Tag Archives: The Great American Read

Wednesday, October 24, 2018 – The Results

Wednesday, October 24, 2018 – The Results

And the winner of The Great American Read is:

To Kill a Mockingbird, Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Harper Lee published in 1960. It is the required novel of ninth grade English classes.

The literary genre is southern gothic, coming-of-age fiction and bildungsroman.

Since I had no idea what bildungsroman means I figured you did not know either. Here you go. Try to use it in your daily conversation today.

Bildungsroman is a noun meaning a novel dealing with one person’s formative years or spiritual education.

If you have never read this classic, read it now. If you have read it multiple times, read it again. This is especially true in these troubled times we are experiencing.

Perhaps you can read it while you wait in line to cast your ballot for your candidates in the mid-term elections. Please vote and exercise your right. Remember people die every day for our right to do this. Everyone should have the freedom to make their voice heard. Right, Scout?

Tuesday, October 23, 2018 – The Great American Read Finale, My Favorite Novel and Grogan Cochran Lumber Company

Tuesday, October 23, 2018 – The Great American Read Finale, My Favorite Novel and Grogan Cochran Lumber Company

Tonight is the finale of The Great American Read. The number one novel that received the most votes will be announced as America’s favorite novel.

There was a three-way tie for the correct response to my favorite novel. Of course, there were only three votes, but you are all correct. Yes, my favorite novel is Harper Lee’s 1960 publication and Pulitzer Prize winning To Kill a Mockingbird. So Beckie, Barbara and Debbie get to split the $11.50 I usually receive for turning in my books to Half-Price Books.

If you did not already know the correct response, the clue was in “Scout out the list to see if you can find it.” Scout, of course, is Atticus Finch’s daughter in To Kill a Mockingbird.

If you are old enough to remember Paul Harvey, as he would say “And now the rest of the story.”

In 1955 the Magnolia ISD board of trustees called for a $150,000 bond issue. The purpose was to construct a new cafeteria and a band hall, construct two classrooms at the high school, and make general improvements to all of the campuses in the district.

The tax base of Magnolia ISD was the lumber company. Grogan Cochran. Mr. Henry Grogan was against the bond issue because it included improvements to the segregated black school and encouraged his employees to vote again the bond issue.

Nevertheless, the bond issue passed and improvements were made across the district regardless of color lines.

Many years later, in cleaning out my father’s house we found a letter on Grogan Cochran Lumber Company stationery dated 1960. It was his termination letter from Grogan Cochran. My father was still alive and we asked him about the letter. All he said “Yep. If you are going to make improvements to one school you are going to make improvements to all of the schools.”

I hope there is a little bit of Atticus Finch in all of us today.

R. E. Duffey, late 1930’s. Someplace in Louisiana

All of the original papers associated with this story – the bond issue announcement, the blue prints for construction and improvements, the school district’s status report in 1955 and my father’s termination of employment letter reside in the Magnolia Depot.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018 – The Great American Read and a What Do You Think Puzzle

Wednesday, October 17, 2018 – The Great American Read and a What Do You Think Puzzle

I have been following The Great American Read on PBS since the premier episode last May. Quick Review: 100 books were selected as fictional works that influenced readers of all ages. Viewers are to selection their most loved book(s) that made a significant difference in their life. Next Tuesday the book that received the most votes will be announced.

My goal was to check off 50 titles that I have read by the end of August. I missed the deadline by a bit, but as of yesterday the count is up to 53 with two books sitting on the table to be read. I think I can have 60 checked off by the end of the year. I am pretty much left with those monstrosities with many pages – like the Russians and Dune, so it will be slow reading from now on. Once again, let’s review. One of the reasons I have read so many from the lists is that I hold three degrees in liberal arts. Those are those fields where you read and read and read some more. One of my favorite fields of study is Social and Intellectual History. You have to read a lot books.

What is my most favorite and influential book? Of course there are many and I’m not telling yet. But I will be keenly disappointed if it is not selected. However, I am sure I will be happy with the selection unless it is Fifty Shades of Gray. But I will give you some hints to my selection. American author, Deep South, racial tensions, and freedom. Scout out the list and see if you can guess.

The first to respond with the correct answer will receive the $11.75 that I usually when I turn the books into Half-Price Books. Responses must be made by 5:00 next Monday or whenever you can before Tuesday at 7:00 PM. So what are you thinking it might be?

View the 100 Most Loved Books at the link below.


Wednesday, June 27, 2018 – My Books. My Reading List. My Summer Project.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018 – My Books My Reading List My Summer Project

On June 21, I reached 50. My goal is 60 by August 31.

I want to see how many of the 100 Great Reads I can read.


This is quite doable. When the list was released in May I could check off 45 as having read. Thank you, but do not be impressed. Remember I have lots of sheepskins on the wall and all of them are liberal arts related. That is what liberal arts majors do – we read.

With my number of books rating (five books = excellent and 1 = Just OK) here are the five I read in June.

Bless Me, Ultima – Rudolfo Anaya – 4 Books. Good story and good insight into Chicano culture.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams – 5 Books – Loved it. An imagination stretched, but really funny.

The Outsiders – S. E. Hinton – 4 books. Should be read by every teenager and every adult who was once a teenager.

Thing Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe – 1 Book. Even though I did not care for this book, it does give insight into precolonial Africa.

Where the Red Fern Grows – Wilson Rawls – 5 books. A boy, two dogs, coon hunting and the South – what more can you ask for? I cried reading the book; cannot imagine the movie. If you ever loved your dog, you will cry too.

So what’s on the list for July?

A Separate Peace by John Knowles

The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut

White Teeth by Zadie Smith

Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

Ready Player One – Ernest Cline

Even if you are not as ambitious as I, find a book on the list and go escape from the world for a while. You can escape to any time period, any culture or even any galaxy with tales of love, passion and justice. Have I read a favorite of yours, yet?

Tuesday, May 29, 2018 – Calling All Bibliophiles and Especially Librarians, Literature and History Teachers.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018 – Calling All Bibliophiles and Especially Librarians, Literature and History Teachers.

Get those readers on and the bifocals focusing. Activate those library cards! It is time for the Great American Read!


The Late Buddy T. Cat.

On May 22, PBS showed the first of an eight-part series exploring and celebrating the power of reading. The Great American Read is 100 best-loved novels chosen in a national survey. It explores what these 100 books say about our great diversity and the human experience we share.

The genres displayed are as varied as readers are. The books are children’s and young adult books, science fiction novels, dystopian worlds, banned books, Pulitzer Prize winners, books by women who had to use their initials to get published, the classics you read in high school and college and just about every book you meant to read at some point.

These are the books that made a significant difference in your life. One is urged to reread some of the books based when you read it high school or college and compare to what you know and have experienced now.

And we get to vote on our favorites. While one only gets to vote once per day, you can vote for as many books as you desire until the end of summer. The finale will air with the number one selected book.

You can also download the list and check those you have read and determine those you will read next.

I thought I was pretty well read, but I have only read 45 of the books listed. I bought five on the list today. My goal is have read 50% of the list by the end of summer. Hint: Start with the juvenile fiction; they are short.

I have already selected the book that I think will be the most powerful book on the list. I am not giving the title, because I have more to read, but unless my bookmarks get blown away, I have chosen my book.

And before I close this chapter, let me rant momentarily.

Whoever thought Fifty Shade of Grey should be on this list should have to read War and Peace twice for punishment. Tell me how this POS and waste of trees made the list and The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck did not!

Happy Reading.