The Great American Read: Vote Now on the Top 8 Books

Great American Read Book Collage

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 the top eight books across all four categories .  Voting closes on Sunday, Oct. 14, at 11:30 p.m.

Learn More About This Project

 

The Classics
The Classics

Gone with the Wind
Pride and Prejudice

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Widely considered The Great American Novel, and often remembered for its epic film version, Gone With the Wind explores the depth of human passions with an intensity as bold as its setting in the red hills of Georgia. A superb piece of storytelling, it vividly depicts the drama of the Civil War and Reconstruction. This is the tale of Scarlett O’Hara, the spoiled, manipulative daughter of a wealthy plantation owner, who arrives at young womanhood just in time to see the Civil War forever change her way of life.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
A tale of hasty judgments, heartache, scandalous behaviour and, finally, true love. Stylish and teen-friendly, Bloomsbury Classics bring a cool, contemporary appeal to some of the most exciting books ever written. Each title has a foreword by a top children’s author that explains “Why You Should Read This Book.” Plus, a fun “newspaper” at the back of each book is packed with interesting facts and details – including a brief author biography, details on the fashions and music of the times, and a gossip column about key figures of the day.

 

Mid-Century
Mid-Century

Charlotte’s Web
To Kill a Mockingbird

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Some Pig. Humble. Radiant. These are the words in Charlotte’s Web, high up in Zuckerman’s barn. Charlotte’s spiderweb tells of her feelings for a little pig named Wilbur, who simply wants a friend. They also express the love of a girl named Fern, who saved Wilbur’s life when he was born the runt of his litter. E. B. White’s Newbery Honor Book is a tender novel of friendship, love, life, and death that will continue to be enjoyed by generations to come.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
One of the best-loved stories of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than forty million copies worldwide, served as the basis for an enormously popular motion picture, and was voted one of the best novels of the twentieth century by librarians across the country. A gripping, heart-wrenching, and wholly remarkable tale of coming-of-age in a South poisoned by virulent prejudice, it views a world of great beauty and savage inequities through the eyes of a young girl, as her father–a crusading local lawyer–risks everything to defend a black man unjustly accused of a terrible crime.

 

Late Century
Late Century

The Color Purple
The Wheel of Time (series)

The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Celie has grown up poor in rural Georgia, despised by the society around her and abused by her own family. She strives to protect her sister, Nettie, from a similar fate, and while Nettie escapes to a new life as a missionary in Africa, Celie is left behind without her best friend and confidante, married off to an older suitor, and sentenced to a life alone with a harsh and brutal husband. In an attempt to transcend a life that often seems too much to bear, Celie begins writing letters directly to God. The letters, spanning twenty years, record a journey of self-discovery and emp.

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..

 

Contemporary
Contemporary

The Help
Harry Potter (series)

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Aibileen is a black maid in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi, who’s always taken orders quietly, but lately she’s unable to hold her bitterness back. Her friend Minny has never held her tongue but now must somehow keep secrets about her employer that leave her speechless. White socialite Skeeter just graduated college. She’s full of ambition, but without a husband, she’s considered a failure. Together, these seemingly different women join together to write a tell-all book about work as a black maid in the South, that could forever alter their destinies and the life of a small town.

Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter has no idea how famous he is. That’s because he’s being raised by his miserable muggle aunt and uncle who are terrified Harry will learn that he’s a wizard, just as his parents were. But everything changes when Harry is summoned to attend an infamous school for wizards and he begins to discover some clues about his illustrious birthright. From the surprising way he is greeted by a lovable giant, to the unique curriculum and colorful faculty at his unusual school, Harry finds himself drawn deep inside a mystical world he never knew existed and closer to his own destiny.

 

Results – The Classics, Round of 17
  • Gone with the Wind (44%) defeated The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (30% ) and Jane Eyre (26%)
  • Pride and Prejudice (55%) defeated Little Women (45%)

 

Results – Mid-Century, Round of 17
  • Charlotte’s Web (53%) defeated Grapes of Wrath (47%)
  • To Kill a Mockingbird (87%) defeated Catch 22 (13%)

 

Results – Late Century, Round of 17
  • The Color Purple (60%) defeated The Joy Luck Club (40%)
  • The Wheel of Time (series) (62%) defeated The Pillars of the Earth (38%)

 

Results – Contemporary, Round of 17
  • The Help (63%) defeated The Da Vinci Code (37%)
  • Harry Potter (series) (73%) defeated The Book Thief (27%)

 

The Bracket
Click the image to view a larger bracket (then click “View full size”)
Download a PDF of the bracket

 

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