The Best Gifts are Books!

Back in the fall, PBS hosted “The Great American Read,” an eight-part TV series that explored and celebrated the power of reading, told through America’s 100 best-loved novels as chosen in a national survey. Testimonials from celebrities, authors, notable Americans and book lovers across the country filled the episodes, and books were divided into similar subjects such as “Villains and Monsters,” “Heroes” and “Other Worlds.”

Whether you are looking for books as a gift for the holidays or looking to stock up reading for those long winter days in front of a fireplace, there are plenty of great books for middle-grade readers on the final list from classics to fantasy, mystery to contemporary. No surprise to see the Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and The Hunger Games series on the list.  Newer books include Ready Player One, where Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings in 2045 by spending his waking hours in a virtual utopia until he solves the first puzzle in a game set to grant massive fortune and remarkable power to whoever can solve it.


Some childhood classics on the list:

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a coming of age story about Francie growing up in the often harsh life of Williamsburg with her family’s erratic and eccentric behavior—such as her father Johnny’s taste for alcohol and Aunt Sissy’s habit of marrying serially without the formality of divorce. The Nolans’ daily experiences at the turn of the twentieth century are wound with honesty and family ties,

Catcher in the Rye is about a sixteen-year-old native New Yorker named Holden Caulfield who leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days in a complex story of teen angst and alienation.

Little Women follows the lives of four devoted sisters in Civil War-era America from innocent adolescence to sage adulthood, with all the joy and sorrow of life in between, with a willful, headstrong heroine in Jo, the backbone of the March family.

The Little Prince: After being stranded in a desert after a crash, a pilot comes in contact with a captivating little prince who recounts his journey from planet to planet. First published in 1943, the novella is the most famous work of French aristocrat, writer, poet, and pioneering aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

Charlotte’s Web: Charlotte, a resourceful spider, writes messages praising Wilbur, a stockyard pig,  in her web in order to persuade the farmer to let him live. A great story of the love and friendship Charlotte brings to her friends.

Here is the complete 100 list:

What are your favorite books on this list? What’s on your bucket list to read?

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