What America Reads

The mass appeal of many fiction best-sellers seems to come from the combination of mythic characters and realistic, historically identifiable settings. These five novels, published between 1852 and 1971, are united not only by their reliance on a sense of place but also by the similarity of their myth making.

Book List

  • Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  • Shane by Jack Schaefer
  • From Here to Eternity by James Jones
  • A Tan and Sandy Silence by John D. MacDonald

Program Brochure

The materials for this program were developed in 1984 by Bill Ott, editor, Books for Adults, Booklist magazine.

Download the scholar’s essay, annotated book list, and supplementary texts (PDF). Please note: The American Library Association is the copyright owner of this essay and annotations. The credit lines embedded in the program materials and/or sponsor and funder logos must remain on all published (print and web) materials derived from these materials.

How-To Discussion Programming Guides

Developed to aid participants in “The Millennium Project for Public Libraries,” this how-to guide (PDF) provides basic information about developing and promoting book discussion programs.

When planning a “Let’s Talk About It” program, you may wish to consult the planner’s manual (PDF) for general how-to information about program format, selecting a scholar, promoting your series, evaluation, and more.