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Book covers from The Great American Read

What's America's Favorite Novel?

Daniel Hautzinger

Did your favorite novel come out first in The Great American Read's search for America's best-loved book? Find the top ten books by voting here, and learn insights from the results.
The author Alex Haley in 1976

From the Archive: Alex Haley, Author of 'Roots'

Daniel Hautzinger

The author of Roots and The Autobiography of Malcolm X explains the origins of Roots and his difficulty in capturing the experience of being on a slave-ship in a 1976 interview. "The absence of pride changes to a presence of pride" when you know your history, he says.
Banned Books Week

What Makes People Ban Books?

Daniel Hautzinger

The American Library Assocation's Office for Intellectual Freedom is currently hosting Banned Books Week. What kinds of books were most frequently challenged in 2017, and what books from The Great America Read's list of America's favorite novels have been banned?
The Chicago Literacy Alliance's Literacenter. Photo: Eileen Molony

Working Towards a Fully Literate Society

Daniel Hautzinger

One in six adults, or 35 million people, read below a fourth-grade level in the United States. The Chicago Literacy Alliance is working to change that, by bringing together organizations with similar goals and fostering collaboration amongst them.
Chicago's Seminary Co-op

Even More of Chicago's Favorite Indie Bookstores

Daniel Hautzinger

Discover the stories behind more of Chicago's favorite indie bookstores on the South Side, including a legendary, long-lived one that counts Barack and Michelle Obama amongst its fans.
Pilsen Community Books in Chicago

More of Chicago's Beloved Independent Bookstores

Daniel Hautzinger

Independent bookstores remain an irreplaceable asset, with their staff recommendations and sense of community. We've already featured three Chicago stalwarts, but here are the stories of a few more of the city's beloved indie bookstores.
Chicago Books to Women in Prison

How Volunteers Help Improve the Quality of Life for Women in Prison Through Books

Daniel Hautzinger

Last year, Illinois spent less than $300 on prison libraries, and access is often very limited. So Chicago Books to Women in Prison does exactly what its name says.  “By helping women have a better quality of life while in prison, that's just better for their family and the community they'll be returning to," says a volunteer.
A bookstore. Photo: Adolfo Felix on Unsplash

Chicago's Independent Bookstores

Daniel Hautzinger

If you love books, you probably also love bookstores, and independent bookstores remain irreplaceable gems, with their staff recommendations, unusual selections, and sense of community. Discover the stories behind a few of Chicago's beloved indie bookstores.
John Updike

From the Archive: John Updike

Daniel Hautzinger

"Nobody needs a book much, do they?" It's a surprising sentiment to hear coming from a writer, but in this 1981 interview with WTTW's John Callaway, John Updike discusses his impressively humble views on literature, his existential anxieties, and his goals as a writer.
Summer reading on the beach. Photo: rawpixel on Unsplash

What 'Chicago Tonight' Is Reading This Summer

Daniel Hautzinger

Need some new book recommendations for the summer? Discover some of the books the Chicago Tonight‚Äč is reading right now, from a sweeping family saga to a clear-eyed memoir of race to a book of chatty but opinionated essays by a Chicagoan.
Classic literary characters

What Classic Novel Character Are You?

Daniel Hautzinger

Are you adventurous like Tom Sawyer? Fierce like Jo March? Just like Atticus Finch? Indomitable like Celie? Find out which classic literary character you are and get a reading list for your personality from The Great American Read's list of America's best-loved novels.
Hermione Granger and the Quarter Life Crisis

How a Harry Potter Fan Reimagined the Characters As She Saw Them

Daniel Hautzinger

Chicago native Eliyannah Amirah Yisrael is an ardent Harry Potter fan who wanted to extend her time with the characters she loved, so she made a web series about a 25-year-old Hermione, using her love of reading and power of empathy to reimagine Hermione in her image.
Book covers. Photo: Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Can You Guess the Book by Its Cover?

Daniel Hautzinger

We're always being told not to judge a book by its cover, but in this case you should: can you identify 20 books from The Great American Read's list of America's 100 favorite novels by just their covers? Test your knowledge here, and get reading!
Louisa May Alcott. Photo: Orchard House

Beyond 'Little Women': Louisa May Alcott's Other Writings

Daniel Hautzinger

Louisa May Alcott may be best-known for her classic Little Women, but she also wrote racy potboilers in which women transgress societal norms under a pseudonym that wasn't traced to her until decades after death, as well as children's fables and moralisti young adult books.
Jonah Hauer-King as Laurie in Little Women. Photo: MASTERPIECE on PBS, BBC and Playground

America's Favorite Novels, in TV Form

Daniel Hautzinger

PBS loves books. From Masterpiece adaptations of classic novels to documentaries about authors, literature plays a big role in our programming. As we celebrate reading with The Great American Read, discover which of America's favorite novels, plus some other worthy books, can be seen on TV.
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