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Old 10-12-2018, 03:37 AM   #16
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Why so many children's books? Is it because most people don't read past their childhood, or else never read past childhood favorites?
It doesn't seem disproportionate to me (although I suppose it depends on what you consider to be a children's story), but I wouldn't have been surprised anyway. The opportunity for profound impact must surely be higher among younger readers - when there is less competition (have read less), and have less direct experience. What seems profound when we are young may seem trite and clichéd when we are older, but the reaction to the book can remain strong because of its associations.

I wonder how much voting has been distorted by people voting via VPN from non-US regions?
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Old 10-12-2018, 11:49 AM   #17
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The opportunity for profound impact must surely be higher among younger readers - when there is less competition (have read less), and have less direct experience. What seems profound when we are young may seem trite and clichéd when we are older, but the reaction to the book can remain strong because of its associations.
I agree with this and I'd add that I think there's an increased tendency to reread and reread favorites as a child. There are some books I nearly memorized as a child and I still largely retain them today, even as books I've read recently are evanescent.

I think the title The Great American Read was canny as it could be taken to imply either (or both) great books or loved books. The subtitle makes the call, though; it's loved books. Can't argue with love, although I'd personally temper my own choices of best-loved books with those that I felt held up or had much to offer as well.
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Old 10-12-2018, 12:17 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by issybird View Post
Why so many children's books? Is it because most people don't read past their childhood, or else never read past childhood favorites?
It could be simply the demographics of the voters aren't very balanced. You'll notice there isn't a single science fiction book on there. I would never consider Outlander a top book. 40% of the choices are romances.

I'm not surprised Harry Potter is on there because that was just as popular with adults as it was with kids by the time the 3rd book came out.
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Old 10-12-2018, 12:52 PM   #19
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Outlander? Good grief!
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Old 10-12-2018, 12:54 PM   #20
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Outlander? Good grief!
If Outlander is on the list then this is nothing more than a popularity contest.
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Old 10-12-2018, 01:11 PM   #21
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If Outlander is on the list then this is nothing more than a popularity contest.
Apache
I think it could only feature highly in a popularity contest if the voter selection was very non-representative.
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Old 10-12-2018, 03:39 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by issybird View Post
Apparently these are the ten books in the lead heading into the final week of voting:
  • Charlotte's Web
  • The Chronicles of Narnia (Series)
  • Gone with the Wind
  • Harry Potter (Series)
  • Jane Eyre
  • Little Women
  • The Lord of the Rings (Series)
  • Outlander (Series)
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
Quote:
Originally Posted by issybird View Post
Why so many children's books? Is it because most people don't read past their childhood, or else never read past childhood favorites?
I would count only a few of those as children's books.

While Little Women is about young people (at least the first half) it's written at an adult reading level. I remember attempting it as a preteen but not being able to finish it. I think I got to the part where
Spoiler:
Beth is sick and dying
before I gave up. (I know this is an old book but I figured I would be kind and use spoiler tags just in case someone hasn't read it yet.) I think I read it all the way through the first time during my high school years.


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Outlander? Good grief!
Well, I suppose that might be better than 50 Shades of Gray, which was on the original list.... though I haven't read either so I can't actually debate their merits (or lack thereof)....
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Old 10-12-2018, 03:58 PM   #23
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Outlander? Good grief!
Should I assume you haven't read the list, or that you have no thoughts on Fifty Shades of Gray being on the list.
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Old 10-12-2018, 04:16 PM   #24
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Should I assume you haven't read the list, or that you have no thoughts on Fifty Shades of Gray being on the list.
It's not on the "top 10" list above that I was commenting on.
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Old 10-13-2018, 12:46 AM   #25
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If Outlander is on the list then this is nothing more than a popularity contest.
Apache
Umm.... What did you think it was?

Even "critical acclaim" is a popularity contest of a sort, they just filter whose opinion they want to listen to - you know, like it was back when only landed gentry had suffrage, before they let any old riff-raff have a say.
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Old 10-13-2018, 01:21 AM   #26
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The website has more info about how books were chosen - scroll down to the FAQ's
https://www.pbs.org/the-great-american-read/about/show/
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Old 10-16-2018, 11:09 AM   #27
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I still have not read To Kill a Mockingbird, although it is on my list. (I suppose I should bump it up and read it soon rather than leaving it for "someday".) I have read the rest of the top ten, although most of them I do not plan to read again.

I was excited when the list first came out and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn was on it. I haven't read it in years, but I read it many times when I was younger and always think of it as a favorite. I was disappointed that Watership Down was not on it and was not surprised to see either Harry Potter or Outlander.

(I never voted, so I can't complain about the way it has turned out.)

I have all the episodes on my DVR; I just haven't had a chance to watch more than half of the first episode (the one from last spring, introducing the books and the voting.) I've been following their Facebook page all summer, and I have enjoyed the little tidbits that they have been sharing about all of the books.

I'm sad that so many of you seem so down on all of the choices; I had hoped there would be discussion each week about the books that were discussed and maybe what people would have preferred to see in each broad category, but it seems like this has been all about how disappointed everyone is in yet another Vote Every Day contest. I loved the idea that this one was about books and I really expected lively, rabbit-hole filled discussions every week that were jump-started by each episode theme.

(I admit I could have started something myself, but I was sort of waiting until I finished that first episode. )
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Old 10-25-2018, 09:16 AM   #28
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For any one who's curious, here's the final ranking with To Kill a Mockingbird the winner.
  • The top 10 in order of votes:

    1. “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee

    2. “Outlander” by Diana Gabaldon (series)

    3. “Harry Potter” by J.K. Rowling (series)

    4. “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen

    5. “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien (series)

    6. “Gone with the Wind” by Margaret Mitchell

    7. “Charlotte's Web” by E.B. White

    8. “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott

    9. “The Chronicles of Narnia” by C.S. Lewis (series)

    10. “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte

Not surprising, I suppose, that Mockingbird won; it's accessible with a literary gloss, so that people can pat themselves on the back for choosing it. Second and third probably reflect the real taste of the kind of people who vote in these thing. But if it's about what people like to read, it seems accurate enough with the possible exception of Jane Eyre; no doubt why she's tenth on this list.
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Old 10-25-2018, 12:27 PM   #29
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I read that To Kill a Mockingbird was at the top from the very start of the voting; it was always number one! That is the only book in the top ten list that I haven't read, although it is something that I have been wanting to read.

(I have two lists of Must Read books, one full of books I own and one full of books that I do not own; I'm currently working my way through the Already Purchased list. To Kill a Mockingbird is at the top of my Have Not Yet Acquired list. Unsurprisingly, it doesn't seem to go on sale.)
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Old 10-25-2018, 08:22 PM   #30
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The placement of “Outlander” seems weird to me. Leaving to one side the literary merits of the series, is Gabaldon really that popular an author? I’ve always regarded her as a rather obscure SF/fantasy author. It surprises me that the casual reader would have ever heard of her, let alone place her in second place in a contest of this nature. She’s the only one on that list who’s not a (to me, at least) “famous” author (or famous book).

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