Librarians are live-tweeting the #GreatReadPBS like sports fans live-tweeting the NFL playoffs.
— greggwinsor (@greggwinsor) May 23, 2018
— Never Not Reading (@NNRblog) May 23, 2018
Is it a coincidence that many of these books were turned into movies? Jurassic Park, The Martian, Gone Girl, The Notebook, etc. Were they turned into movies because they were popular? Are they popular because they were turned into movies? Both? #GreatReadPBS @PBS
— Ashley Hasty (@AHastyLife) May 23, 2018
I am loving the #GreatReadPBS right now. And the best part is that it blends “pop” books with the traditional classics, because both are vital to literature. A popular modern book isn’t better or worse than the ones we read in school – what matters is that it matters to someone.
— Amanda Prahl (@storyologist_ap) May 23, 2018
While featuring Harry Potter, they interviewed the creator of Hermione Granger and the Quarter Life Crisis on YouTube. Guys, I don’t watch a lot of YouTube, but I’m already subscribed on every platform there is to subscribe on. Check out the trailer! (warning, language)
And of course, no bookish discussion can take place without some serious issues coming up. Meredith talked about banned books, the power of books featuring minorities, women having to pretend to be men just to get published, books that we love but have PROBLEMS with the way they represent people, and the power of books to get kids learning. In the fall episodes I hope they are able to go more in-depth on these discussion and issues, because to me personally all of that was way more interesting than listening to yet another person sing the praises of Frankenstein or Stephen King.
Voting will happen all summer long. You can vote for as many different books as you want, and you can vote once a day. If you’re interested (I’m not) you can vote as many times as you like using twitter hashtags. If you’re interested in voting for your favorite book, vote here. I’m voting for The Lord of the Rings and Pride and Prejudice! And I’m so thrilled I get for both and don’t have to try and pick, lol.
My prediction? The winner will either be To Kill a Mockingbird or The Great Gatsby. We’ll have to stay tuned to find out.
Finally, you can watch the launch episode on PBS’s website by clicking here. If you didn’t get a chance to tune in last night, I hope you take the time to watch. It was so worth it!