Great American Read


This summer, the Mifflin County Library will participate in PBS’s the Great American Read. This is an eight-part television series that explores and celebrates the power of reading. The show will explore how we as readers are affected by these stories, and what these 100 different books have to say about us. Viewers are encouraged to vote on their favorite book or books from this list of 100 Great Reads. The series concludes when the winner of the vote is announced, sometime in October. The Great American Read premieres Tuesday, May 22 at 8 p. m. on your local PBS channel.

You can find more about the Great American Read online at Or you can come into the library and we’ll help you. We also have an iPad station set up for library users to cast their vote for their favorite Read.

The list includes 100 favorite titles and series of titles. I don’t have room to list them all, but here are a few notables:

“And Then There Were None” by Agatha Christie. My sister introduced me to Agatha Christie on Christmas 1985 when she gave me a five-novels-in-one collection. What kind of person gives a 14-year-old five novels of multiple brutal murders? The best sister in the world, that’s who! I’ve been a huge Christie fan ever since.

“Jurassic Park” by Michael Crichton. Dinosaurs and carnage but also the story of scientists’ callousness toward doing what is right and doing a thing because you can. As Ian Malcolm said, “At times like this one feels, well, perhaps extinct animals should be left extinct.”

“Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen. Every Austen enthusiast would be highly vexed if this novel were not on the list. It is a truth universally acknowledged that this is the best book ever.

The list also includes series such as:

“Harry Potter” by JK Rowling. Because, of course! This series helped raise a generation of readers. And this summer marks the 20th anniversary of when the magic began. I’m already decorating my office accordingly.

“Fifty Shades of Grey” by EL James. What? No, I’m not kidding! It’s on the list! I haven’t read this series because if I’m gonna read a book like THAT, then there should at least be a vampire present.

“Alex Cross Mysteries” by James Patterson. James Patterson has become the bane of my existence only because he wrote 54 books in 2017; and probably that many in 2018. Do you know how difficult it is to keep up with a guy like that and purchase all of those books for the library? But the man can write! And I just love his TV commercials! Especially this one from several years ago, “If you don’t buy my books, I will kill Alex Cross!”

Which book on the list would you vote for as the Greatest American Read? Is there a title that isn’t on the list and should be?


Susan Miriello is the acting library director at the Mifflin County Library. Of the 100 Great American Reads, she’s read about 35. She is currently reading “The Hunt for Red October” by Tom Clancy. This is the first Jack Ryan novel and one of the Great American Reads books she hasn’t read.