I can’t get enough of the Great American Read website.
Readers submit their Great American Reads, explaining how these books impacted their lives. For example, a reader named Beverly connected with The Grapes of Wrath as she was breastfeeding her own child, moving her to tears. Kathy learned about empathy and courage while reading One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Several readers proudly remember the Harry Potter books as the first chapter books they read cover to cover. Even more readers indignantly want to know why their favorite books were left off PBS’s list, and some offer compelling arguments for inclusion.
My Great American Read is The Stand, by Stephen King. I was twelve and bored the summer I picked it up. In the book, America is plagued by a military-created virus that starts out as a summer cold. Just one percent of the population survives… only to discover a devil worse than the super flu. At 1200 pages, the book is a buffet of sorrows, dramas, and redemption, and I gorged. The book is so long that when I read it now, I feel a little guilty for indulging. Sometimes I miss being that twelve-year-old who believed in pure good and pure evil. When the survivors find each other and make their stand, I love experiencing that small moment of belief again.