Who’s excited for ‘The Great American Read?’

Kim Brooks
Babbling Brooks Column
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Summer is upon us, especially with the recent heat and humidity we’ve been experiencing. What better activity to take on during the summer than to participate in “The Great American Read?”

     The Monticello Public Library received a grant to be a part of the national reading movement. On May 24, the library aired the two-hour Great American Read premiere episode on PBS. While most people watched the special at home beginning at 7 p.m., the library gained access to the show at 6 p.m.

     The grant also allows the Monticello library to host guests speakers and book discussions associated with the national reading movement.

     So what is The Great American Read, you might ask? Well, it starts with 100 finalists; 100 books that readers chose, based on a survey, when asked to name their favorite novel. From there, throughout the year, you can go online to PBS and vote once a day for your favorite book. In October, PBS will announce the number-one favorite book in America. You can vote every day for the same book, or every day for a different book.

     The books on the list span centuries, and several different genres. The books were written by men and women, some written by women who, at the time, had to hide their gender to get their book published.

     With a list of 100 books, you don’t have to read all of them over the summer. But, the library is hosting several group book discussions surrounding the various themes represented in the books: What We do for Love; Heroes, Villains & Monsters; and Other Worlds & Who I am. You can read any book on the list that falls into those categories; some books likely fall into more than one category.

     The library is also hosting two exciting speakers as part of The Great American Read. One speaker will address the “butterfly effect” related to growing up in Nazi-occupied Poland. The other speaker will talk about the history of author Mildred Augustine who wrote the “Nancy Drew” books. Augustine was from Iowa.

     The books on the list are not just for adults. There are books for young readers as well. The Great American Read is meant to bring all readers to the table in celebration of the love of reading!

     As a book nerd, I have been looking forward to this event since I first heard about it earlier this year. Then when our very own Monticello library was one of the rare recipients of a $2,000 grant to host the program, my excitement grew. (Only 50 libraries in the country were chosen for this honor. I think the grant award speaks highly of our hometown library and the great staff we have working there. But I may be biased as a frequent visitor and member of the library board.)

     The Monticello library is also gearing up for the 2018 Summer Reading Program. This year’s theme is “Libraries Rock,” and that is so true!

     The SRP is open to children of all ages and adults.

     Why not make it easy on yourself and be a part of The Great American Read and check those books off your SRP log as well? There are prizes involved for both events, and who doesn’t like prizes?

     Get out there and READ!



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