The Great American Read, presented by Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), is exploring the power of reading with an eight-episode series where viewers will vote for the top book from a list of 100 of the most-loved novels. And our community is participating in this national celebration of reading!
The Reston Regional Library is one of 50 libraries nationwide to receive a grant from the American Library Association and PBS to host programs around the television series. We have also partnered with our local PBS station, WETA TV 26, which will air the series. To supplement the PBS show, we want you to vote in a series of polls from the same list to determine Fairfax County’s favorite book.
The 100 books have been placed into a bracket and divided into quadrants based on the years they were published: The Classics, Mid-Century, Late Century and Contemporary.
This week, voting is open for Round 1 of the Late Century quadrant. Voting closes on Sunday, Sept. 2, at 11:30 p.m.
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurty
A love story, an adventure, an American epic, Lonesome Dove embraces all the West — legend and fact, heroes and outlaws, whores and ladies, Indians and settiers — in a novel that recreates the central American experience, the most enduring of our national myths. Set in the late nineteenth century, Lonesome Dove is the story of a cattle drive from Texas to Montana — and much more. It is a drive that represents for everybody involved not only a daring, even a foolhardy, adventure, but a part of the American Dream — the attempt to carve out of the last remaining wilderness a new life.
Mind Invaders by Dave Hunt
In a race against time, CIA agents and Soviet leaders scramble for the ultimate weapon…psychic power. Locked into the international intrigue is computer genius Ken Inman whose goal to contact mysterious entities turns into a nightmare when Archons attempt to take over his mind. Famed journalist Carla Bertelli becomes a key player in a psychic war that could destroy the world as she goes behind the scenes to discover the truth. Torn between her love for Ken and her contempt for Christianity, one question continues to plague her: Are the Archons the benevolent higher beings they claim to be, or are they demonic forces?
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
In the summer of 1953, two eleven-year-old boys—best friends—are playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire. One of the boys hits a foul ball that kills the other boy’s mother. The boy who hits the ball doesn’t believe in accidents; Owen Meany believes he is God’s instrument. What happens to Owen after that 1953 foul ball is extraordinary.
The Stand by Stephen King
A patient escapes from a biological testing facility, unknowingly carrying a deadly weapon: a mutated strain of super-flu that will wipe out 99 percent of the world’s population within a few weeks. Those who remain are scared, bewildered, and in need of a leader. Two emerge–Mother Abagail, the benevolent 108-year-old woman who urges them to build a peaceful community in Boulder, Colorado; and Randall Flagg, the nefarious “Dark Man,” who delights in chaos and violence. As the dark man and the peaceful woman gather power, the survivors will have to choose between them–and ultimately decide the fate of all humanity.
The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel
A natural disaster leaves the young girl wandering alone in an unfamiliar and dangerous land until she is found by a woman of the Clan, people very different from her own kind. To them, blond, blue-eyed Ayla looks peculiar and ugly–she is one of the Others, those who have moved into their ancient home, but Iza cannot leave the girl to die and takes her with them. Iza and Creb, the old Mog-ur, grow to love her, and as Ayla learns the ways of the Clan and Iza’s way of healing, most come to accept her. But the brutal and proud youth who is destined to become their next leader sees her differences as a threat to his authority.
Swan Song by Robert Mccammon
In a wasteland born of rage and fear, populated by monstrous creatures and marauding armies, Earth’s last survivors have been drawn into a final battle between good and evil that will decide the fate of humanity. There’s Sister, who discovers a strange and transformative glass artifact in the destroyed Manhattan streets…Joshua Hutchins, the pro wrestler who takes refuge from the nuclear fallout at a Nebraska gas station…and Swan, a young girl possessing special powers, who travels alongside Josh to a Missouri town where healing and recovery can begin with her gifts. But the ancient force behind earth’s devastation is scouring the walking wounded for recruits for its relentless army…beginning with Swan herself.
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
A Confederacy of Dunces is an American comic masterpiece. John Kennedy Toole’s hero, one Ignatius J. Reilly, is “huge, obese, fractious, fastidious, a latter-day Gargantua, a Don Quixote of the French Quarter. His story bursts with wholly original characters, denizens of New Orleans’ lower depths, incredibly true-to-life dialogue, and the zaniest series of high and low comic adventures” (Henry Kisor, Chicago Sun-Times).
Watchers by Dean Koontz
From a top secret government laboratory come two genetically altered life forms. One is a magnificent dog of astonishing intelligence. The other, a hybrid monster of a brutally violent nature. And both are on the loose…Bestselling author Dean Koontz presents his most terrifying, dramatic and moving novel: The explosive story of a man and a woman, caught in a relentless storm of mankind’s darkest creation.
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Four mothers, four daughters, four families whose histories shift with the four winds depending on who’s “saying” the stories. In 1949 four Chinese women, recent immigrants to San Francisco, begin meeting to eat dim sum, play mahjong, and talk. United in shared unspeakable loss and hope, they call themselves the Joy Luck Club. Rather than sink into tragedy, they choose to gather to raise their spirits and money. “To despair was to wish back for something already lost. Or to prolong what was already unbearable.” Forty years later the stories and history continue.
Beloved by Toni Morrison
It is the story–set in post-Civil War Ohio–of Sethe, an escaped slave who has risked death in order to wrench herself from a living death; who has lost a husband and buried a child; who has borne the unthinkable and not gone mad: a woman of “iron eyes and backbone to match.” Sethe lives in a small house on the edge of town with her daughter, Denver, her mother-in-law, Baby Suggs, and a disturbing, mesmerizing intruder who calls herself Beloved.
The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy
Somewhere under the freezing Atlantic, a Soviet sub commander has just made a fateful decision. The Red October is heading west. The Americans want her. The Russians want her back. The chase for the highly advanced nuclear submarine is on–and there’s only one man who can find her. Brilliant CIA analyst Jack Ryan has little interest in fieldwork, but when covert photographs of Red October land on his desk, Ryan soon finds himself in the middle of a high-stakes game of hide-and-seek played by two world powers–a game that could end in all-out war.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Combining magic, mysticism, wisdom and wonder into an inspiring tale of self-discovery, Paulo Coelho’s masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different–and far more satisfying–than he ever imagined. Santiago’s journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.
This Present Darkness by Frank E. Peretti
Ashton is just a typical small town. But when a skeptical reporter and a prayerful, hardworking pastor begin to investigate mysterious events, they suddenly find themselves caught up in a hideous New Age plot to enslave the townspeople, and eventually the entire human race. The physical world meets the spiritual realm as the battle rages between forces of good and evil.
Hatchet (series) by Gary Paulsen
Brian Robertson, sole passenger on a Cessna 406, is on his way to visit his father when the tiny bush plane crashes in the Canadian wilderness. With nothing but his clothing, a tattered windbreaker, and the hatchet his mother had given him as a present, Brian finds himself completely alone. Challenged by his fear and despair — and plagued with the weight of a dreadful secret he’s been keeping since his parent’s divorce — Brian must tame his inner demons in order to survive. It will take all his know-how and determination, and more courage than he knew he possessed.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the days before, when she lived and made love with her husband Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now.
Tales of the City (series) by Armistead Maupin
For almost four decades Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City has blazed its own trail through popular culture—from a groundbreaking newspaper serial to a classic novel, to a television event that entranced millions around the world. The first of nine novels about the denizens of the mythic apartment house at 28 Barbary Lane, Tales is both a sparkling comedy of manners and an indelible portrait of an era that changed forever the way we live.
Alex Cross Mysteries (series) by James Patterson
The first book of the Alex Cross series begins with the double kidnapping of the daughter of a famous Hollywood actress and the young son of the secretary of the treasury. And that’s only the beginning! Gary Soneji is a murderous serial kidnapper who wants to commit the crime of the century. Alex Cross is the brilliant homicide detective pitted against him. Jezzie Flanagan is the female supervisor of the Secret Service who completes one of the most unusual suspense triangles in any thriller you have ever read.
The Wheel of Time (series) by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow. When The Two Rivers is attacked by Trollocs–a savage tribe of half-men, half-beasts– five villagers flee that night into a world they barely imagined, with new dangers waiting in the shadows and in the light.
- Dune (81%) defeated Sirens of Titans (19%)
- Chronicles of Narnia (series) (89%) defeated Another Country (11%)
- Rebecca (57%) defeated Things Fall Apart (43%)
- A Separate Peace (53%) defeated Foundation (series) (47%)
- Where the Red Fern Grows (75%) defeated Bless Me, Ultima (25%)
- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (70%) defeated Atlas Shrugged (30%)
- One Hundred Years of Solitude (56%) defeated The Godfather (44%)
- The Outsiders (57%) defeated And Then There Were None (43%)
- The Little Prince (56%) defeated The Invisible Man (44%)
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