Arkansas PBS > Engage > Blog > Getting Ready for “The Great American Read”

Getting Ready for “The Great American Read”

  • Posted by
  • AETN
  • on

Whether you’re a life-long book lover, you enjoy dabbling in reading every now and then or you’re ready to try something new, here’s why we’re about “The Great American Read.” We hope you are, too!

1.) Everyone wins when we talk about books.

We might have the same favorite novels. You might question why the book dearest to our heart is even on the list! Or … we might share a bad habit of giving ourselves book hangovers that makes reading during the week hard.

Whatever we’re riffing on, chatting about books is a great thing. While there are 100 novels that made the list for “The Great American Read,” we’re doing more than choosing America’s best-loved novel, we’re starting a sprawling conversation about reading across the country!


2.) The “100 List” showcases our diversity (in taste and beyond!)

From the classics to contemporary best-sellers and mystery to romance, there’s a little bit of everything on “The Great American Read” 100 list. Chosen through a nationwide survey polling 7,200 people from across the United States, the books were tallied and organized to one book per author and one book (the first book) per series.

The result was as diverse as our country. From books as far back as the 1600s (shout out to “Don Quixote” and “A Pilgrim’s Progress”) and as recently as 2016 (give “Ghost” by Jason Reynolds a shot if you’re into the Young Adult genre), categories including thrillers, sci-fi/fantasy, adventure, historical fiction and more are represented. It’s perfect because they provide a broad range  of representations of the human experiences illustrating diverse perspectives — especially important since reading is one of the most effective ways we know to build empathy.


3.) We have a great excuse to read again!

If you’re like a few of us around the station, you loved reading growing up or have read a few books that thoroughly impacted the way you look at the world, but when it comes to time to sit back and catch up on your reading … it’s a scarce resource.

We have a stack of books we’ve meant to read but, without a specific reason to get started or a group of readers to talk with about what we’re delving into, out to-be-read list tends to gather dust. With “The Great American Read,” we’ve got a great reason to get back to the stories we always meant to open up, but haven’t gotten around to. And, with “The Great American Read” Book Club on Facebook and the PBS Books group for ongoing conversation, we’re looking forward to all kinds of great conversations with other Arkansans and our neighbors across the United States.


4.) This isn’t a solo project — we can’t wait to talk with you!

Speaking of talking together about what we’re reading and what makes us love literature in general, we want to hear from you! “The Great American Read” is all about conversation and whether that’s on social media or at events across the state, we hope that you’ll talk with us about the roles books and reading have played in your life. Whether it’s what you’re reading now or how a childhood teacher instilled a love of reading in you, we hope that you’ll share your thoughts and stories with us.


5.) It’s a fun way to tackle a subject that’s important to Arkansas.

Literacy remains an important focus for educational growth in Arkansas. As partners of the Arkansas Grade-Level Reading Campaign and R.I.S.E. Arkansas, we know how influential parents’ and adults’ influence are to kids’ love of literature and reading ability. Having regular conversations about books and ideas and modeling reading habits is an important first step toward building kids’ familiarity and confidence as they learn to read and explore the worlds of novels themselves!


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

“The Great American Read,” 7 p.m.


“The Great American Read”

“The Great American Read” Book Club