The Great American Read is long over.
I enjoyed it, without becoming greatly involved. I’m not much of a joiner, and I have a taste in literature that veers off from that of most people, so I wasn’t too interested in what America decided. I did enjoy reacting to the list, but the whole project did not seem to hold much for me.
I was wrong.
I started my own best-of list and I’ve been slowly writing posts on its content, but most of the material provided by the Great American Read seemed simplistic, until I dug down to bedrock and found a section called Your Stories.
Note that I have linked it for you to visit. The introduction for the section reads:
Which novel has had the biggest impact on your life? Viewers of The Great American Read shared their stories with us by submitting text, photo, video or an audio file with a short story about how a novel impacted their life. Selected contributions are featured on this page.
These responses moved me. I didn’t agree with them all, but that didn’t matter. Some of the responders were championing books that I consider second rate, but that didn’t matter either. These people were talking about how books had impacted their lives, and that made their responses worth reading.
More than anything else, the responses reminded me that there is room for every kind of literature. There is probably no book — from porn to an exegesis of the scriptures — that doesn’t fill a need for someone. Sometimes books are a view of better things. Sometimes they are a lifeline in dark times. They always matter.
Hit the link and see for yourself what some of these people had to say. When you get to the bottom of the page, hit the Load More Contents button.
I don’t know how many responses are available. There were more than I had time to read, certainly, with more emotion than I could absorb in one setting. I intended to sample a few, and ended up staying for hours.
Check it out before the website goes away.
I agree. I thought the responses in the poll were more interesting than the results.
I wonder whose most beloved book was the Alex Cross series, though. I’d love to read the logic behind that choice. I know I’m not supposed to judge the reading taste of others, but still…