The Great American Read discussion

40 views
Progress Update - How many of the GAR books have you read?

Comments Showing 1-34 of 34 (34 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by NancyJ, Moderator (last edited Sep 09, 2019 12:15AM) (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
How many of the books on the Great American Read list have you read? We discussed this a lot last year when we first got started, but we have many new members now, and of course we've made some progress!

You can use the list we posted in this group, or take the PBS quiz:
https://www.pbs.org/the-great-america...

There are many series on this list, and some of them (such as the Outlander series) are still not complete. So, I would generally say YES to a series if you read the first book. It's up to you. In the case of Alex Cross, the first book was Kiss the Girls (not the book pictured on the PBS site). Here is my bookshelf that includes all (or most) of the extra books from the series on the list.

https://www.goodreads.com/review/list...


message 2: by Eva (new)

Eva | 2 comments I'm a new member and just took the quiz: 38/100
After a first glance at the list, I would have expected it to be more, but with a lot of the titles I realized I know the movie, but have not read the book, so yes: once I was strict about what I had actually read, the number reduced quite a bit :)
Anyway, there are still a lot of titles on there that I would like to read (others not so much, but perhaps this group will change my mind about some of the books on there).


message 3: by Jenn (new)

Jenn | 12 comments I'm currently at 42.


message 4: by Gretchen (new)

Gretchen 25/100 to date. I know i will never get 100 because there are some books that shall remain nameless (fsog) that I will NEVER read!!! Ever!!! It seems I have read more than this. I have read 2 or 3 of them this year. Hmmm. Interesting.


message 5: by Jenn (new)

Jenn | 12 comments Gretchen wrote: "25/100 to date. I know i will never get 100 because there are some books that shall remain nameless (fsog) that I will NEVER read!!! Ever!!! It seems I have read more than this. I have read 2 or 3 ..."

I'm with you. I don't plan to read all 100 because there are quite a few that I can tell aren't for me, including the one you called out. Even a couple of the ones I've already read weren't books I enjoyed. The beauty of this list is its diversity - there's definitely something for everyone, but that also means it's unlikely that anyone would enjoy all of them.


message 6: by Janet, series facilitator (new)

Janet (goodreadscomjanetj) | 91 comments Mod
I have read 62(66 counting books that I have read the first in the series but haven't finished the series).


message 7: by Lisa (new)

Lisa | 26 comments I'm a new member (thank you, Janet!) and had never heard of The Great American Read (I know! Where the heck was I?) and so had to Google it. So now I know and plan to watch the PBS series. I took the test and I have read 41 books on the list. To help me keep track of these books, I will add a shelf and go back and place those books on it and start adding to it as I read from the list. How fun!


message 8: by NancyJ, Moderator (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Eva wrote: "I'm a new member and just took the quiz: 38/100
After a first glance at the list, I would have expected it to be more, but with a lot of the titles I realized I know the movie, but have not read th..."


Eva, I had the same problem with books that I thought I read, but I can't be sure. I second guess myself with books like Alice in Wonderland, as I would have read it 40-50 years ago! My score is at least 52, but it could be as high as 60.


message 9: by NancyJ, Moderator (last edited Sep 09, 2019 01:32PM) (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Lisa wrote: "I'm a new member (thank you, Janet!) and had never heard of The Great American Read (I know! Where the heck was I?) and so had to Google it. So now I know and plan to watch the PBS series. I took t..."

You're doing great for someone who never even heard of it before! Many of the books on the GAR list are also on other major lists of great books. This one is unique because they sought a demographic representation of the whole country and asked for people's favorites.

It definitely helps to have a GAR shelf. When you get to know the list, you might notice that there are GAR books on nearly major list of top 100 books you might find.


message 10: by Lisa (new)

Lisa | 26 comments Thanks, Nancy :) The GAR list does have a wide variety of novels. I look forward to streaming the series to learn more about it.


message 11: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly | 33 comments I’ve got 21 left to read, and I hope to finish them all this year! I challenged myself to read all 60 of the books I hadn’t read on the list this year, and it’s been a TON of fun reader older books. I’ve found new favorites!!!!

Swan Song —— 100% recommend, it’s listed as horror, but is filled with hope and goodness. The audio is amazing!

Watchers — my first Koontz book, and it won’t be my last. Riveting!!!

I could go on and on!!!!


message 12: by Lynn (new)

Lynn (lynnsreads) I keep a spreadsheet for a couple of the challenges I am working on. I added a Great American Read page. The books I have read so far are:

To Kill a Mockingbird #1
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Series) #3
Pride and Prejudice #4
Gone with the Wind #6
Charlotte's Web #7
The Chronicles of Narnia #9
Jane Eyre #10
Anne of Green Gables #11
The Grapes of Wrath #12
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn #13
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer #17
1984 #18
Atlas Shrugged #20
Wuthering Heights #21
Rebecca #25
The Color Purple #27
The Outsiders #32
The Da Vinci Code #33
The Handmaid's Tale #34
Dune #35
The Little Prince #36
The Call of the Wild #37
The Clan of the Cave Bear #38
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy #49
The Hunger Games #40
Frankenstein #43
The Giver #44
Moby-Dick or, The Whale #46
Catch-22 #47
War and Peace #50
Jurassic Park #52
The Godfather #53
The Picture of Dorian Gray #55
Siddhartha #63
Twilight sagaTwilight #73
Things Fall Apart #82
The Sirens of Titan #87

That is 37/100 or 37%


message 13: by Gretchen (new)

Gretchen Jenn wrote: "Gretchen wrote: "25/100 to date. I know i will never get 100 because there are some books that shall remain nameless (fsog) that I will NEVER read!!! Ever!!! It seems I have read more than this. I ..."

One thing I have done since joining good reads is to get out of my favorite genre and try others. I want to do this with the GAR list but a few of the books on the list are just not GREAT and I really want to read some books that may actually challenge me by being evocative. I have also found that when I "just don't get it" from a book, I am able to ask folks here and other groups to help and have learned to read books not just for pure entertainment, but for perspective. But mostly I read for entertainment. :)


Linda Abhors the New GR Design | 915 comments I'm with Gretchen, there are certain books that I simply won't bother with, but I have read a few, thanks to this group, that I might have kept putting off until "someday"(I'm looking at you, Isaac Asimov).

I'm at 50 now, thanks to the group, that number's about 5-6 higher than it was (and should be even higher, but I got busy with C&P--haven't given it up yet!)


message 15: by Kim (new)

Kim (skullfullofbooks) I'm up to 54 read! I am not pushing as hard as I was when this was still on the air. I have the top 5 on the list read, and need to complete 3 more for the top 10 to be completed. I like revisiting the books on the list and am so glad that something like this happened, even if a lot of the books have not been my taste! It has really spanned a lot of years and I think it was a bit of a bump for book sales. I think Lonesome Dove even publishd a new edition around the time it was on the air, which is cool.

I just wish my library had more full audiobooks for some of these!


message 16: by Zoe (new)

Zoe (mstrahanache) | 52 comments I myself am grateful for the PBS program and this Goodreads group because it got me to finally read Charlotte's Web and To Kill A Mocking Bird, both outstanding books by my standards. They were on my to read list for a very long time, but always put on the backburner for one reason or other.

I agree though with Gretchen and Linda. There are some books on the list that I cannot muster any interest for and there is so much good and interesting lit out there that I genuinely want to read, that I may never completely finish the GAR list.


message 17: by Lynn (new)

Lynn (lynnsreads) Zoe wrote: "I myself am grateful for the PBS program and this Goodreads group because it got me to finally read Charlotte's Web and To Kill A Mocking Bird, both outstanding books by my standards. They were on ..."

I finally read To Kill a Mockingbird this summer. It was definitely a 5 star book. Funny, I had also meant to read it for a long time: I think I have owned a copy since about 1995. Before that the book belonged to my mother. I think my hesitation on it was that as soon as I thought about reading it, images from the movie would flood my memory. Then I would want something fresh and put it down. Sometimes overexposure to a story makes it hard to read a book, I think.


message 18: by NancyJ, Moderator (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Lynn wrote: "I keep a spreadsheet for a couple of the challenges I am working on. I added a Great American Read page. The books I have read so far are:

To Kill a Mockingbird #1
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's..."


You're doing great! I keep my GAR list on a goodreads shelf rather than a spreadsheet, but I should download it to an excel file too.


message 19: by NancyJ, Moderator (last edited Sep 21, 2019 05:08AM) (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Kim wrote: "I'm up to 54 read! I am not pushing as hard as I was when this was still on the air. I have the top 5 on the list read, and need to complete 3 more for the top 10 to be completed. I like revisiting..."

The foundation gave grants to libraries before the tv show started, and I'm sure this helped book sales. We read Lonesome Dove last summer together and we all loved it. I think it was one my biggest surprises. I don't think I ever would have read it otherwise. My other big surprise find was Their Eyes Were Watching God.

I really like audios now too. Most libraries allow patrons to request books and audio books, but some of the older audio versions are awful. Before you make a request, check out the listening samples on audible to find the narration you like.

I joined audible primarily to get audios of the books in the Outlander series, because they were hard to get from the library.

The audio for Their Eyes Were Watching God narrated by Ruby Dee is really great.


message 20: by NancyJ, Moderator (last edited Sep 21, 2019 05:22AM) (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Zoe wrote: "I myself am grateful for the PBS program and this Goodreads group because it got me to finally read Charlotte's Web and To Kill A Mocking Bird, both outstanding books by my standards. They were on ..."

Lynn wrote: "Zoe wrote:

To Kill A Mocking Bird ...."


Quite a few of the books on the list have been made into movies. There are some I don't care to read because I think the movie was enough (e.g The Martian), but I could be wrong.

I'm really glad I read the books for To Kill a Mockingbird, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and The Color of Purple, even though I saw all the movies long ago. The movie images were in my head at first, but then the book took over.

I feel asleep watching the movie The Book Thief, but everyone says the book is great.


Linda Abhors the New GR Design | 915 comments The book's good....I'm not sure I'd say "fantastic!", but good.


message 22: by NancyJ, Moderator (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Linda Abhors the New GR Design wrote: "The book's good....I'm not sure I'd say "fantastic!", but good."

Which book are you referring to Linda?


Linda Abhors the New GR Design | 915 comments "The Book Thief"....I've been jumping on from phone, no app, and a lot of capabilities are gone


message 24: by Gretchen (new)

Gretchen Currently reading The Picture of Dorian Gray and Another Country


message 25: by Gretchen (last edited Feb 18, 2020 08:16AM) (new)

Gretchen I have finished 26. One I just don't remember. I think I have but it would have been as a kid and I just don't remember. A few I started but put aside. I will finish them eventually. I have several of the big books on for 2020. I would like to read at least 4 more in 2020. The other list I am working on is Amazons 100 mysteries. I have finished around 75 of those and would like to read 5 to 10 of those in 2020


message 26: by Gretchen (new)

Gretchen Just finished #27


message 27: by Gretchen (new)

Gretchen 28 now. I hope to read at least 7 more in 2020.


message 28: by Catherine (new)

Catherine (yarnmama10) | 1 comments 56


message 29: by Donald (new)

Donald Powell | 5 comments 75


message 30: by Gretchen (new)

Gretchen I recounted what I have read and have read 30. This group has really inspired me. I hope to have several more read throughout this year.


message 31: by Linds (new)

Linds I'm close. I only have three left to read... unless I'm a stickler about the "series" qualifications. In that case, I'm very far away.

I was wondering how everyone is handling that. Books like Lord of the Rings are pretty necessary to read all of the books. I kind of assume most people read all of Harry Potter to get the full story, but that could just be the age I grew up in. I also assume people generally complete their personal favorites - be it Hunger Games or Twilight, but stop otherwise. (My personal favorite is Hitchhiker's Guide, so why isn't THAT series included?? Hehe.)

A series like Outlander or Game of Thrones are currently marked as "ongoing", so how could you complete that with finality? A series like Alex Cross has thirty (?) books. Left Behind has sixteen. Doable, if you enjoy it. Overkill otherwise. If I read the first book, and that's enough, does it count as completing the Great American Read? (Fifty Shades of Grey, I'm looking at you.)

I was just curious how everyone is going about the books the specify the series. I have four series that I didn't feel compelled to continue. Soooo... am I close or not? I can't decide! :)


Linda Abhors the New GR Design | 915 comments Sounds like it.
I think the reason they made LoTR and HP series count as one and not Hitchhiker is that those two probably have a wider and much younger fan base. So rather than have HP occupy 6 spots on the list, or have people arguing which one of the HP books is best and deserves to be on the list, they just put the whole series (same with Outlander).


message 33: by NancyJ, Moderator (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
I think that's a good explanation Linda. In the BBC vote, all the Potter books made the list, so it was a bit messy. PBR learned from their mistake.


message 34: by NancyJ, Moderator (last edited Jun 25, 2020 03:07PM) (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Linds wrote: "I'm close. I only have three left to read... unless I'm a stickler about the "series" qualifications. In that case, I'm very f
I was wondering how everyone is handling that. Books like Lor..."



Hi LInds,
When I look at the list of 100 top books, I count it as read if I read at least the first book in the series. I read all the Potter books and most of the trilogies, and I'm getting close to the end of the Outlander series. I don't have any desire to finish the Alex Cross series though. (I got turned off to Patterson a long time ago.)

I don't even have an accurate count of the original 100 because there are some books that I honestly can't remember for sure that I read (versus saw the movie). My memory is getting worse, so it's great that I found goodreads. I can record every book I read now.

That's great advice on Left Behind. My husband read most of the series, and he started to hate them. I've become happier since I stopped feeling the need to "complete" everything I start. Life's too short.


back to top