Here it is! The round to end all rounds! Which book from The Great American Read will be crowned as my all-time one-and-only champion?!?!
In the first corner, one of history’s most beloved novels, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE! Written by Jane Austen, this book is the basis for one of history’s greatest romance tropes, enemies to lovers. It has sparked countless remakes, adaptations, and inspired-bys. Readers continue to fall in love with Mr. Darcy (and Colin Firth) and see themselves reflected in the quick wit and dry humor of Elizabeth Bennett.
In the other corner, HARRY POTTER! It is impossible, friends, to overstate the impact Harry Potter has had on my generation. When I was in fifth grade kids who had never finished a book were clamoring to read my teacher’s copy. It made a generation of readers. And as adults we are having the chance to read this series to our kids. Its message of friendship, love, and magic is timeless, and its humor and emotions still ring true. We will always be re-reading this book.
Is it in bad taste to continue this series after the actual March Madness tournament has been cancelled due to Covid-19? Or is it comforting to have something goofy and light? I hope the second, because here I am.
For those of you just tuning in, this March I’m celebrating my apathy for basketball but my love for brackets with a “tournament” pitting the top 16 books from The Great American Read against each other. What is the point? 1) To declare the ULTIMATE WINNER of the BEST BOOK OF ALL TIME 2) Because I really like brackets. Making a buzzfeed bracket (or whatever the current favorite site is…) didn’t appeal to me, so here we are.
These are my Final Four favorite books. There was some heartbreak last round (saying goodbye to The Lord of the Rings and Little Women), but this round will bring in some VERY difficult choices. All the books remaining are books I truly love, and they are all quite different from one another. It’ll be like comparing apples and oranges, but I will suffer through it. (For the record, apples are better.)
[in deep announcer voice] LADIES AND GENTLEMAN! Weeeellllcome to Booooookish March Maaaaadness!!! *wild cheering*
Okay, maybe not, but hi there! Thanks for reading again! Or, for those of you who are here for the first time, welcome. I’m making some room in your basketball filled social media feeds with some bookish content.
This week, it’s down to the Elite Eight! These books from PBS’s Great American Read have survived one round, but who will be the ULTIMATE CHAMPION?!?! (aka my personal favorite)
*singing* I don’t know anything about basketball, except that MY TEAM BEAT BAYLOR. La-la la-la la-la laaaa.
Sorry it’s out of my system I think. *cough* Baylor sucks *cough*. Hem, on to books now, shall we?
As an antidote to the annoying phenomenon that is seeing your social media fill up with people who don’t know anything about sports talking about “their bracket,” this month I’m hosting my OWN March Madness tournament. The top 16 books from The Great American read will face off in a match to the DEATH to see which will be MY FAVORITE BOOK. Why? I don’t know, because brackets are fun. *shrugs*
Feel free to give me your thought on the match-ups in the comments. Am I right, or wildly wrong? Did I not do justice to your all-time favorite book? This wouldn’t be sportsball if we didn’t end up in an almost-fist-fight for our team!
So here we are with Week 1, the Sweet Sixteen. [insert generic sports-buzzer-sound here]
To Kill a Mockingbird vs. The Help
Oh, you guys are going to hate me. I read To Kill a Mockingbird maybe five or six years ago and I liked it, but I didn’t love it. Like, I get why it’s a super important book and everything, but I just didn’t really connect with Scout. Her overly simple way of seeing the world frustrated me. And maybe that’s the point, but there it is. On the other hand, I ADORE The Help. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it’s just one of my favorite pieces of historical fiction. Which is saying something, because I love historical fiction. I was so inspired by the women in this book, especially Aibileen.
Hey all you boys and girls out there! I don’t know about you all, but I can’t get enough of brackets. I love doing all those stupid online brackets to see which Disney movie I like best, or what my favorite Taylor Swift song is, or literally anything except sports. And since I fully expect my social media feed (if I was on social media anymore…) to be flooded with basketball content for the next month, I thought I would go ahead and throw a bookish bracket out there for you all! (But mostly for me, lol)
So I was thinking about what kind of bracket I would want to do, and I had lots of ideas. YA Paranormal Romance, Time Travel, Classics, Dragons! But … basically I realized I wasn’t going to have time to do all of that reading. Next year I’ll have to start in July! Haha.
Anyway, I was thinking about what I could do without having to do a bunch of extra reading. And, BOOM, it hit me! About two years ago I was completely obsessed with The Great American Read. If there’s anything I like better than brackets, it’s lists!! Amazon Top 100, BBC Books to Read Before You Die, Great American Read, I’ve done them all. I never usually am able to check off more than twenty or so, but The Great American Read happened to have a lot of books I love on it. Then, AFTER THAT, I was so in love with the show that I went out there and read more! There’s still a few on my tbr, but I’m hopefully getting to them this year.
Seriously, The Great American Read was a great mini-series, and it’s still available on PBS’s website. If you love books and you love PBS you have to watch it!
So here it is, my 2020 March Madness Bookish Edition Bracket!
In 1949, four Chinese women, recent immigrants to San Francisco, begin meeting to eat dim sum, play mahjong, and talk. United in shared loss and hope, they call themselves the Joy Luck Club. With wit and wisdom, Amy Tan examines the sometimes painful, often tender, and always deep connection between these four women and their American-born daughters. As each reveals her secrets, trying to unravel the truth about her life, the strings become more tangled, more entwined…
If you only enjoy plot-driven novels, The Joy Luck Club is definitely not for you. I don’t know if “novel” is even the most accurate description, it was more like character vignettes. Possibly fictional essay collection. Regardless of what you want to call it, the book follows four Chinese immigrants and their daughters, and explores what it means to be a mother, daughter, and Chinese-American by looking at snapshots moments of their lives. Continue reading “Review: The Joy Luck Club”→
PBS recently launched a show called The Great American Read. I’ve already gone into absurd amounts of details in other posts, so I’ll spare the repeat visitors, and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, click here. Okay, that’s done.
Anywho, one of the major pluses of actually watching the show instead of just reading the list was that people were talking about why they loved a book. And clearly I’m a sucker for people telling me they loved a book. I’m a book blogger. So there’s now a kajillion books that I like, HAVE to read, that I can’t believe I’ve never read before, and that I’m hitting myself trying to figure out when I’m going to squeeze them in.
I just don’t think I had any idea what this book was about. I’ll be honest, I thought it was by Ernest Hemingway, who I can’t stand, so I have no one to blame but myself. They read aloud a short passage, and it sounded so touching and heartbreaking and amazing. Continue reading “PBS Made Me Read It”→
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
Things Fall Apart
The Catcher in the Rye
The Color Purple
Gone With the Wind
Pride and Prejudice
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! Continue reading “The Great American Read Recap”→
This week I stumbled on an ad for a new show: The Great American Read on PBS. It airs this week on Tuesday, and I’m so excited! They’ve picked 100 favorite books, and assembled a bunch of mini-documentaries about the books, why we love books, and how authors write books. Then we get to vote to choose America’s favorite book! YAY!
Based on the preview, the list looks like it has a lot of variety, from classics to very new, YA, kids, adult, science fiction, fantasy, a little bit of everything. I’m really looking forward to whatever the show has to tell us about these books, listening to favorite authors talk about their favorites, and (of course) casting my own vote!