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Last month I wrote an article about The Great American Read sponsored by PBS. Readers could choose their favorite novel from a list of 100 books compiled from an extensive survey of American's favorites. The results are in and To Kill a Mockingbird was voted by the audience as America's best loved novel. The Harper Lee story never faltered in the lead for the whole five months of voting.

Second place went to the popular time travel series The Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I can't believe that the first book in this amazing historical fantasy series was first published 27 years ago. It has been difficult to keep enough of Gabaldon's books on the shelf to meet the demand for all these years.


Third place was captured by the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. This was not a surprise to me since the novels in this fantasy series, written for teenagers, were extremely popular both with teens and adults. The success of the movies based on the books contributed to keeping all the novels in this series on the best seller lists. In fact, Harry Potter is the best selling series in the history of children's books.


In fourth place was Pride and Prejudice, the enduring classic regency novel, by Jane Austen. This book is certainly one of the most popular novels in English literature with over 20 million copies sold.


The fifth spot was taken by the Lord of the Rings, another series popular with both teens and adults, with a highly regarded series of films to help keep demand high. The fantasy series by J.R.R. Tolkien was written in stages between 1937 and 1949 and the film series (2001 to 2003) helped introduce a whole new generation to this body of work.


One other notable thing about the top five is that 3 out of 5 were series. I personally love to read a series with a cast of interesting characters that you get to know. I don't have the statistics to back it up but I think that at least half the books we sell at the bookstore are part of a series.


Spots 6-10 went to Gone with the Wind, Charlotte's Web, Little Women, the Chronicles of Narnia and Jane Eyre. One of the things that I found very encouraging about the results were that many of the titles in the top ten were books whose primary appeal is to younger readers. Sometimes all it takes is one great book read to or by a child to introduce them to the wonderful world of books for the rest of their lives.

Jill B.

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Kids Series

Ever wanted a great book you knew your child would love? I know the perfect series for your 10-14 year old!
Enjoyable, hair-raising, and thrilling, the Guardian Herd series is a 4 book trilogy full of promising excitement. Star, the Black Foal of Anok, is awaiting execution on his first birthday. His best friend, Morningleaf, is a beautiful pegasus with a brilliant mind, ready to protect her friend at all costs. Thunderwing, the over-stallion of Sun Herd, who happens to be Morningleaf’s sire (father), will not budge on his decision to dispose of The Black Foal on his birthday. For centuries, Black Foals have been born, waiting for the Hundred Year Star to grant them Starfire on their first birthday, only to be killed by their fearful herd over-stallions. True, they have a reason to fear the starfire, since, once the over-stallion of Jungle herd let his Black Foal live. Instead of becoming the anticipated Healer, the Black Foal of Jungle Herd became Nightwing the Destroyer. He almost made the pegasi extinct, but let one of his friends and a couple others live. After letting them live, he was thought to have died, but old stories say that he is somewhere, waiting to be awoken from his hibernation. It also doesn’t help that Star is a dud (a pegasus that cannot fly) like Nightwing. Star is unsure that he will turn into the Healer, but Morningleaf has complete confidence that Star will be good. Silvercloud, Thunderwing’s mate and Morningleaf and Hazelwind’s dam (mother), hopes he will, and tries to hide him, so he will not perish. Yet, with his best friend’s life on the line, will Star stay and let Morningleaf die, or will he sacrifice himself to keep her alive? Find out in Starfire, book 1 in the Guardian Herd series.
The astounding author of these books, Jennifer Lynn Alvarez, happens to be a local author! I had the pleasure of meeting her many times, and she is just wonderful to talk to! Helpful and caring, Mrs. Alvarez made a Summer Writing Club for children and adults. In these meetings, she offers exceptional tips for writing. Keep watching for her new series, Riders of the Realm, which is yet another masterpiece.
I hope you enjoyed reading this book review, and just remember, “A Good Book is a Good Friend.” 

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