PBS series ‘The Great American Read” looks at America’s 100 best-loved books
May 22, 2018
“The Great American Read” is a new series from PBS that hopes to get people talking about reading, starting with a list of America’s 100 best-loved books.
The list is comprised of novels across the spectrum from serious to whimsical. It includes time-tested authors like Herman Melville, Jane Austen and Charles Dickens as well as recent best-sellers like “Harry Potter,” “The Martian” and “Gone Girl.” The eight episode series will invite authors and readers to describe and discuss the books.
Viewers can begin voting for what they think is America’s best-loved book now at pbs.org/the-great-american-read/vote/. Only books from the list can be chosen – no write-ins. Arizona Poet Laureate Alberto Rios says the list and the winner aren’t definitive, but they provide a snapshot of what Americans enjoy reading in 2018.
“I think the great magic of reading is that it moves you,” Rios says. “What people mean when they say ‘it moved me’ is, it moved you from where you’re sitting to what you’re feeling. It’s a distance that no one can see. It’s personal. It’s meaningful and it changes us. Oddly enough, you can’t explain it to anybody. You don’t see things happening around you. Reading is an intensely personal thing and it’s different for most people.”
Rios shared an idea that exemplifies how the list is both ambitious and laid-back. “‘There is a very big difference between an ambitious man who wants to read a book, and a tired man who wants a book to read,'” Rios says, quoting the novelist G. K. Chesterton.
The full list of books can be found at pbs.org/the-great-american-read/books.