W.T.T.W. (Channel 11), Chicago’s P.B.S. station, in cooperation with the Chicago Literary Alliance, will host a free screening of the ninety-minute-long premiere episode of the eight-part series The Great American Read (2018) at the Literacenter from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 22, 2018. The Literacenter is located at 641 West Lake Street, Chicago, Illinois 60661.
At this free live screening, bibliophiles will celebrate reading, share their favorite novels from the Top 100 List, and select a summer reading list. Readers of all ages are welcome. Drinks and snacks will be on hand. For adults twenty-one-years of age and older, craft beer and wine will be available, as well.
P.B.S. stated, “THE GREAT AMERICAN READ is an eight-part series that explores and celebrates the power of reading, told through the prism of America’s 100 best-loved novels (as chosen in a national survey). It investigates how and why writers create their fictional worlds, how we as readers are affected by these stories, and what these 100 different books have to say about our diverse nation and our shared human experience.”
The television series features entertaining and informative documentary segments, with compelling testimonials from celebrities, authors, notable Americans and book lovers across the country. It is comprised of a two-hour launch episode in which the list of 100 books is revealed, five one-hour theme episodes that examine concepts common to groups of books on the list, and a finale, in which the results are announced of a nationwide vote to choose America’s best-loved book.
P.B.S. and the show’s producers worked with the public opinion polling service YouGov, which conducted a demographically and statistically representative survey of 7,200 Americans asking them to name their most-loved novels. An advisory panel of thirteen literary industry professionals helped tally and organize the results based on the selection criteria of the producers.
The producers narrowed the list of America’s favorite books to 100 by limiting the poll to novels and restricting the number of titles per author or authoress to one each. [This included J.R.R. Tolkien’s three-volume novel The Lord of the Rings and the seven books in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.] Each member of the panel was able to select one novel from the survey results to discuss and possibly include on the Top 100 List.
According to P.B.S., “The list contains a broad range of fictional titles, authors, time periods, countries, genres and subject matter. The list includes books from as far back as the 1600s and as recent as 2016. From beloved world literature to contemporary best sellers, many categories are represented: 20th century [sic] American classics, thrillers, young adult novels, sci-fi/fantasy, adventure, historical fiction, romantic stories, and books that represent the human experience told from a diverse range of perspectives.”
Viewers can download the Top 100 List here, print it out, and check off the novels they have read themselves. Viewers will vote to name one of these 100 novels America’s favorite book.
To do it, voting will open online with the broadcast of the premiere episode and continue throughout summertime, leading up to the finale in October. Viewers will be able to vote online through the Website and via social media (specifically Facebook and Twitter). In the autumn, viewers will also be able to vote through the text-messaging service S.M.S. (Short Message Service) and toll-free calling. Hosted by Meredith Viera, The Great American Read was made possible by the Anne Ray Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and P.B.S. viewers.