The Great American Read

You don’t have to be 21 or even a citizen to cast your vote to choose “America’s Best-Loved Novel” from the 100 novels already chosen by the public. People have already cast their votes to the tune of nearly 2 million.

Host Meredith Vieira said, “People tend to forget how wonderful it is to fall in love with a piece of fiction.”

If the panel is any indicator, the multi-part series which features reflections by ordinary people as well as entertainment, sports, news and literary figures, will prove inspirational for writers as well as readers.

Consider Diana Gabaldon who learned how to not get writer’s block after while finishing her dissertation on (as simplistically translated from science speak by her husband) “Why Birds Build Nests Where They Do and Who Cares Anyway.” She was working two full-time jobs and had three children under the age of nine and got up and worked until 4 in the morning to write her first novel, “Outlander.” “I keep track of every word I write. The only bottom line is you just keep writing.” And you don’t need to have a plan. “I don’t plan books out ahead of time,” but works on bits and pieces before putting them all together. “I don’t write in a straight line.”

Gabaldon’s impetus for writing was turning 36. “I was 36 years old; at 36, Mozart was dead.” What became her first book wasn’t meant to be a book at all, “‘Outlander’ was my practice book.” Now that it is a TV series, more people are reading it. “You can’t have better advertisement for a book than a TV show.”

Like Gabaldon, Nicholas Sparks’ first novel, “The Notebook,” is on the list. He works by writing after coffee until 3 p.m., when the kids are out of school.  With his characters, Sparks believes, “less is more.” On the main character, Noah, he said, “I have no idea what he looks like. He looks like Ryan Gosling.”  But he also noted that television and movies are different. “In a movie, people like the story to end.” So he is fine with how the ending was changed in the movie because “people don’t like open ended movies.”

Of course, the panelists, which included actor, blogger and writer, Wil Wheaton, had favorites. There was no question which book (actually a series) Eliyannah Yisrael, creator of the YouTube series “Hermione Granger and the Quarter-Life Crisis” is voting for. She is “a proud Ravenclaw,” although “I was absolutely certain I was a Gryffindor.” She was actually 20 years old and assigned to check out Harry Potter by her mother who was concerned that the book was “too dark” for her 11-year-old brother. Twenty-four hours later, she had finished the first book, convinced that Hermione was “my long-lost twin sister” and totally hooked.

Executive producer Jane Root doesn’t feel that “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Vieira commented, “It would say something about our culture if it did.” Wheaton will be voting for “Dune” and he hoped Russia was listening. You can listen to people talking about these books on “The Great American Read,” Tuesdays, September 11 through October 23.

How to Vote:

1) – Go to pbs.org/greatamericanread – Click on “Vote” – Choose your favorite book 2) – Select your favorite book’s hashtag below – Post the hashtag on Facebook, or – Tweet the hashtag on Twitter

3) – Select your favorite book(s)’ hashtag below – Text it to 97979. Vote once a day, every day for every one of your favorite novels on the list.

List of Books

  1. 1984 George Orwell #VOTE1984
  2. A Confederacy of Dunces John Kennedy Toole #VOTEDuncesBook
  3. A Prayer for Owen Meany John Irving #VOTEOwenMeany
  4. A Separate Peace John Knowles #VOTEPeaceBook
  5. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Betty Smith #VOTEBrooklyn
  6. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Mark Twain #VOTESawyer
  7. The Alchemist Paulo Coelho #VOTEAlchemist
  8. Alex Cross Mysteries (series) James Patterson #VOTEAlexCross
  9. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Lewis Carroll #VOTEAlice
  10. Americanah Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie #VOTEAmericanah
  11. And Then There Were None Agatha Christie #VOTEAndThen
  12. Anne of Green Gables Lucy Maud Montgomery #VOTEGables
  13. Another Country James Baldwin #VOTECountryBook
  14. Atlas Shrugged Ayn Rand #VOTEAtlas
  15. Beloved Toni Morrison #VOTEBeloved
  16. Bless Me, Ultima Rudolfo Anaya #VOTEUltima
  17. The Book Thief Markus Zusak #VOTEBookThief
  18. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao Junot Díaz #VOTEOscarWao
  19. The Call of the Wild Jack London #VOTECallWild
  20. Catch-22 Joseph Heller #VOTECatch22
  21. The Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger #VOTECatcherRye
  22. Charlotte’s Web E.B. White #VOTECharlotte
  23. The Chronicles of Narnia (series) C.S. Lewis #VOTENarnia
  24. The Clan of the Cave Bear Jean M. Auel #VOTECaveBear
  25. The Coldest Winter Ever Sister Souljah #VOTEWinterBook
  26. The Color Purple Alice Walker #VOTEColorPurple
  27. The Count of Monte Cristo Alexandre Dumas #VOTEMonteCristo
  28. Crime and Punishment Fyodor Dostoyevsky #VOTECrimeBook
  29. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Mark Haddon #VOTECurious
  30. The Da Vinci Code Dan Brown #VOTEDaVinci
  31. Don Quixote Miguel de Cervantes #VOTEQuixote
  32. Doña Bárbára Rómulo Gallegos #VOTEBarbara
  33. Dune Frank Herbert #VOTEDune
  34. Fifty Shades of Grey (series) E.L. James #VOTE50Shades
  35. Flowers in the Attic V.C. Andrews #VOTEFlowers
  36. Foundation (series) Isaac Asimov #VOTEFoundation
  37. Frankenstein Mary Shelley #VOTEFrankenstein
  38. A Game of Thrones (series) George R.R. Martin #VOTEGOT
  39. Ghost Jason Reynolds #VOTEGhost
  40. Gilead Marilynne Robinson #VOTEGilead
  41. The Giver Lois Lowry #VOTETheGiver
  42. The Godfather Mario Puzo #VOTEGodfather
  43. Gone Girl Gillian Flynn #VOTEGoneGirl
  44. Gone with the Wind Margaret Mitchell #VOTEGoneWind
  45. The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck #VOTEGrapesWrath
  46. Great Expectations Charles Dickens #VOTEGreatExpect
  47. The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald #VOTEGatsby
  48. Gulliver’s Travels Jonathan Swift #VOTEGulliver
  49. The Handmaid’s Tale Margaret Atwood #VOTEHandmaid
  50. Harry Potter (series) J.K. Rowling #VOTEPotter
  51. Hatchet (series) Gary Paulsen #VOTEHatchet
  52. Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad #VOTEHeartDark
  53. The Help Kathryn Stockett #VOTETheHelp
  54. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams #VOTEGalaxy
  55. The Hunger Games (series) Suzanne Collins #VOTEHungerGames
  56. The Hunt for Red October Tom Clancy #VOTERedOctober
  57. The Intuitionist Colson Whitehead #VOTEIntuition
  58. Invisible Man Ralph Ellison #VOTEInvisible
  59. Jane Eyre Charlotte Brontë #VOTEJaneEyre
  60. The Joy Luck Club Amy Tan #VOTEJoyLuck
  61. Jurassic Park Michael Crichton #VOTEJurassic
  62. Left Behind (series) Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins #VOTELeftBehind
  63. The Little Prince Antoine de Saint-Exupéry #VOTEPrinceBook
  64. Little Women Louisa May Alcott #VOTELittleWomen
  65. Lonesome Dove Larry McMurtry #VOTELonesome
  66. Looking for Alaska John Green #VOTEAlaska
  67. The Lord of the Rings (series) J.R.R. Tolkien #VOTELOTR
  68. The Lovely Bones Alice Sebold #VOTELovelyBones
  69. The Martian Andy Weir #VOTEMartian
  70. Memoirs of a Geisha Arthur Golden #VOTEGeisha
  71. Mind Invaders Dave Hunt #VOTEInvaders
  72. Moby-Dick Herman Melville #VOTEMobyDick
  73. The Notebook Nicholas Sparks #VOTENotebook
  74. One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel García Márquez #VOTE100Years
  75. Outlander (series) Diana Gabaldon #VOTEOutlander
  76. The Outsiders S.E. Hinton #VOTEOutsiders
  77. The Picture of Dorian Gray Oscar Wilde #VOTEDorian
  78. The Pilgrim’s Progress John Bunyan #VOTEPilgrims
  79. The Pillars of the Earth Ken Follett #VOTEPillars
  80. Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen #VOTEPridePrej
  81. Ready Player One Ernest Cline #VOTEPlayer1
  82. Rebecca Daphne du Maurier #VOTERebecca
  83. The Shack William P. Young #VOTETheShack
  84. Siddhartha Hermann Hesse #VOTESidd
  85. The Sirens of Titan Kurt Vonnegut #VOTESirens
  86. The Stand Stephen King #VOTETheStand
  87. The Sun Also Rises Ernest Hemingway #VOTESunRises
  88. Swan Song Robert R. McCammon #VOTESwanSong
  89. Tales of the City (series) Armistead Maupin #VOTETalesCity
  90. Their Eyes Were Watching God Zora Neale Hurston #VOTEWatchingGod
  91. Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe #VOTEFallApart
  92. This Present Darkness Frank E. Peretti #VOTEDarkness
  93. To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee #VOTEMockingbird
  94. The Twilight Saga (series) Stephenie Meyer #VOTETwilight
  95. War and Peace Leo Tolstoy #VOTEWarPeace
  96. Watchers Dean Koontz #VOTEWatchers
  97. The Wheel of Time (series) Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson #VOTEWheelTime
  98. Where the Red Fern Grows Wilson Rawls #VOTERedFern
  99. White Teeth Zadie Smith #VOTEWhiteTeeth
  100. Wuthering Heights Emily Brontë #VOTEWuthering
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