The Great American Read

PBS just finished its series The Great American Read. It was all about the one hundred novels that Americans found the most rewarding. That is not to say American novels (I took the American Novel class from the great Bob Vieten back in high school), but novels that Americans enjoy and recommend. The list included literature from around the world.

Great American ReadThere were no limits on which novels qualified for the list. It included serious literature such as War and Peace on one end of the spectrum and the ultimate page-turner, The Da Vinci Code on the other. Some entries on the list were rather dubious to my mind, such as the Left Behind series and Fifty Shades of Grey. Others very much belong, like Lord of the Rings and Invisible Man. There were certainly some clear omissions. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is on the list, but Huckleberry Finn is not. Every English teacher will tell you that the latter is without question the deeper and more profound book. Likewise Crime and Punishment is on the list, but the Brothers Karamazov is not.

As for me, I have read only seventeen books on the list. Not a terribly good average, I suppose, but then I have read both Huckleberry and Karamazov.

It is not perfect, but PBS is to be commended for producing and airing the series.



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