The Sword and Laser discussion

166 views
PBS's THE GREAT AMERICAN READ

Comments Showing 1-35 of 35 (35 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Philip (new)

Philip (heard03) | 383 comments http://www.pbs.org/the-great-american...

I stumbled upon this last night, and it looks like loads of fun. First, they categorized it correctly by calling it a "list of America’s 100 most-loved books" rather than pretending to compile an objective list of the 100 "greatest" or "best" books using subjective opinions(a pet peeve of mine). Before we cut the cord, I used to often wish C-Span's BOOKNOTES show would cover fiction rather than just non-fiction. This is nothing but fiction!


message 3: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (new)

Tassie Dave | 3677 comments Mod
8 Sword and Laser picks and another 2 by authors we've read.

A very eclectic bunch of books. Which makes sense if it covers the whole population. A few I've never heard of. But overall, it's the sort of list I'd expect in a list like this.

I'd have had Huckleberry Finn instead of Tom Sawyer for the Mark Twain pick personally.


message 4: by Louie (new)

Louie (rmutt1914) | 885 comments And for those wondering how the 100 were chosen-

How were the top 100 books chosen?

PBS and the producers worked with the public opinion polling service “YouGov” to conduct a demographically and statistically representative survey asking Americans to name their most-loved novel. Approximately 7,200 people participated.



message 5: by Ed (new)

Ed (swampyankee) | 30 comments I ran through their list; I've read only about 35 of them, some under duress (my high school English teachers all seemed to love Hemingway).

And why is it all fiction? Doesn't anybody read non-fiction?


message 6: by Philip (new)

Philip (heard03) | 383 comments From the site:
THE GREAT AMERICAN READ is searching for the country’s best-loved novel. While we recognize the broad categories of books available, we chose to narrow our focus to works of fiction because it would be impossible to cover them all over the course of an eight-part series.

http://www.pbs.org/the-great-american...

Logistically, I think limiting the list to fiction makes it much more feasible. I suppose more people read fiction than non-fiction, and by just covering novels they are better able to draw attention and interest to the project.


message 7: by Trike (new)

Trike | 8962 comments Yeah, a lot of “forced to read in school” stuff here as well as popular garbage. 50 Shades of Grey and Twilight? It makes me root for the apocalypse.


message 8: by Mark (new)

Mark (markmtz) | 2591 comments Is it 100 best books list season?

http://www.unboundworlds.com/2018/05/...


message 9: by Rick (new)

Rick | 2930 comments Cue the inevitable whining because, out of 100 books, there are some that don't match some gatekeeper's tastes...

(I love the idea of a series intended to spark interest in reading.)


message 10: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (new)

Tassie Dave | 3677 comments Mod
Trike wrote: "Yeah, a lot of “forced to read in school” stuff here as well as popular garbage. 50 Shades of Grey and Twilight? It makes me root for the apocalypse."

I never expect much out of popularly chosen books. Most people have shit taste in books ;-)
Except for Sword and Laser members :-)

Ed wrote: "And why is it all fiction? Doesn't anybody read non-fiction?"

That would be a worst list.

It would be full of BS self-help books and religious texts (Bible, Quran, Torah)


message 11: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (johntaloni) | 4278 comments I've read some of the *crap* ones too. I found Twilight to be an interesting take on abnormal psych. Stephenie Meyer said she had a dream of an ideal man - her Animus. Jung warns against trying to bring inner symbology to the outside world. The reaction of Meyer's mind to her first book is to give the real world a place in the form of the Werewolves. Of course, for the writer the inner world wins out...apparently including having sex all night with your Animus.

There was a parent / child donut day at my daughter's school some years back. One of the kids was going on about the latest Twilight film and I mentioned I read the books. Several of the moms murmured about how they wished their husbands would. I decided to leave off the abnormal psych angle in that conversation. ;)


message 12: by Tasha (new)

Tasha Mark wrote: "Is it 100 best books list season?

http://www.unboundworlds.com/2018/05/..."


Wow. There is a lot of fantasy I haven't read. I don't even know some of these books. But it's a more interesting list.


message 13: by Mark (new)

Mark (markmtz) | 2591 comments Tasha wrote: "Mark wrote: "Is it 100 best books list season?

http://www.unboundworlds.com/2018/05/..."

Wow. There is a lot of fantasy I haven't read. I don't even know some..."


I've only read 22 from this list, which has quite a few S+L picks.

Someone's been listening to Rob, Prince of Thorns is on the list.


message 14: by Gary (new)

Gary Gillen | 83 comments I have read 28 of the books, I am reading one now, and there are 6 more on my to read list. That was before I first saw the list.

The launch special hosted by Meredith Vieira is on PBS. It can be viewed here:

https://www.pbs.org/show/great-americ...


message 15: by Rik (last edited May 31, 2018 10:30PM) (new)

Rik | 777 comments A list like this is far better than your typical "greatest novels" list.

The biggest disservice so many english and literature teachers do to young readers is force them to read stuffy old novels that are BORING to tears. Maybe those books have great word play or such but if they bore the young reader then all they do is instill a hatred of reading on them.

Instill a love of reading first by letting students find things they like to read. Reading a fluff beach read is better than contemplating suicide while suffering through Moby Dick. Seriously though, I thought it was a book about a whale hunt yet after what felt like forever we were still on land playing cards and Captain Ahab hadn't even appeared yet. I then lemmed it for my own sanity and faked it via cliff notes for class. Thankfully I'd already developed a love of reading prior to this from pulp sci fi and fantasy stuff like Dragonlance and Star Wars novels.

My wife is a perfect example. Being forced to read Shakespeare in high school left her with a hatred of reading and for the next 25 years she never read a thing. Nor tried audio books because "reading books sucks" in her opinion based on the stuff forced on her in high school. She was baffled by my love of reading and of audio books. I finally got her to try some audio books and I, unlike most high school english teachers, picked something I thought she'd like rather than basing my pick off of some literary best of list. So she started the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher and the next thing I know she was giddy every day at what happened next and is now wondering if she needs to sleep with Butcher to get him to write faster. She then loved Ready Player One and the entire Myron Bolitar series by Harlan Coben. I finally dipped her toes in water for something deeper by putting her onto the Hyperion series by Dan Simmons. Jury is still out whether that was too soon or not since its not for everyone.


message 16: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (johntaloni) | 4278 comments Rik, if your loss of marital fidelity would help Jim Butcher write faster, that is a sacrifice I'm willing to make. ;)


message 17: by Mer (new)

Mer | 187 comments I love that the list is on Goodreads so I can compare my tastes to this. Looks like I've read almost half of them, including the one I groaned in misery over in high school; Heart of Darkness.

Thankfully I had another class where we spent the entire class reading whatever we wanted to, to counterbalance it.

I saw Tor's fiction list; does anyone know if it's in Goodreads as well?


message 18: by Ed (new)

Ed (swampyankee) | 30 comments @17 Mer

Perhaps I've rather odd taste, but I rather liked Heart of Darkness

@7 Trike

"Crap" is rather subjective. In any case, it's "100 best loved" not "100 best."


message 19: by Trike (new)

Trike | 8962 comments You clearly haven’t attempted 50 Shades. It’s objectively crap.


message 20: by Mark (last edited Aug 28, 2018 06:43AM) (new)

Mark (markmtz) | 2591 comments Ok, let's kick this thread with yet another 100 Best. This time it's The 100 Best Sci-Fi Books of All Time from staff at Unbound Worlds. The list is in alphabetical order and complements their fantasy list from a couple of months ago,

https://www.unboundworlds.com/2018/08...

As with the fantasy list, there are many S+L picks and some unfamiliar titles.


message 21: by Phil (new)

Phil | 1185 comments This is another completely arbitrary list. I've read almost half of these and a lot of them don't deserve to be anywhere near a "best of all time" list. It would be better named "This is a list of the books our staff most recently read or could remember off the top of their heads".


message 22: by Trike (new)

Trike | 8962 comments Phil wrote: "This is another completely arbitrary list. I've read almost half of these and a lot of them don't deserve to be anywhere near a "best of all time" list. It would be better named "This is a list of ..."

True, although it’s better than most.


message 24: by Iain (new)

Iain Bertram (iain_bertram) | 1530 comments Mark wrote: "Ok, let's kick this thread with yet another 100 Best. This time it's The 100 Best Sci-Fi Books of All Time from staff at Unbound Worlds. The list is in alphabetical order and complements their fant..."

Translation: Here are 100 SF books we could remember reading...


message 26: by Mark (new)

Mark (markmtz) | 2591 comments Lists can provide inner solace.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/bl...

:-P


message 27: by Mark (new)

Mark (markmtz) | 2591 comments Just what we needed.

THE 10 BEST TOP 100 BOOK LISTS

https://bookriot.com/2013/07/10/the-1...


message 29: by Rick (last edited Aug 29, 2018 09:00AM) (new)

Rick | 2930 comments Phil wrote: "This is another completely arbitrary list. I've read almost half of these and a lot of them don't deserve to be anywhere near a "best of all time" list. It would be better named "This is a list of ..."

I'm only through the Ds but so far it's a pretty damn good list. There are a few puzzlers (Exo by Fonda Lee is REALLY 1 of the best 100? Please...) but a lot of these are recognized classics. It really feels like a classics list sprinkled with some current release stuff that's gotten good reviews, though.


message 30: by Phil (new)

Phil | 1185 comments Do The Stand, Hunger Games, and Watchers deserve to be on a best of all time list? Absolutely not. The first 2 are merely ok and Watchers is one of the most poorly written books I've ever read. The list skews heavily towards more recent releases which is premature. If they had called it "Our favorite 100 SF books" I wouldn't have a problem with it at all.


message 31: by Mike (new)

Mike Davis (chilimac) | 28 comments I'm looking forward to going though these lists and adding to my list of books to read! I forsee a fun Saturday morning at B&N!


message 33: by Mark (new)

Mark (markmtz) | 2591 comments Ok, here's another list from a guy who casts pods

The 26 most underrated science-fiction books

https://www.techrepublic.com/pictures...


message 34: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (new)

Tassie Dave | 3677 comments Mod
Mark wrote: "Ok, here's another list from a guy who casts pods

The 26 most underrated science-fiction books"


What would that guy know about sci-fi books? ;-)

I bet V wouldn't agree with No. 13 :-)
Memoirs Found in a Bathtub


message 35: by Iain (new)

Iain Bertram (iain_bertram) | 1530 comments Tassie Dave wrote: "Mark wrote: "Ok, here's another list from a guy who casts pods

The 26 most underrated science-fiction books"

What would that guy know about sci-fi books? ;-)

I bet V wouldn't agree with No. 13 :..."


Is this just a sophisticated troll :-)


back to top