PBS is Searching for The Great American Book

Kristen McQuinn

Staff Writer

Kristen McQuinn is a medievalist who dreams of reading more, writing more, and traveling more while being the best single mama by choice she possibly can be. By day, she can be found working with English teachers at the University of Phoenix, where she also teaches the occasional class on mythology, Shakespeare, or Brit lit. Sometimes she updates even her own blog. Follow her on Twitter:@KristenMcQuinn or  Twitter: @KristenMcQuinn

Because PBS is awesome in every way, they have set a new eight-part series called The Great American Read, set to begin in the spring of 2018. According to the PBS press release, it will focus on “the joy of books and the power of reading, told through the prism of America’s 100 best-loved books, chosen by the public. [It is designed] to spark a national conversation about reading and the books that have inspired, moved and shaped us…” The voting will be done by the American public and overseen by “an advisory panel of literary professionals.” This is probably necessary, though I do hope PBS recognizes that there has to be diversity on that advisory panel.

PBS will use various platforms and social media to discover and reveal the top 100 books that are selected. The proposed themes range from Being American to Heroes. There is a lot of room for some great discussion in these. I can’t wait to see the Twitter comments. There will be a two-hour series premiere in May. Voting and activity on social media will continue during the summer and will culminate in the finale, which will reveal THE most beloved book in America in September 2018. I am really actually excited about this! I am curious to see what ones people vote for and what people PBS brings in to talk about books in each episode. If they don’t bring on LeVar Burton, I quit humanity.

The press release isn’t clear as to whether only American-authored books are eligible for voting, but of one thing, I am pretty certain. PBS just stuck it to the self-proclaimed non-reading Trump administration but good. The timing of this is beautiful. Reading is, too, a political act! #readersresist