Tag Archives: The Great American Read

And the #winner is……

We’ve all been waiting with bated breath, well…maybe not all. I certainly have though, for the announcement of the number one voted upon book on the GREAT AMERICAN READ LIST. Last night’s episode finally revealed the winner? You can watch it in its entirety here.

Did you have a favorite? Did you vote for it? I did. I had a hard time making up my mind about the number one book, but I did.

Many of you may have read my post from yesterday about the library sale I recently attended where I scored a major coup by finding many of the books on the list. I plan on starting to read those book soon, I just have to get through my own book releases in the next 8 weeks. Hee hee.

You can visit PBS to see how the books numbered in the voting from 100-1, but here are the top 5:

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

 

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

 

Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Harry Potter by J.R. Rowling

Isn’t it interesting that 2 of the top five are ROMANCE NOVELS?? Publishers, please take note!

So, without any further wordiness from yours truly,  Drumroll, please…….

The book voted upon the by reading public to earn the title of the Number One GREAT AMERICAN READ is… TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD – just as I predicted!

I have to tell you that TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD took the number 1 spot on  the first week of voting and never moved from its position in all the weeks that voting continued. That’s a true testament to how wonderful a book it is.

Well, I’m off to….wait for it…..read! Surprised?

hee hee.

When I’m not getting lost in a fabulous book  you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// BookMe // Monkey me //Watch me

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#bookcoup of the century!!!!

I’ve been waxing on and on for the past few weeks about the PBS series THE GREAT AMERICAN READ, and today’s topic is linearly connected to that post.

The GAR list is comprised on 100 books, 24 of which I’ve actually read. My husband came in at 19. I wanted to read the ones we haven’t starting in 2019 as our yearly book challenge, but neither one of us wanted to pay for all the books, so we figured we get them from our local library.

This past Sunday I attended the bi-yearly book sale at our local library and was lucky enough to find all 16 of the books pictured – which also happen to all be on the 100 list! SCORE! BOOK COUP! Now here’s the best part. The Sunday of every book sale is a “bag” sale, which means, you bring a bag – any size of your choice, and you can fill it for just $5.00. I had this big-ass shopping bag I use when I go grocery shopping and fit all 16 of these books, plus 10 others into it. All for $5.00. DoubleCoup!

Is it pathetic I get so excited about books?

Tune in to PBS tonight for the final episode of The Great American Read, where the number one book voted upon will be revealed. My secret hunch is that it’s TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. Tune in to see if I’m correct!

When I’m not at book sales, getting all excited about my literary finds, you can usually find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// BookMe // Monkey me //Watch me

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#TheGreatAmericanRead: Other Worlds


 

Welcome back to the final week of The Great American Read. In just one more week, PBS will announce the book voted upon by the pubic as the #1 American Read. I can’t wait, and I have my own suspicion of the winner. More about that later.

This week’s episode was titled Other Worlds . All the books in this category fell into the Fantasy, Science Fiction ( or speculative Fiction), Historical Fiction and magical realism realm.

I’m going to be honest and tell you I’ve read exactly 1 book on this list and I didn’t exactly like it. Okay, like isn’t the right word. I didn’t understand it would be better. That book was 100 Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It’s listed as a Worlds Beyond or Magical realism story. I think the reason I didn’t get it is because I have enough trouble with real realism, never mind magical realism, but that’s just me. I struggled – struggled – with this book several years ago when it was an Oprah Book Club selection. I didn’t get it then but now that I’m older ( waaaay older) maybe I’ll tackle it again. (Maybe not!)

The other book listed in this category was THE SHACK, a mega-hit a few years ago when it was released as an indy pubbed book. Both of these books deal with family, death, dying, what comes after death and questions do we ever truly die?  The major themes in the Shack are forgiveness, redemption, and hope. 

So, I’ve already established that I’m not a sci-fi fan. I never knew it was also called Speculative fiction, but that moniker makes sense, since stories in this category propel us into the future in order to explain the present – and help us make wise choices in the here and now. Books in this category included: Ready Player One, The Martian, Atlas Shrugged, The Foundation Novels, and Dune.

  

 

 

Each of these books tries to explain how society has come to be what it is in the future and each book paints a terrible picture of where the human race is heading. Impressive in this theme is the fact that 2 of the books, Atlas Shrugged and the Foundation Novels, were written decades ago but were able to pinpoint the exact issues we are dealing with today as a society. If I ever get a month free from my life I just might read these two tomes.

Fantastical worlds and Magical places have a few entries in this episode as well. Every teenage boy’s favorite book, The Lord of The Rings falls in this category. As do the Chronicles of Narnia, Gulliver’s travels, and The HitchHiker’s guide to the Universe. Total honesty here again, peeps. I tried to read The Lord of the Rings once. Couldn’t get past the second page. Seeing the movie didn’t help. I just didn’t understand it. Hubby, and daughter, though? Loved the book and the movies!

 

 

 

The last category explored in Other Worlds was HISTORICAL FICTION. I have to admit, I’m not sure why this category was included with the others, but I will tell you the books listed in this category are favorites of many people I personally know – including one entire Romance Writing group. LONESOME DOVE and OUTLANDER are the books mentioned here. Both deal with the past ( although  I really think Outlander could be considered Time Travel more than anything else, but again, that’s just me) and explore history and historical events through the eyes of fictional characters.

Get any two historical romance readers or writers together and one – if not both- have much to say about Diana Gabaldon’s epic tale of Claire and Jamie. Put any number of modern day cowboys together and you might just get a tale similar to Lonesome’s Dove depiction of a great cattle drive and the men who attempted it. Both of these books are on my #TBR list for 2019. And you will notice they are the only ones that are from this category!

SO, that concludes last night’s selections. Now, I mentioned in the beginning of this post that I had a sneaking suspicion which novel was going to be voted number one. My prediction? TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. Tune in next week to see if I’m correct!!!

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Something new….

I’ve been taking an online marketing course for the past 11 days and one of the biggest takeaways from the guy giving the course has been how to connect with people and readers in a more personal way. Since I live in the woods in a tiny New England town and I don’t get out much because, you know….writing…connecting with and meeting new people has been a problem for me. I can’t afford to attend every single book signing out there or travel to every conference.

Really, all I want to do is write.

But…

This is the age of easy access to people via the internet, so I’ve moved into the twenty-first century and tried something new, something the course director says should boost my online presence ( read:book sales!) if done correctly.

I can only hope I’ve done it correctly. Hee hee.

So, long story short, I did my very first FACEBOOK LIVE EVENT yesterday. It was terrifying, just me, sitting in front of the laptop, talking. Terrifying, I tell you.

I don’t even like to get my picture taken much less be videoed.

But….

I made it a short piece ( 10 minutes) and talked all about something near and dear to me, the Great American Read blog I’d done that morning. I’d had the forethought to make a few notes on what I wanted to say so that made it easier. I will admit I rambled a bit and if you watch the video you can hear me clicking my pen nervously off camera – something that sounds really loud to me.  I had someone else tell me they didn’t hear it at all, so I hope that’s true for the masses.

Depending on the response I get to the video (and this blog, talking about it) I will do another. Everything horrifying always gets better when you do it a few times, right?

Okay, let’s be real here because this is me: I’m never going to be comfortable being videoed. Not gonna happen in this lifetime. All I can see when I watch it is how crooked my face is, how my left eye is ridiculously smaller than my right, and my neck is starting to resemble the Thanksgiving turkey I’m going to serve this year. Add in the fact my voice sounds like a million pointy nails scratching against chalkboard and you can understand why I didn’t pursue any type of career in the performing arts. If you do watch it I suggest you keep the volume low so that my voice doesn’t annoy you too much.

And if you do watch it...BLESS YOU. If it’s something that you find either funny, interesting, worth the ten minutes you lost watching it, I’d really appreciate it if you could either pass the link on to your friends, or drop me a word or two in the comments section either here, or on my FB page, telling me your thoughts and reactions. I’m not being falsely humble and fishing for compliments, peeps. I truly need advice on how to do this better and more effectively.

So. I’m off to do the one thing that doesn’t give me agita: write.

When I’m not making myself nervous about public speaking you can find me here::Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// BookMe // Monkey me //Watch me

 

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#TheGreatAmericanRead “What we do for Love” Episode #4, #PBS

You can guess by the title of this current episode, that we’re talking about books where love features heavily. And it’s not just romantic love either. There’s love of family, love of country. There’s even love of self.

The books listed fall into different categories of love, starting with love that’s not exactly of the normal definition.

  1. Destructive love. In these books, we see what the protagonist thinks of as love, can be something else entirely. From obsession to unrequited to leaving the love of your life,  these loves fall on the darker side of the emotion. Americanah, Looking for Alaska and the Great Gatsby are part of this category.  Is there anyone on the planet who doesn’t think Jay Gatsby is just a little left of stable, mentally? He is so obsessed with Daisy he remakes himself into something he isn’t just so he will fit into the man-mold he thinks she wants. Ultimately and too late, he realizes how destructive that love is. Unrequited love is the major theme in Look For Alaska, John Green’s Debut YA Novel. The story concerns Miles and a classmate of his, the out-of-his-league Alaska. Americanah is told from a Nigerian immigrant’s perspective and deals with coming to a new country and leaving a first love behind.
3. My favorite category, of course, is romantic love and the two books listed, Pride and Prejudice and Gone With The Wind are my two favorite books of all time, as anyone who is a frequent reader of my blog knows! Pride and Prejudice set the tone and example for what a romantic novel should be almost 3oo years ago. Jane Austen quite literally redefined the blueprint of the romance book. And, like Little Women, the protagonist is a second sister. Independent, outspoken, opinionated Elizabeth Bennet is Fitzwilliam Darcy’s foil on every level. Or is she? That’s the crux of their story. This may be the first enemies to lovers trope written and it is still at the top of the heap.
Mitchell’s GWTW tells the tale of another independent and opinionated woman, Scarlett O’Hara, but where most people who have seen the movie think Rhett Butler was the love of her life, they’d be wrong. Which is why, in my mind, the book is always better than the movie. Hands down. Scarlett’s one real, enduring love is her home, Tara. Keeping it is the motivator in almost all of her actions and thoughts, something the book details way better than the movie ever could.
4. The last “Love” category explored was the Enduring love story, or the love that lasts eternally. Some of the choices here were a bit odd to me, but when delved into, do deserve to be here. They include Call of the Wild, The Notebook and (another fav of mine) Anne of Green Gables.
Call Of the Wild tells -at its  basic level – the story of a man and his dog – and how that love they have for each other endures even when one of them dies. While I am not a Nicholas Sparks fan, the Notebook does a good job of showing how, when you love someone, you will go through all the trials and fires of life with them and still love them even when they don’t remember who you are.
Anne Shirley is another of those protagonists who just settles into you heart from the first page. By her shear love of life, living, and people, she turns a sour, dour spinster who doesn’t even want Anne, into a woman who is devoted to Anne entirely. This book covers all aspects of love, from family to friendship, to romantic love, and enduring love. It’s a great book!!
 
This documentary series has been so wonderful to watch and learn from, I sincerely hope you catch it when it’s aired or watch it on demand or on-line later. Since it’s so much easier for me to speak than write – go figure!- I’ll be giving a facebook Live talk this afternoon on my FB author page at 2pm EST of you want to join in and discuss some of these books. Here’s my link: Peggy Jaeger, Author Hope you can join me.

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#TheGreatAmericanRead, Villains and Monsters, #PBS

This week’s edition of The Great American Read   ( my current TV watching obsession!) was all about VILLAINS AND MONSTERS in books. And the monsters aren’t exactly the kind that appear from under your bed!

This episode was fascinating for me because it made me take a second look at books I typically would never read: dark, tortuous anti-heroes, creepy villains, and tales of obsession. I like to stick to happy, peppy, HEA stories usually. Hee hee

So, the breakdown for the Villains, Monsters, and Evil Forces books on the 100 list are as follows.

OBSESSION. My dictionary defines it thus:an idea or thought that continually preoccupies or intrudes on a person’s mind. The books in this category are pretty recognizable. The Picture of Dorian Gray and Moby Dick.

  

Dorian is obsessed with growing old and Ahab is obsessed with the great white whale who bit off his leg.

 Thrillers. As a society we love to be scared. Truly. There’s nothing like being placed in a situation – like a movie theater -where you scream with fright at what’s on the screen, and then take a breath because you know it’s not real. The favorite books in this category are Gone Girl and then classic And Then there were none

 Written decades ago, this book started the genre of crime thriller. 10 people are invited to a secluded island under a false pretense and then systematically, to the words of an old children’s poem, are killed to serve some skewered sense of justice. Brilliant writing. Brilliant ending. No one did it better than Dame Agatha

Our next category is the dark side of human nature. George R.R. Martin has a great quote in this segment. He says, “the villain is just the hero who’s on the other side. ” Love that. Here, we have the classic DuMaurier Rebecca and Game of Thrones.  Has there ever been a creepier housekeeper than Mrs Danvers?

   

Institutional Evil is next on the list. These are the books that turn their attention to societal evil. Books such as The Handmaids Tale and Beloved fall into this category.

We see the United States during two courses of its history real and imagined. First, it’s slavery past in Morrison’s book, and then an imagined future where America is now called Galead and run by a group of men who rule over women. Even though this is a work of fiction, the parallels to what is going on in our society today is pretty terrifying.

The corrupt and all powerful Villain is next. This is where the phrase absolute power corrupts absolutely is a perfect description. The Harry Potter books, The Stand, and Alice in Wonderland fall into this category.

  

Voldemort covets all the power in the universe as his own. Randall Flagg can read people’s minds and souls to get them to believe in him and him alone, and who can ever read about the Queen of Hearts and not see her as a totalitarian nincompoop?

The last category of Evil concerns those characters who choose ambition over ethics. The Watchers and Frankenstein explore this topic in full detail. Everyone always forgets that Frankenstein is not the monster’s name. Victor Frankenstein is the doctor who wants to reanimate a man and create life. He sees himself as a human God above the spiritual one and he, it turns out, is the true monster in this tale.

 

My takeaway from this episode is that evil, monsters – real and imagined, and villains who live on the dark side of society are just as readable and fascinating as the good guys in white hats who combat them.

Watch the Great American Read every Tuesday at 8 pm on PBS and vote for your favorites anytime here.

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The Great American Read: the Hero’s Journey


For those of you who have been following my blog posts, first of all #BLESSYOU. heehee, Secondly, you know that my new fall favorite TV show is on PBS and it’s The Great American Read. I posted about it the other day, here,  and this past Tuesday night a great new installment was aired, titled THE HERO’S JOURNEY.  As a writer of contemporary romantic fiction, the word HERO means a great deal to me.

My on-line dictionary describes the word HERO as : a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities: a war hero. the chief male character in a book, play, or movie, who is typically identified with good qualities, and with whom the reader is expected to sympathize. (in mythology and folklore) a person of superhuman qualities and often semi-divine origin, in particular one of those whose exploits and dealings with the gods were the subject of ancient Greek myths and legends.

Hero’s are very near and dear to me and Tuesday night’s broadcast put the true definition of the hero into perspective for me as an author, and as a reader.

For instance, did you know that there are all sorts of heroes? Superheroes like Superman and SpiderMan exist solely on the fiction plane, and we’re not going to discuss that classification. No, the heroes I’m talking about – and that PBS divided the 100 books about heroism into, are classified as Tragic, Everyday, and Anti-hero.

The Tragic hero is one for whom fighting the good fight against something amoral, illegal, or who is trying to make the world better, faces an ultimate fate where the outcome will not be good. The books mentioned on the broadcast that fall into this category are: The Invisible Man, 1984 and Charlotte’s Web

    

Then, there’s the Everyday Hero. A man, woman, teenager, or child, who is going about their humdrum lives when they are suddenly forced to make a decision, or perform an act of bravery, that they ordinarily wouldn’t be required to do. Books in the category included The Hunger Games, I, Alex Cross, The Hunt For Red October, The Help, and The Giver

      

 

 

   

The last category of Hero is the ANTI-Hero or the Unexpected Hero. On this list we have Catch-22, Don Quixote,  A Confederacy of Dunces, and The Curious Incident of the Dog in Night-Time.

  

  

 

I’ve only read 2 of the books on this list and I feel a little…bad, about that. I need to up my game in the hero department. I’ve seen most of the movie adaptations of the books mentioned, but we all  know the book is always – ALWAYS – better in the long run.

So, this episode got me to thinking: who are your heroes in fiction from the categories mentioned. I’m not talking about BatMan or Thor. I’m talking the everyday, the tragic, and the anti-hero. Let me know your favs and we’ll see if they match mine.

And don’t forget to watch The Great American Read every Tuesday night on your local PBS station and VOTE for your favorite book on the list.

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The Great American Read

Piggybacking off of Saturday’s post, I love books.

But you know that… hee hee.

This year on PBS  a documentary about books is playing that is near and dear to my heart. It started last May with a two part episode of the 100 favorite books in America as voted upon by hundreds of thousands of people. The show is hosted by the wonderful, smart, and wickedly witty Meredith Vieira .

The premise is easy. From these 100 books listed, PBS watchers will vote on the #1 favorite book to read.

I have several favorites in the list, including, but not limited to,  these:

 

 

 

 

 

          

 

Then there a few books that I question. I won’t list all of those but I will tell you my least favorite book of all time, THE CATCHER IN THE RYE, is also on this list. Don’t judge me. I just think this book was a waste of my sophomore year in English in high school. And why in the name of all that’s holy is 50 Shades of Gray on the list???

Okay, enough ranting about the ones I don’t like.

You should view the list and see if your favs ( and not favs) made the list. Then, I recommend you watch the show and on your favorite!!! I’ve even been toying with the idea to start reading the 100 books ( even the ones I hated!) in 2019. Many of the books I’ve never read before and I think – at this advanced age (heehee) – I should broaden my reading horizons.

Just a thought for now, but I’m giving it thoughtful consideration.

 

Seriously, though…if you like to read, this is a great show to watch. Each episode digs deep into the category of books they are doing. For instance, there’s a show about debut books from first time authors like Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The WindDid you know that was her first and only book ever published?

There’s a show all about the romance genre ( a personal fav for me!) titled WHAT WE DO FOR LOVE. It includes books like  Jane Eyre   and Pride and Prejudice.  

There’s an episode  even about the human condition that highlights books such as thePilgrim’s Progress and Siddhartha.

One of my favorite episodes is the one on friendship. It features The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,  A Separate Peace and  Charlotte’s Web,

Again, this is a great series to watch if you love books, love to read, or are just trying find out a little more about the authors and why they wrote the books they did.

So, if you’re looking for a change from all the negative stuff on commercial television nowadays, this is a really nice way to spend a few hours. You won’t only be entertained, but you’ll learn something along the way as well. Make it a family watch and gather up the kids, grab some popcorn, watch and DISCUSS the books with one another!

Reading and the Great America Read. They’re good things.

When I’m not watching TV or reading you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// BookMe

 

 

 

 

 

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