The “Grand Finale” episode of The Great American Read aired on PBS (Ozarks Public Television) on Tuesday evening (October 23rd at 7 p.m.). The winning book was To Kill a Mockingbird, a 1960 coming-of-age novel by Harper Lee about racism and injustice. The other top vote-getters were Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” series about a time-spanning love, J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” wizard tales, Jane Austen’s 200 year old comedy of manners, Pride and Prejudice, and J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” fantasy saga.
For a number of weeks, The Great American Read has explored and celebrated the power of reading, as viewed through the prism of America’s 100 best-loved novels. Over the course of several months, America’s readers have voted to select their favorite books from the list of one hundred novels chosen in a national survey. The series (and the local events that have surrounded it) have encouraged viewers to spend more time reading. In addition, The Great American Read has promoted the valuable resources that our libraries represent in the communities they serve.
In addition to The Great American Read, another literary poll has been underway on a local level. Ozarks Public Television (OPT), the MSU Libraries, and the MSU Department of English partnered with several public library districts in southwest Missouri to facilitate a regional poll: The Great Ozarks Read. The results of this vote have been tabulated and they reveal the Ozarks region’s favorite novels from The Great American Read book list.
Here are the voting results for The Great Ozarks Read:
1st Twilight – Written by American author Stephenie Meyer. The first book in this series of novels was published in 2005. The saga has enjoyed popularity within the categories of romance, fantasy, and young adult fiction.
2nd Harry Potter – Written by British author J.K. Rowling, the first in this series of novels was published in 1997. The books have received world-wide acclaim.
3rd To Kill a Mockingbird – Written by American author Harper Lee and published in 1960. This tour de force won the Pulitzer Prize.
4th The Sun Also Rises – Written by American author Ernest Hemingway and published in 1926. Written in only a few months, this novel is often cited as the greatest work of this Nobel Prize winning author.
5th A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Written by American author Betty Smith and published in 1943. This novel was immensely successful and was even distributed in a portable edition for American troops serving overseas during the Second World War.
6th Little Women – Written by American author Louisa May Alcott and published in 1868. The book proved to be so popular, the artist was compelled to write two sequels that were also acclaimed by the public.
7th The Chronicles of Narnia – Written by Irish author C.S. Lewis, the first book in the series was The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe which was published in 1950.
8th (3-way tie) Outlander – Written by American author Diana Gabaldon. The first book in this popular series was published in 1991.
8th (3-way tie) Gone With the Wind – Written by American author Margaret Mitchell and published in 1936. This widely-read novel won the Pulitzer Prize.
8th (3-way tie) Anne of Green Gables – Written by Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery and published in 1908. The beloved book was followed by a number of sequels.
9th Pride and Prejudice – Written by British author Jane Austen, and published in 1813. The much-admired novel has spawned numerous dramatic adaptations.
10th The Book Thief – Written by Australian author Markus Zusak and published in 2005. This historical fiction novel has been very popular since it appeared.