Great American Reads You Should Check Out

November 9, 2018

America loves a good television series and follows the latest shows, binges on Netflix and discusses documentaries at the water cooler. Even though television is entertaining, it never quite lives up to the detail and richness of a well-written book. The sound of a crisp page turning as you find out what happens enlivens the senses and brings a tactile experience to reading.

Some stories stand out in our memories and stay with us for years after we read them. These tales are so unique and engaging we come to love the characters almost as though they’re real people. If you’re looking for a new book to read, a great place to start is with one of the 100 novels featured on The Great American Read series on PBS. The series combines the best of reading with the ease of television viewing. You can then enhance the experience by reading the featured books.

Pulling in a Younger Generation

The average person over 15 years of age spends about 17 minutes a day reading for pleasure. Surprisingly, the younger generation still reads books, although the format they prefer varies from what those 65 and older prefer. Millennials, for example, prefer digital books and audiobooks more so than previous generations.

Young people still love books thanks to modern books that engage their imagination and pull them into a new world where they can live vicariously through the main characters. Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” series engaged an entire generation of millennials at a time when they were just discovering novels as a leisure activity.

The books also engaged moms of the teen girls reading the books, setting off a scenario where families waited in line for the latest release, made trips to Forks, Washington to see the town where the series was set and lined up for hours to see the movie versions as they were released.

Teaching Caution

In the back of people’s minds, they know dangerous people exist in the world. Your neighbor could be a saint, a thief or a serial killer. However, when Alice Sebold’s “The Lovely Bones” came out, Americans were reminded that things aren’t always what they seem and there is real evil in the world.

The book became a bestseller telling the story of a young teen who is in heaven. The reader learns her story from her viewpoint and how her killer plotted her death and had killed others. The book is unique because of the skill used to write the book from the viewpoint of a girl who is in between earth and heaven. It also served as a cautionary tale to be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts.

Learning From Others’ Viewpoints

Learning to listen to others is a vital skill as a member of a civilized society. Some books start a conversation with others and allow you to discuss your viewpoints and differences in a constructive way. “The Shack” by Wm. Paul Young is one of those books. The book tells the story of faith, but some of the elements allow for a creative license as to what you believe of God and heaven.

The book started conversations at work, in churches and over coffee with friends. The book tells a compelling story of losing your faith and finding it again. It allowed people to learn from each other’s faith and see that even though our beliefs may vary, we can come together at the end of the day and find hope.

Where to Start

With more than 100 unique and engaging books, it’s hard to know where to start. Take the time to read the book descriptions, and a few reviews from others, and choose the title that appeals to you. The three books mentioned above are good choices, but they are merely a few books in a long list of memorable titles.



At The Masters Review, our mission is to support emerging writers. We only accept submissions from writers who can benefit from a larger platform: typically, writers without published novels or story collections or with low circulation. We publish fiction and nonfiction online year-round and put out an annual anthology of the ten best emerging writers in the country, judged by an expert in the field. We publish craft essays, interviews and book reviews and hold workshops that connect emerging and established writers.

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