The Great American Read is over, and the final standings were revealed on PBS in the season finale.
A GAME OF THRONES (well, A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, more precisely) finished 48th. Pretty cool. I was in the top 50, anyway, and I edged out the FOUNDATION series and WAR AND PEACE. Not half bad. But really, just being on the list at all was amazing. I mean, being included among in America’s top one hundred favorite novels out of… well, out of all the novels ever written, actually… that’s not too shabby.
Just to be in this company was enormously gratifying. Though, like everyone else, I could have quibbled over some of the selections. (I mean, Ayn Rand? Really? C’mon. And while Mark Twain certainly deserved to be on the list, I am baffled as to why they would choose to represent him with TOM SAWYER rather than HUCKLEBERRY FINN. Charles Dickens is a must, of course, and GREAT EXPECTATIONS is well regarded, but I would have gone with A TALE OF TWO CITIES myself. And if they had nominated A CHRISTMAS CAROL, beloved as it is, Dickens might have finished in the top five. I was thrilled to see so much SF and fantasy on the list, but troubled by the omission of some of our genre’s classics. Where was H.G. Wells? Surely THE TIME MACHINE or WAR OF THE WORLDS belonged on the ballot. And Heinlein… if you are going to include SF at all, you have to include RAH, imnsho. That being said, SF and fantasy came out better than some other genres. There were a couple mystery novels contending, but no Chandler, no Hammett. Well, I could go on and on… and you guys will no doubt have opinions as well. All in all, I think it was a very good list, but by no means a definitive one).
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD won, and led from pillar to post, it was announced. And my friend Diana Gabaldon finished second with her OUTLANDER series, a truly wonderful accomplishment. Congratulations to Diana, and kudos to her fans.
LORD OF THE RINGS, which I endorsed in the season premiere, came in fifth. Yay Tolkien! Yay fantasy!
Millions of people voted… and more importantly, millions of people READ, and were exposed to books they might elsewise never have encountered. This was a wonderful idea, and I hope PBS does it again in a few years… maybe with a different hundred books. There are so so many great books out there, and anything that promotes reading and literature is to be commended.
A tip of the hat to everyone who voted. Even if you didn’t vote for me.
Comments allowed… but ONLY on the Great American Read, literature, reading, and all that good stuff.
Current Mood: contemplative