SHOP BY DEPARTMENT
Houzz Logo Print
icywinter

Is anyone here watching....

Winter
4 years ago

...The Great American Read on PBS?


If so, how do you like it so far?


Have you voted for your favorite book[s]?


Have you read any of the books discussed so far and if so...which ones?

Did that/those book[s] help you discover who you are and where you belong?


Comments (34)

  • kathy_t
    4 years ago

    I hate to say this, but I watched the first show of this series and did not come out of it interested enough to watch the TV schedule for more. It seemed to be a verbal listing of famous/classic books and some celebrity opinions. I was certainly surprised at my reaction because I usually love "all things book." Should I give it another chance?

    Winter thanked kathy_t
  • Winter
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    Kathy, I, too, am hoping it improves in content. I watched last night's episode [which highlighted first person writing and the personal effects certain books had on their young readers] and came away with a reaction similar to yours. I'm going to give it another try with hopes that it improves in content. I don't know what I expected...but I think it should have been "more". So far...IMO...it's simply a TV book club with a captive audience.

    Apparently the overall intent is to ascertain the most popular book written of all times via show participants and viewer vote. To Kill A Mocking Bird...and The Catcher in the Rye seem to be at the head of the list so far but viewer vote may change that.

  • Related Discussions

    Anyone watch the show Weeds?

    Q

    Comments (1)
    I love weeds!!!!! We haven't seen the new episode yet. we taped it.. we will watch it on Friday.... :)
    ...See More

    Scandal ...TV Show

    Q

    Comments (3)
    This show is one of my guilty pleasures. I can't wait to see what happens next. You really have to suspend rational thinking when watching it, though.
    ...See More

    RECIPE: Ina Barten-Roast Duck

    Q

    Comments (3)
    Roast Duck Copyright Ina Garten, All rights reserved 2 (5 to 5 1/2 pounds each) ducks, innards and wing tips removed 6 quarts chicken broth Kosher salt 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper Unwrap the ducks and allow them to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes. With a fork, prick the skin without piercing the meat. This will allow the fat to drain off while the ducks cook. Meanwhile, in a very large stock pot which can hold the 2 ducks, heat the chicken broth with 1 tablespoon of kosher salt until it boils. Add the ducks very carefully and bring the stock back to a boil. If there isn't enough stock to cover the ducks, add the hottest tap water to cover. If the ducks float to the top, place a plate on top to keep them immersed. When the stock comes back to a boil, lower the heat and simmer the ducks in the stock for 45 minutes. When the ducks are finished simmering, skim off enough duck fat from the top of the stock to pour a film on the bottom of a 14 by 18 by 3-inch roasting pan. This will keep the ducks from sticking when they roast. Carefully take the ducks out of the stock, holding them over the pot to drain. Place them in the roasting pan, pat the skin dry with paper towels, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt and the pepper. If you have time, allow the ducks to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to allow the skin to dry. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. (Be sure your oven is very clean or it will smoke!) Roast the ducks for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow them to rest, covered with aluminum foil, for 20 minutes. Serve warm. Marilyn
    ...See More

    How to Get Away with Murder

    Q

    Comments (14)
    I don't think it's a "flash forward" of the students disposing of the body. The show started with the body disposal and there have been flashbacks showing what led up to it. I think that Rebecca killed Annalise's husband, and Wes is trying to protect her by getting rid of the body and evidence of the murder. We saw a brief scene where Wes called Rebecca and told her that she would be ok, that she is "safe," because the body had been disposed of. OK, bear with me... At the end of the last episode, we found out that Annalise is going to represent Rebecca, who has been charged with the murder of the student whose body was found in the water tank. (I can't remember her name.) Annalise suspected her husband of the murder, but her lover, Nate - the cop - lied to her and told her that her hubby's alibi checked out. I think that Rebecca was at Annalise's office (which is in her home) and for some reason Rebecca and the hubby got into an altercation. I'm guessing that hubby made a pass at her and in fighting him off, she killed him. I don't know how Wes and the other students found out -- that undoubtedly will come out in an upcoming episode. And I wonder how Annalise will react when she finds out that Nate lied to her about her husband's alibi...
    ...See More
  • yoyobon_gw
    4 years ago

    I tried to watch the first show but I couldn't get interested.

    Winter thanked yoyobon_gw
  • woodnymph2_gw
    4 years ago

    Unfortunately, I can no longer get PBS where I live now.

    Winter thanked woodnymph2_gw
  • Winter
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    Yoyo...I missed the first couple of introductory shows because it didn't sound that interesting but did watch last night's presentation to decide whether I was wrong in my initial assumption. Only time and another show or two will tell me. Personally, I'd like to see more analysis of content of these books.


    Wood...I don't own a TV. I access PBS via my computer. Would that be a possibility for you? My ISP is a broadband-cable connection but most ISP providers these days offer the same opportunities. I don't subscribe to any movie services or the like, i access PBS by clicking on their website...https://www.pbs.org/ ...and then selecting the programs I want to watch. I access news channels in the same manner but that may be a benefit of my ISP provisions. Maybe the PBS site will work for you in the same manner.

  • socks
    4 years ago

    I watched the first show but have not followed up except to glance at the list of 40. It’s an amusing list with Charlottes Web and Fifty Shades on the same list! I voted a couple times but lost interest. Anyone want to predict the winner? I’m predicting a classic like maybe Grapes of Wrath.

    Winter thanked socks
  • Winter
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    I agree with you, Socks. I was surprised at some of the books on the list, too, but I guess they're trying to cover all genres and age groups. I have some favorites but I doubt that any of them will win. I'll opt for To Kill A Mocking Bird. It's an ageless classic that has stood the test of time [published in 1960] with it's life teachings/lessons. It seems to appeal to all age and ethnic groups and is popularly resurrected about every ten years to re-educate. That's a pretty impressive record...IMO.

    I don't know how many more episodes there are to this Special but I'll keep checking in if only to see what book wins...and why.

  • Winter
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    I'm glad I decided to stick with this special. Tonight's episode was about heroes...heroic characters; everyday heroes, war heroes, tragic heroes, anti heroes...and how and why the reader was inspired by them. The books presented to illustrate these characteristics were: The Hunger Games, Alex Cross, The Help, The Hunt For Red October, The Giver, Charlotte's Web [the all time #1 best selling children's book in the U.S.], 1984, The Invisible Man, Catch 22, Don Quixote, The Confederacy of Dunces and The Curious Incident of The Dog In The Nighttime. Excerpts were read from each book that the particular reader thought most represented the heroic character's personality and/or qualities.

    The discussions were thoughtful and provoking. As I've read many of the books presented tonight, I was interested in the view points of the contributing guest readers. In some cases, I may go back to reread one or two of these books because I read them so very long ago I want to see if I feel as I did years ago about the characters.

    I came away from tonight's episode wishing it could have been longer. That's always a good sign with me because I'm not a TV watching person. So, when something piques my interest to the point of wanting more...IMO the program is successful.


  • Winter
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    Another interesting presentation that opened with the following promo:

    How do novels featuring our favorite villains and monsters
    help us understand why people behave badly? We examine the evil characters in
    our favorite novels, to find out why we go to the dark side. We also meet
    authors who have created some of our best-loved villains.

    Books presented and discussed were:

    Picture of Dorian Grey, Watchers, Moby Dick, The Handmaids Tale, And Then There Were None, Gone Girl, A Game of Thrones, Daphne du maurier, Beloved, Frankenstein, Harry Potter, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, The Stand and The Devil. [I think I noted them all. :-) ]

    The overall consensus of opinion at the end of a varied discussion was that we read books about evil and evil doings because they not only intrigue us but we want to understand what evil is, why it exists and how we [society as well as personally] are affected by it.

    Again...the show was worth my time. If you watched it, I hope you agree.


  • vee_new
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Winter, I don't want to take over your thread but if I started a new one the title would be very similar.

    We have been watching a seven episode new production of Vanity Fair with Michael Palin (remember Monty Python) playing Wm Thackeray as the 'narrator'. Everyone is striving for what is not worth having.

    I hope Annpan gets the chance to watch it in Australia as it is years since I read the book and wonder at the accuracy of the story and I know she can put me right. The pretty, knowing and duplicitous Becky Sharp is well portrayed, but the part of Rawdon Crawley seems to have become way too 'noble' . . . I remember him as something of a cad and bounder. Good old reliable Dobbin has become very handsome with a mane of flowing fair hair; the girls should have been falling at his feet.


    Vanity Fair

    Winter thanked vee_new
  • Winter
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    You're more than welcome to add to this thread, Vee. It's been kind of a one man show of late and I'm more than delighted to have company. Thank you for joining in.

  • kathy_t
    4 years ago

    By chance, I tuned in the other night and saw the last half of Episode 6 of The Great American Read, which was titled "What We Do for Love." It actually was quite interesting. I'm wishing now I had watched more of the episodes.

    Winter thanked kathy_t
  • annpanagain
    4 years ago

    Vee, we may get "Vanity Fair" eventually but I might be able to borrow or buy a DVD of the program faster.

    Yes, Rawdon Crawley was a wild character at first but changed upon marriage and parenthood. Dobbin wasn't attractive and he lisped, this is always ignored in portrayals.

  • Winter
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    I'm so glad you had a chance to see the show, Kathy. The grand finale will be on October 23rd....when they'll name the most popular book of all times. I'm rather curious which book it will be. They've covered at lot of authors and their works in a short time.

    For those who are perhaps interested in the books that were discussed in this week's show while they conjectured about how books about love guide us in our own quest for love in hopes that we don't fail...here they are:

    The Joy Luck Club, Gone With The Wind, Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, Looking For Alaska, The Great Gatsby, Americanah, Gilead, The Godfather, Pride & Prejudice, The Notebook and Call of the Wild.

  • sheri_z6
    4 years ago

    I've taped all the episodes thus far but have yet to watch any of them. Winter, your reviews of the episodes have been helpful as I was debating just skipping this altogether, but now I'd like to watch them. I need to get off the computer and catch up :)

    Winter thanked sheri_z6
  • Winter
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    I, myself, don't really have a lot of patience with television. That's probably why I don't have one any more. :-) I could never just sit and watch a program. I had to have something else to do along with whatever was on the TV. But...I've really enjoyed the opinions of the readers on this PBS offering, Sheri. I've actually concentrated on their viewpoints and that says a lot for me.

    Over my years I've read almost all of the books that have been discussed. It's been interesting...and fun...to hear someone else's opinion of the author's creations. And, those that I haven't read...many are now on my list of TBR's.

    I'm so glad that I could pique your interest and I hope you won't be disappointed when you have the time to watch the series.

    PBS is, also, currently offering Shakespeare Uncovered hosted by Helen Hunt who reminisces about Much Ado About Nothing and her roles. It, too, might be interesting. With any luck...I'll find time in the next day or two to watch it. IMO...PBS is on a roll this season.

  • Winter
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    A very interesting program this week with science fiction at the heart...offering that through the magic of reading we are able to visit other worlds from our own living rooms...allowing us to not only be better abled to deal with our world as it is but to, perhaps, see it in a better light.

    The books discussed were:

    The Lord of the Rings, Dune, 100 Years of Solitude, Lonesome Dove, Chronicles of Narnia, Gulliver's Travels, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Foundation, Ready Player One, The Martian, Atlas Shrugged, Outlander and The Shack.

    After tonight's discussion, I shall look at a couple of these books in a different light and given the time, may read them again.

  • Winter
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    The top five books are:

    # 5 - Lord of the Rings

    # 4 - Pride & Prejudice

    # 3 - Harry Potter

    # 2 - Outlander....and....

    # 1 - To Kill a Mockingbird

    Some other books in the top 20 are:

    Atlas Shrugged came in at # 20, The Help at #16, The Great Gatsby at # 15, Jayne Eyre between 15 and 8...[had to answer the phone and missed the place #], Little Women at # 8 and Gone With The Wind at # 6.

    That's it, folks. It was an interesting program and I'm glad I took the time to watch the episodes. It's always thought provoking to get other reader's opinions of books that one has read.


  • Rosefolly
    4 years ago

    I'm surprised to hear that Little Women came in at #8. The book I am currently reading about Alcott and her famous novel says that it is not as popular as it once was.

    Winter thanked Rosefolly
  • kathy_t
    4 years ago

    To Kill a Mockingbird in the #1 spot doesn't surprise me, but Outlander as #2 does.

    Winter thanked kathy_t
  • Winter
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    Kathy...I've not read Outlander but there was a family group [mother and two daughters as well as everyone in their little town] that loved it so much that they voted for it every single day of the entire project. They knocked GWTW out of 5th place [according to Meredith] by less than 50 votes. Personally...I'll have to read it or at least read a synopsis so I'll have a better understanding of its appeal. I, too, was surprised. I, also, was surprised to see The Help in the top 20. I read that and wouldn't have placed it there.

    It was an interesting program and I'm glad I watched it but I think the average age of those that participated was probably around 40...or a little younger. I think that played a big part in the selection of the top five books. Although many of the old "masters" were represented in the top 100 books...they took a back seat to a newer, younger reading public. At least that's my opinion and I think it's a good thing. It pleases me beyond words to see that reading and books are not as doomed to the virtual world as we sometimes think.

  • Winter
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    FYI...I checked on Outlander....read a synopsis and a multitude of reader reviews. Not my cup of tea so I'll leave it to those who raved about it. Many reviewers complained about the lascivious scenes and commented that the tale would not have lost any of its appeal to them if the number of sexual encounters had been reduced by at least half. Other than that, most seemed to enjoy a good romance novel.

  • carolyn_ky
    4 years ago

    I've read all the Outlander books and like the first one best, by far. Gone With the Wind is my No. 1, but I have a lot of No. 2s. The Help is not one of them--it is a good story, but nowhere near the top of the list for me.

    Winter thanked carolyn_ky
  • Winter
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    I was surprised at The Help, too, Carolyn. Actually, I was surprised to see it on the list of 100 books. It's not a bad read although, personally,I categorized it as a nice fluff between my more serious tomes and I enjoyed it as that. But I didn't read it as a political statement and that seems to be the way it was presented/discussed during the forum.

    I wasn't surprised that Mockingbird took first place but I was very surprised that GWTW wasn't right next to it.

  • friedag
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    I didn't post to this interesting thread before now because I knew I wouldn't be watching the PBS program. I can't keep up with any multi-part showing of anything on television. I come and go too often. But I've followed what you and others have said, Winter.

    Now that the Great American Read has concluded, I figure it's okay to comment.

    To Kill a Mockingbird would have gotten my vote. I've read it over fifty times since I first read it when I was ten years old, the year it was first published. I have large chunks memorized. Even fifty-eight years ago, TKaM was quite a sensation, but not everyone was receptive to it back then. I tried to do a book report, but my teacher did not think it was appropriate and wanted me to read and report on Anne of Green Gables instead. I liked the character of Anne Shirley very much, but I never learned the books she was in by heart like I did TKaM.

    I'm wondering about the list, though -- whether the books were chosen by a larger percentage of female readers than male readers. It seems to be weighted more in the direction of female tastes. Not that I find that surprising, but after reading so many lists of favorite books with a seemingly masculine slant, it does rather jump out at me.

    I've read many of the Top 50, but a lot fewer of those from 51 to 100. I've looked up those I haven't read for the synopses. Unfortunately, I'm afraid that only a couple intrigue me.

  • kathy_t
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Now that the Great American Read is over with, I finally printed out their checklist. I marked those I had read, those I tried but failed to read, and those I might be inspired to try.

    My results: I've read 35 of them. I tried but failed to complete 4 more of them. There is just one I feel inspired to read in the future, and it would be a reread: The Call of the Wild by Jack London.

    I'm not actually proud of this outcome - just reporting my results. I wish I felt inspired to read more of them. I'm wondering if the list has inspired anyone else to read a book they might have missed?

    Printable checklist of Great American Read books in alphabetical order

    Final rankings - a picture list

  • kathy_t
    4 years ago

    Another question about the Great American Read: I wonder why Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None was been singled out by today's readers?

  • Rosefolly
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    I had to count them up too. I ended up with 44, plus also several series where I read part of the series and not the whole series. I didn't count those, but if I had it would have been around half.

    Like Frieda, I had read a much greater proportion of the books in the first 50 than in the second. Several of them are long-loved favorites.

    I would not myself have picked To Kill a Mockingbird as #1, though it is indeed a very good book. I resisted reading it for many years because I resented being told that I ought to read it. I was cutting off my nose to spite my face, because when I did read it, I liked it very much. However there are several others on the list I love more.

    Of the books I had read, about a third of them were books I really did not care for much at all. A few I actively disliked.

    Of those I had not yet read, none called out to me as overlooked gems.

  • friedag
    4 years ago

    Kathy, it hadn't occurred to me to question why And Then There Were None was the one chosen out of all of Christie's mysteries. Since you mentioned it, however, I've tried to figure it out.

    I know that I've read it at least twice, and I've seen a couple of film adaptations more than once each, too. With all that, I should be able to remember whodunnit. But I don't!

    One of the things that sticks in my mind is the change of title from the original: Ten Littles N.....s. It became Ten Little Indians and finally And Then There Were None.

    I do recall the setting and plot are variations on the Golden Age 'country house' mystery, a perennial favorite -- a more recent example of a film is "Gosford Park."

    I thought the spoof of the country house subgenre, "Murder By Death" with Peter Falk and Peter Sellers, was more memorable than the original mysteries. :-)

    The whole subgenre smacks of a parlor game, I think. Maybe that's the appeal. It's a puzzle, but in spite of the subject being murder, it's murder as entertainment. (All a bit perverse if I consider it too closely.)

    The only Agatha Christie book that I can't reread is The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, because it is the only one in which I remember the perpetrator. I still feel cheated!

    I know I didn't answer your question, Kathy, but it's been fun to think about it.

  • Kath
    4 years ago

    And Then There Were None was quite a different book. Like many of Christie's, the characters were stuck together - this time on an island, but she often had a very limited number of suspects by having them stuck in a house in a snowstorm, or someone killed at a dinner party, and so on.

    Frieda, I'm a bit surprised you don't remember it, because like Roger Ackroyd (and Murder on the Orient Express), the murderer is a bit of a trick. I could tell you, but I don't want to spoil it for everyone else :)

    I didn't take part in the Great American Read, but I am in Facebook groups where people were encouraged to vote every day. I am an unabashed Outlander fan, and I feel the sex is an integral part of the story, so it doesn't bother me, but I'm not sure it is #2. But then, anything where the public votes turns into a popularity contest, so I'm not sure the results necessarily fit the initial idea.

  • kathy_t
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Astrokath - regarding your comment "But then, anything where the public votes turns into a popularity contest, so I'm not sure the results necessarily fit the initial idea." - good point! Considering the top two books, results appear to be a mix of great books vs. popular books. Somehow, that fits America.

    Frieda - I thought more about And Then There Were None also. I happen to have read it fairly recently - a year or so ago, and now I remember why. My niece had been assigned to read it in her high-school English class and recommended that I read it. So perhaps this book has, for reasons unknown to me, become part of some public school reading curriculum in recent years, making it popular among young adult readers. Just a guess.

  • friedag
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Within the past five or so years, I read similar reading lists from the UK and Australia and one French list, but I don't recall what the instigations were for those. Perhaps they were popularity contests as well. There were books favored in all the lists (mostly classics), but also many were obviously of mainly national and regional interest. Those tended to be more recently published, I think. I remember Bryce Courtenay was mentioned frequently on the Australian list, and Playing Beatie Bow by Ruth Park is the only title I can think of. Apparently it's a children's book that may not be well-enough known in the U.S.

    Kathy, your guess makes sense that school-assigned reading plays a role. It could explain some of the further oddities of the U.S. list. For instance, I was surprised that Pilgrim's Progress is still read with any high frequency these days, or even that it is still popular!

  • carolyn_ky
    4 years ago

    Popularity or familiarity is surely how Fifty Shades of Gray got on the list. At least people are reading, I suppose.

Sponsored
Elegant Kitchen and Bath
Average rating: 5 out of 5 stars11 Reviews
VA & DC's Finest General Contractor