The Great American Read discussion

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Fun Stuff > Can you name a book? Any Book.

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message 1: by NancyJ, Moderator (last edited May 28, 2018 10:00PM) (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Here is one example of why this reading initiative is so important.

I'm watching Jimmy Kimmel. They interviewed people on the street and asked them "Can you name a book?" "Any book."

Answers: (after a lot of smiling, giggling and head shaking.

"Ah.. ha ha ha."
"Do magazines count?"
"I haven't read a book in like 12 years?"
"Lion King."
"Jungle Book, or maybe it was a movie. Maybe both" {True!}
"A book by Moby Dick. It was called Horse."
"I'm drawing a blank" (From someone who used to be a librarian.)

[OK, we'll call that one a senior moment, though she wasn't that old.]

Then he asked them to think back to the last book they read.
"Dr Seuss"
"Dr Seuss"
"Dr Seuss"

Granted, if they interviewed one of us, the interview would probably get edited out, because it wouldn't be funny enough. And it would last too long as we rattled off book titles.

People like personal recommendations. If we talk about our favorite books, in real life or in social media, more people will read those books. I'm going to vote on twitter as a quick way to share my favorite books with people.


message 2: by Celia (new)

Celia (cinbread19) This is a great topic. I feel that I could talk about MANY books. I find that over and over someone will describe a book and I can usually name the title and author. Not always, but enough to make me feel positive about my reading and my ability to remember. I am also getting into writing reviews. When someone says I have introduced them to a book that they MUST read, I am SOOOO happy. Nancy, thank you for running this group. I am so into it.


message 3: by NancyJ, Moderator (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Celia wrote: "This is a great topic. I feel that I could talk about MANY books. I find that over and over someone will describe a book and I can usually name the title and author. Not always, but enough to make ..."

I feel the same way. I was sitting next to a woman at the nail salon and someone we started talking about books. We were each able to provide a lot of book recs for each other. I love making comments about books. The process of writing about a book often clarifies insights or changes my perceptions. I'm just starting to write reviews too.


message 4: by Heather (new)

Heather (bruyere) One of my favorite things is trying to figure out what book to recommend people, especially "reluctant readers." It makes me so happy to figure out books that they will like!


message 5: by Parker (new)

Parker | 204 comments My motto (one of them anyway) is "So many books, so little time". I've been reading since I was two (little did my parents realise what they turned loose when they taught me😉) I love both recommending them and receiving recommendations.

Being an English major in college, I've read many of the books on the list (some more than once..ahem Outlander ahem).


message 6: by Heather (new)

Heather (bruyere) Outlander is one that people always tell me to read. I think I already bought the first few.

I was an English major too! I find that I still have gaps...


message 7: by Colleen (new)

Colleen  | 47 comments To find another book lover is somewhat rare these days. I don't mind different tastes (never apologize for your reading preferences) but I hate when people seem self-conscious if their tastes don't seem sophisticated. Or, just because I was reading some dumb mystery written by a so-so author that I felt the person I was talking to just blew me off, when I'm actually fairly well-read. At least more so than the average American, many of whom never read another book once they graduate school.


message 8: by Parker (new)

Parker | 204 comments My tastes run the gamut, from "great literature" to cozy mysteries. I agree that one should not apologise for their tastes. I do, however, demand that what I read be well-written. I don't have time for books that aren't.


message 9: by Linda (new)

Linda  | 915 comments This came up in my YouTube feed. So sad......I get angry when I hear students confess that they were in school for 4 years and never once stepped foot inside the library.


message 10: by Colleen (new)

Colleen  | 47 comments Parker - I agree. I wish all the books I read were good and worth it; I hate when I force myself to continue an amateur novel. I can't quit a book really at this point - that may change.


message 11: by Linda (new)

Linda  | 915 comments Colleen wrote: "Parker - I agree. I wish all the books I read were good and worth it; I hate when I force myself to continue an amateur novel. I can't quit a book really at this point - that may change."

Haha, wait til you get a bit older! :D
I'm stubborn, so have trouble putting down a book unfinished. But as Parker says, if it's God-awful, I will. I will!


message 12: by NancyJ, Moderator (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Parker wrote: "My tastes run the gamut, from "great literature" to cozy mysteries. I agree that one should not apologise for their tastes. I do, however, demand that what I read be well-written. I don't have time..."

I agree. We shouldn't apologize, but then, I find myself referring to "guilty pleasures" just to communicate that I read other things too.

I try not to be judgmental about what people read. But I admit that I was worried when my son was getting serious about a girl who didn't read anything at all. (I was worried no one would read to my future grandkids.)


message 13: by Colleen (new)

Colleen  | 47 comments You get a pass NancyJ - or would have had to build up a child's love of reading through yourself. Sometimes I kick myself for not marrying a reader! :oD


message 14: by Linda (new)

Linda  | 915 comments Colleen wrote: "You get a pass NancyJ - or would have had to build up a child's love of reading through yourself. Sometimes I kick myself for not marrying a reader! :oD"

I sure did, lol!
Never again......it's now tops on the list of things to find out about a guy, asap. Sadly, I live in a bad area for it.....


message 15: by Heather (last edited Jun 04, 2018 09:52AM) (new)

Heather (bruyere) I agree that a lot of people feel shame about what they read. As if pleasure reading isn't a valid thing. Also, people feel like, if a book is famous, it must be good and that they aren't sophisticated if they don't like it. I totally disagree. I think literature is like art in that you might value it but not like it. I never believe anyone who says they like all literature.

Plus, what fun is life if you only read "what is good for you."


message 16: by Linda (new)

Linda  | 915 comments Bruyere wrote: "I agree that a lot of people feel shame about what they read. As if pleasure reading isn't a valid thing. Also, people feel like, if a book is famous, it must be good and that they aren't sophistic..."

I don't feel shame, per se, but there are certain things that I can still just devour, without analyzing, looking at it critically. Those things are hard to come by (the ones that I can read that way, and still find interesting). That's what I call my "junk food reading". It may not be the greatest achievement with regards to technique, but it's still good story-telling. Sometimes, I get nostalgic for the days of my youth, when I could read everything that way. But I wouldn't change it.


message 17: by NancyJ, Moderator (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Linda Abhors the New GR Design wrote: "Bruyere wrote: "I agree that a lot of people feel shame about what they read. As if pleasure reading isn't a valid thing. Also, people feel like, if a book is famous, it must be good and that they ..."

Bruyere wrote: "I agree that a lot of people feel shame about what they read. As if pleasure reading isn't a valid thing. Also, people feel like, if a book is famous, it must be good and that they aren't sophistic..."

With films they use the term "popcorn movie" to describe something that his fast, entertaining, and that you can watch without thinking too much.

I had a list of "spinach" films that were "good for you." I often put off those movies, but once I saw them I was glad I did.


message 18: by NancyJ, Moderator (last edited Jun 04, 2018 11:42PM) (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Colleen wrote: "You get a pass NancyJ - or would have had to build up a child's love of reading through yourself. Sometimes I kick myself for not marrying a reader! :oD"

Thanks Colleen! He moved away for his job, so I won't be around the corner to read to my (as yet non-existent) grandchildren.

I married a reader, more or less. He might not read for a year, and then he'll read a lot. He's gotten lazy about picking out books though. I search online and get recommendations, order them from the library, and leave them on the coffee table. He read three books this last week while I've been online!


message 19: by Heather (new)

Heather (bruyere) I like the idea of categorizing books based on "spinach" vs "popcorn." I think a balance is ideal. After finishing my literature degree I read only fantasy for four years as I felt so burned out by six years of literature. (Austin was my gateway to get back into literature.)

I'm probably a bit more loose with my idea of what is "good for me." For example - I did a few years of old award-winning sci-fi to give me a base of the genre and also it covers a lot of the social issues of the period. Now I've been reading slave narratives, Civil War-era novels, and fantasy by African American authors.

I think it's important to include low-effort, entertaining novels in your queue. We all go through periods of feeling stressed by life and need an escape. Other people do it with reality shows and the like.


message 20: by Linda (new)

Linda  | 915 comments Bruyere wrote: "I like the idea of categorizing books based on "spinach" vs "popcorn." I think a balance is ideal. After finishing my literature degree I read only fantasy for four years as I felt so burned out by..."

Oh, Austin! I almost went there. Didn't know that bit about "pay for your own Master's, no T.A. position" for a couple of years, took it personally.......but considered switching after finishing my Master's. I hear it's great!


message 21: by NancyJ, Moderator (last edited Jun 06, 2018 08:03AM) (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Bruyere wrote: "I like the idea of categorizing books based on "spinach" vs "popcorn." I think a balance is ideal. After finishing my literature degree I read only fantasy for four years as I felt so
burned out by..."



So what kind of books are like chocolate? Books that raise your serotonin level and make you feel good? Would they have luscious evocative prose, sweet imagery, lovable characters, happy endings?


message 22: by Linda (new)

Linda  | 915 comments For me, not necessarily. Just something that I can read for just enjoyment. For me, it's often stuff by King, since I started reading him as a teenager. Maybe that's why I can (mostly) read his books without over-analyzing, picking it apart. I don't read romance fiction and don't necessarily need a happy ending. I think I might put the Anne of Green Gables books in here as well, though I was noticing the use of color in imagery.


message 23: by Gretchen (new)

Gretchen I am frustrated because I cannot remember at least half of what I have read. I remember reading a particular author, but not the book. In fact, I revisiting some books I thought I read but re-reading them I find that I didn't. I guess that's kind of cool.


message 24: by Ella (new)

Ella (ellamc) | 300 comments Gretchen wrote: "I am frustrated because I cannot remember at least half of what I have read. I remember reading a particular author, but not the book. In fact, I revisiting some books I thought I read but re-readi..."

This used to happen to me a lot. That's when I started writing little notes about the book either here or later I started a Book of Books (AKA "BoB") In it I scribble things I liked about the book, and this seems to imprint the story on my mind a bit. I tend to forget far less than I used to. I do tend to need a reread to discuss a book in depth, though, if it's been more than 5 years since I read it.


message 25: by Paula (new)

Paula NancyJ wrote: "Here is one example of why this reading initiative is so important.

I'm watching Jimmy Kimmel. They interviewed people on the street and asked them "Can you name a book?" "Any book."

Answers: (af..."


I've been voting on Twitter as well. The Great American Read is a good way for us to be introduced to books we may have never read. Like...books I may have underestimated because the genre is out of my favorites to explore.


message 26: by Linda (new)

Linda  | 915 comments Gretchen wrote: "I am frustrated because I cannot remember at least half of what I have read. I remember reading a particular author, but not the book. In fact, I revisiting some books I thought I read but re-readi..."

Ha! I do that often, with the books I read during my Master's. Our list of titles was 7 pages long, and we had 1.5 years to read them, in addition to stuff for our classes and trying to have a life (I didn't). Years later, I'd go to read something, and think "Oh, yeah! I read this for the Master's exam!" Usually, it was something that I'd read during the first days of spring break, when we'd go through 600-700 pages a day.


message 27: by Ella (new)

Ella (ellamc) | 300 comments Linda Abhors the New GR Design wrote: " Usually, it was something that I'd read during the first days of spring break, when we'd go through 600-700 pages a day."

Holy cow. I read really fast, but that's a lot of pages per day. Even reading at my rate (500 pages in a paperback usually takes me about 3-4 hours) I can't imagine that kind of sustained reading for actual comprehension. That's crazy.


message 28: by Linda (new)

Linda  | 915 comments Ella wrote: "Linda Abhors the New GR Design wrote: " Usually, it was something that I'd read during the first days of spring break, when we'd go through 600-700 pages a day."

Holy cow. I read really fast, but ..."


We only managed it for the first three days, then started losing steam (750 pages the first day, 600 the second, etc.) Keep in mind, a lot of it was theatre and linguistics (skimmable). We had a month to go before the 6 exams (taken in one day, no real deficiencies aloowed), we were in dire straits! :P


message 29: by NancyJ, Moderator (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Gretchen wrote: "I am frustrated because I cannot remember at least half of what I have read. I remember reading a particular author, but not the book. In fact, I revisiting some books I thought I read but re-readi..."

You're not alone! I never kept track of the books I read before I came to goodreads, and I'm still discovering books I (probably) read. My true "read" list would be at least 2 or 3 times as long as I have here, even more if I included children's books. The books I read in my 20's might embarrass me now, but I sure did enjoy reading them.

There is a whole group here just to help people put a name to books in their memory. It's called: "What's the name of that book."

There are still about 20 books on this list that I'm not 100% sure I read. In many cases it's because there was also a movie. I was quite a ways into A Tree Grows in Brooklyn before I was sure I read it before (in addition to seeing the movie) but I still couldn't remember the ending.


message 30: by Linda (new)

Linda  | 915 comments I'm the same. The reason I quit rating all of the children's books and YA books I'd read as a youngster was because it was messing with the recommendations. Which are not that great, to begin with.


message 31: by Gretchen (new)

Gretchen NancyJ wrote: "Gretchen wrote: "I am frustrated because I cannot remember at least half of what I have read. I remember reading a particular author, but not the book. In fact, I revisiting some books I thought I ..."

In my 20s, I read a lot of romance novels. I have acknowledges that and can now move on. :)

I only remember a few of them but darned straight I give myself credit for those in my totals

I also read a lot of self help then but am not listing those. I don't want to share ALL my neuroses.


message 32: by NancyJ, Moderator (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Linda Abhors the New GR Design wrote: "I'm the same. The reason I quit rating all of the children's books and YA books I'd read as a youngster was because it was messing with the recommendations. Which are not that great, to begin with."

Yes, that's why I stopped. I don't think I've even looked at the recommendations page in months.


message 33: by NancyJ, Moderator (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Gretchen wrote: "NancyJ wrote: "Gretchen wrote: "I am frustrated because I cannot remember at least half of what I have read. I remember reading a particular author, but not the book. In fact, I revisiting some boo..."

I'm trying not to be shy about listing self-help books. Personally, I need all the help I can get right now on Stress management. (And I've actually taught seminars on the subject!) My work overlaps with some self-help topics (leadership, psychology and change management), so they're useful.

On a related note, I also don't think there should be any more of a stigma for mental health issues than there is for diabetes, arthritis, or red hair!

I have a secret stash of books on paranormal stuff that would really surprise the people who know me in rl. Don't tell anyone, OK?


message 34: by Jess (new)

Jess Penhallow | 28 comments I'd like to give these people the benefit of the doubt and say that their mind went blank when put on the spot but that is perhaps being too generous.

I'm not really embarrassed by anything that I've read except for perhaps some historical fiction that leaned a bit too hard on the fiction and contains lots of inaccuracies. I know its important to learn about history but fun stories in a 'historical' setting are also good to read. The TV show Reign is my television equivalent of this.


message 35: by Linda (new)

Linda  | 915 comments I read SKing as something "Fun", which I can usually gobble down without overanalyzing anything. Not as easy as it was when I was young, but it's still my "junk food" reading.
But yeah, if you can't remember a single book? Nah, I'm sorry to say I think it's right on..........so many of our students graduate without ever checking a book out of the library. If they can't get it by pointing and clicking from their rooms, they figure they don't need it. So many times, they come into my office, see my 1.5 full bookshelves, and marvel "Did you really read all of these!?" When I say yes, and many more, they're astounded.
My distraction when I was younger was TV (no cable or video games until I was about 17-18, and yes, I did spend some time with those things). They have so many other distractions these days. Going to a movie in the theatre isn't necessarily part of their lives-they want to see a movie? Dial it up on the TV, immediate gratification. Why read a book for hours when you can watch the movie in 2? I repeatedly bust some of my advanced students when we read a short novel in Spanish, because I can tell who went online and found the copy of the film (which varies greatly from the novel). Sad....the idea is for them to use the skills they've acquired, but their decision is to forego that in order to have more time at the party, or more time with their friends, or more time binge-watching series on Netflix in their rooms.


message 36: by Heather (last edited Jul 16, 2018 10:58AM) (new)

Heather (bruyere) Looks like I missed the question on what I consider "chocolate" books. I guess what comes to mind is Daughter of Smoke & Bone, The Raven Boys, Jane Eyre, Cold Magic, Till We Have Faces. Stories with tragic elements, love stories, and good atmosphere. I'm such a sucker for good prose, too.


message 37: by Heather (new)

Heather (bruyere) NancyJ wrote: "Gretchen wrote: "NancyJ wrote: "Gretchen wrote: "I am frustrated because I cannot remember at least half of what I have read. I remember reading a particular author, but not the book. In fact, I re..."

I have been making my way through The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. I don't really read these types of books, but I found it really helpful and enlightening.


message 38: by NancyJ, Moderator (last edited Aug 20, 2018 10:28AM) (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Bruyere wrote: "..The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing..."

I keep seeing this book and I've resisted it so far because I'm often blind to clutter (until someone is coming to visit, then it's embarrassing). I could probably use it because it's very irritating when I can't find what I'm looking for, or when I trip over a pile of books at the side of my bed.

I found The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business to be really helpful, not just for me but for organizations. I love the idea of small changes that can eventually become large changes. Will power can only go so far.



message 39: by Heather (new)

Heather (bruyere) That sounds like an interesting book. I think it's a great idea that change is just doing the same thing enough times for it to become a habit. Or not doing things!


message 40: by Joy, Your Obedient Servant (new)

Joy (jammons42) | 510 comments Mod
I know a lot of people who have read The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well as well and enjoyed it.


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