Have you voted yet? More than 3.8 million people have.
But the clock is ticking down on casting your ballot for America's best-loved novel. The finale of PBS' "The Great American Read" series, during which the winner will be revealed, is Tuesday, Oct. 23, but voting ends at 1:59 a.m. on Friday.
The multiplatform "The Great American Read" launched in May as did online voting. A YouGov public opinion poll yielded a list of America's 100 favorite novels from which voters can choose.
Now PBS has revealed the top 10 vote-getters so far, in alphabetical order, noting that voters can still pick from all 100 books:
- "Charlotte's Web"
- "Chronicles of Narnia" series
- "Gone with the Wind"
- "Harry Potter" series
- "Jane Eyre"
- "Little Women"
- "Lord of the Rings" series
- "Outlander" series
- "Pride and Prejudice"
- "To Kill a Mockingbird"
The network also noted that "many states’ top 10 lists reflect their regional pride for featured books by authors hailing from those states." This includes Louisiana, where "A Confederacy of Dunces" is in its top 10. The book's central character, Ignatius J. Reilly, lives with his mother in New Orleans, also where author John Kennedy Toole was born.
The "100" list itself has generated debate, as much about what's included as what great works didn't make the cut.
"How can you take a list like that seriously that doesn’t include at least one by James Michener?" Baton Rouge reader Phil Yeates asked The Advocate via email two days after the show's premiere. "Not 'The Source'? Not even 'Tales of the South Pacific'?" he continued. "How about (Robert M.) Pirsig’s 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance'? Nothing from James Clavel … not even 'Shogun'? How about the only novel that actually made me cry while reading it, Kaled Hosseini's 'A Thousand Splendid Suns'?
Yeates went on to compare choosing a favorite novel to picking a favorite ice cream.
"You’re in for some serious discussions," he said.
Both quite enjoyable, but novels have that no-calorie advantage.
Along with all the talk and a lot of voting, "The Great American Read" has featured public events, social media elements and national reading clubs, all celebrating books and reading. The East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library is hosting a watch party for the finale.
Local PBS affiliate WLPB devoted the September installment of its public affairs show "Louisiana Public Square" to reading and the state's ongoing illiteracy problem. Check out the video at video.lpb.org/show/louisiana-public-square/.
Meanwhile, "The Great American Read" has one more episode on Tuesday night before next week's finale. The "Other Worlds" episode explores books that take readers to other real and imagined lands. Think J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, the beloved, satirical "Gulliver's Travels" by Jonathan Swift, and Frank Herbert's futuristic "Dune."
For more information and how to vote, including online and by phone, visit pbs.org/greatamericanread.
'The Great American Read'
WHEN: 7 p.m. Tuesday and Oct. 23
CHANNEL: WLPB, Channel 27 (cable Channel 12) in Baton Rouge and Lafayette, WYES, Channel 11 (cable Channel 12) in New Orleans
LPB’s 'Great American Read' Watch Party
WHEN: 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 23
WHERE: East Baton Rouge Parish Library main branch, 7711 Goodwood Blvd.
DETAILS: Food, games, prizes, plus vote on America’s most loved novel; winner gets $100 gift card from Cavalier House Books in Denham Springs. Dressing as a favorite book character encouraged, but not required. Space limited. RSVP at lpb.org/tgar.