Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Great American Read

Personally, I don't feel as if there is "America's favorite novel" or "The Great American Novel". I'm a librarian. If you have a favorite novel, it may not be your mother or sister or brother's favorite. And, I'm fine with that. I'm just happy we're all reading. But, tonight PBS is kicking off their search for "The Great American Read", and I'm going to watch. Of course I am. They're talking about fiction. I'm a genre reader, though, and even if I've read a fourth of the books on the list, they won't be my favorites.

But, we all love to read, right? So, just to get into the spirit of things, let's talk about our favorite novels. There are only a few books I reread, and most are nonfiction. The fiction titles are actually by authors who aren't American. I reread The Hobbit, and Louise Penny's mysteries. I loved Little Women and a children's book called Snow Treasure. I guess there's really no one book I would recommend to everyone.

What about you? Do you have one?


21 comments:

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

I agree. There is no one book. I voted and I read 42 of their 100 choices (but let's face it, some of their top 100? 50 SHADES OF GREY? Seriously?). Some books I'd recommend include HUCKLEBERRY FINN, LONESOME DOVE, SHOGUN (I know, he wasn't American). But just encouraging people to read is a good thing.

Liz said...

Thought maybe doable if author, rather than single book. But then realized, many of my favorite authors are Brits

Kay said...

I find it hard to come up with one book too. However, I'm going to try this series just for fun. Haven't looked at the list, but I bet I've not read more than a third of them. And yes, I'm a genre reader too. I'd put Louise Penny's books (all of them) at the top of my list. I also like A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and books by Jane Austen. My rereads are often books I read as a teenager or in my younger years - Gothics, Agatha Christie, sweet romances.

Lesa said...

Jeff, That was my reaction when I saw some of the titles, especially something like 50 Shades of Grey. How humiliating for all of us if that's the one that is selected. And, that's why I posted about it today. It's encouraging people to read and think about books.

Lesa said...

Liz, Right there with you, Brits or Canadian.

Lesa said...

I agree, Kay. It will be fun to check it out. If it's good, I'll continue to watch. If not, it's easy to skip.

Nann said...

I agree -- with the premise and your take on the list of books. And for those of us who have read thousands of books during our lifetimes (and for us librarians who's recommended thousands more during our careers) -- how can you settle on ONE? i'm also suspicious/cynical about celebrities who so enthusiastically all-of-a-sudden endorse something. (Well, Meredith Viera is a journalist so presumably she likes books. But Sarah Jessica Parker as the Book Club Central spokesperson? [Eight years ago or so Marie Osmond was all over the quilting magazines with a line of fabric, a special-edition sewing machine with her name on it, ads that read "I've love to sew since I was a girl." Well, when the contract ended so, apparently, did Marie Osmond The Quilter.]

So, the short answer to your question is: I don't have one favorite novel. There are many that I've liked and some that I've loved. I expect to make such discoveries for years to come!

Lil said...

Everyone has different reading tastes, so interesting question. However, I believe the book I recommend most often to others is Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird.

Lesa said...

Nann, I agree. I do think Meredith Viera probably reads. But, like you, I'm a little suspicious of some spokespeople. I'll be curious about the books. But, my favorite novel is often the book I'm currently reading or just finished. But, my lifetime favorite? I don't have one either.

Lesa said...

I don't even have an author I recommend most frequently, Lil. It's all dependent on the person I'm talking with. If I know their reading interests, I'm going to suggest books they might like, not ones I like.

Charlotte said...

I truly was shocked that 50 Shades of Grey was on the list. I will keep my thoughts about that book to myself.

This is what I came up with.
I read all 25 books that Margaret Truman wrote. The series was called Capital Crimes. Would have read more if there had been. Does that mean her books were my favorite? Don’t think so. I just enjoyed them. I would not reread them. I can’t think of any books that I read twice. To many others I need to read.

After all my thinking about this I have decided I have no outstanding favorite book.



Jeffrey Meyerson said...

Don't want to disillusion you, Charlotte, but there has been pretty compelling evidence that William Harrington was the ghostwriter on Margaret Truman's mysteries, as well as Elliot Roosevelt's.

Kaye Barley said...

No one favorite, BUT, one that would come very close would b e Anne Fairbairn's ( a pen name) Five Smooth Stones.

Charlotte said...

Jeff,
Oh no, it is true.
What an eye opening when I read your comment above.
I spent sometime looking up information about the author and about who helped her.
Did find this:

Donald Bain did not help with that book, but he worked as Truman's ghost writer for the next 23 books in the series.

Thank you for the insight.

I still enjoyed them.

Glen Davis said...

I rarely re-read books. The last one I reread was Last of the Breed by Louis Lamour, so I guess I'd have to recommend that one.

Lesa said...

It doesn't sound as if any of us have favorites, although Kaye has one that's close. Interesting. We all read so much, but have no favorite books.

Bonnie K. said...

I've read so many great books. I can't say that there is just one favorite book. What I can say is that I have fond memories of shelving books and discovered many books. I really got into Victoria Holt, Daphne du Maurier,and Mary Stewart. I was really touched by Rachel Carson's Silent Spring. I really liked the English literature which included R. L. Delderfield. So in regards to a special place the library held in my heart, I voted for Rebecca.

holdenj said...

I loved Snow Treasure, so few have heard of it! I am pretty sure it was o,d when I read it--both my kids liked it too! I would say my favorite writers are Louise Penny and Craig Johnson for books I would read again. I am always curious about lists like this, so interesting to see what makes the cut.

Lesa said...

Oh, Bonnie. I loved Victoria Holt & Phyllis Whitney. And, I just mentioned R.L Delderfield to someone today. Such good library memories.

Lesa said...

Holdenj, Snow Treasure was a favorite of 3 generations in my family. Wonderful adventure book.Right there with you with Louise Penny & Craig Johnson.

Kaye Barley said...

I think many of us are more on the "favorite author" side of things rather than "favorite book."