The Home and Garden Journal of Kayla Pins

My Great American Read Obsession

My Great American Read Obsession

Is anyone else following The Great American Read?

I stopped by the library and the librarian mentioned it and now I’m OBSESSED. PBS interviewed a gazillion people and came up with a list of the top 100 favorite American novels. The books were presented on PBS Tuesday night and there will be events on television and at libraries throughout the summer. Americans are supposed to vote for their favorite novel and it will be revealed this fall.

I have never been able to relate to people who watch March Madness, fight over the Superbowl, or vote for American Idol, but I’m totally sucked into this. How am I to pick a favorite? (How is a person to pick a favorite child?!) How have I not read so many of these books? WHAT IF 50 SHADES OF GREY WINS?!

I love that authors I love introduced the books on the show, like Bryan Stevenson introducing To Kill a Mockingbird. I watched with my list and added stars next to the ones I want to read. I’m so excited to get started on my summer reading!

I can’t imagine picking a favorite, but only three of my favorite top five are on the list: Gone with the Wind, To Kill a Mockingbird, and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. You can vote for one book every day, so I will have to rotate through. Neither The Bell Jar or The Double Bind is on the Top 100 list.

Other favorites missing from the list include:

  • Cider House Rules
  • The Diary of Anne Frank (although now I see that only fiction could be on the list)
  • Little House in the Big Woods (or anything by Laura Ingalls Wilder, but maybe it’s because her books were based on her life?)
  • Midwives
  • Perks of Being a Wallflower
  • She’s Come Undone

There are many on the list that I was surprised to see. I knew they were popular, but the best?

  • Fifty Shades of Grey
  • Twilight
  • The Hunger Games

Okay. Discuss. Not enough people in my real life are geeking out to my level so I need you folks. What’s missing on the list? What books do you hate on the list? Who are you voting for first?

great american read



10 thoughts on “My Great American Read Obsession”

  • I was dismayed to see Fifty Shades on the list (but I admit I have not read it). Twilight and Hunger Games were a bit of a surprise, but I have read them all and think the authors are great story tellers. I can’t begin to choose my favorite, or even my favorite 5. Different ages and phases in my life have colored my choices at the time, I believe. I, too, am determined to read and/or reread many on the list.

    • I agree! I read Catcher in the Rye as an angsty teenager and read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn as a poor college student. I think time and place play a huge role in how a book speaks to a person.

    • I bought them to re-read them. I enjoyed them as a kid but don’t really remember them, just loving them.

  • I haven’t seen the program, but I checked out the website. I’ve always been a reader, and now I teach about books. I’ve read 60 from the list, but my favorite is _The Grapes of Wrath_. I look forward to trying some from the list that I haven’t yet read. Thanks for this post! 🙂

    • Grapes of Wrath was one that was assigned and that I buzzed through without really enjoying. I really love Depression-Era history, so this is one I should revisit.

  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn❤️ Will forever be my favorite book! I happened to pick it up in 7th grade during a free reading period~ and oh my! I didn’t want to put it down. It is one book I can read over and over and never tire of. I also love the Clan of the Cave Bear series from Jean Auel~
    And for lighter fiction janette oak and Love Comes Softly series! Totally get the geekiness for books😊

  • One of my favorite books is The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew. When I was 6, I was in the hospital for a month after an eye accident. Both eyes were bandaged. My mother read this book to me and I just loved it (it’s very long). What I remember most about it is how they lived so frugally and never took anything for granted. I also so enjoyed the Bobbsey Twins books and the Nancy Drew books.

  • One of my favorites is The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew. When I was 6’ I had an eye accident and was in the hospital for a month with both eyes bandaged. My mother read this book to me and I loved it. (Its very long!) This sweet family (5 young children and their widowed mother) is very poor so they must be very frugal, something the children get very tired of! I was surprised this was not on the list. (I think it takes place and was written about the same time as Little Women.

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