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Book lovers have own picks for Great American Read

Francesca Bond
Talking Leaves book shop

What do "Jane Eyre," "Harry Potter" and "Fifty Shades of Grey" have in common?

They're all part of the Great American Read -- a list of 100 novels, from classics to more contemporary works. And this summer, PBS and WNED-TV are asking people to vote for their favorites.

But it's impossible to get all of the greatest literary works on a list of a mere 100.

At cozy Talking Leaves Books on Elmwood Avenue, shoppers and booksellers took a look at the list on Thursday. They were asked: Is anything missing?

Everyone had an answer.

Bookseller Matthew Bonn would like to see poet Sylvia Plath’s semi-autobiographical novel, "The Bell Jar," on the list.

“Somebody once described being a woman in society to me as being a bicyclist while everyone else is driving cars,” Bonn said. “The Bell Jar was the first time I was able to feel that and realize that about our society.”

Ten-year-old Eamonn Rosch prefers a more modern approach to literature. He's now reading the graphic interpretation of Neil Gaiman’s "The Graveyard Book."

“I’m more of a graphic novel person. So when they come out with a series of books that were classic chapter books, such as the Graveyard books, I usually love to read them,” Rosch said.

His mom, Christine Rosch, is a history teacher. She recommends Kate Atkinson's "Life after Life."

"It’s just an amazing book," she said. "It’s about World War II but it’s about life, and it has so many twists and turns and it’s really, deeply original, and a really good read that you can’t really put it down.”

Alicia Michielli, assistant manager of the book shop, says the adventure fable "Wizard of Oz" is missing from the list. “I think would be hard pressed to find a children’s story that is more ubiquitous and well-known throughout the world.”

Beyond being a classic, it’s a story of morals and acceptance, Michielli says.

“As the adventures take all the different characters, most of which people don’t really know about outside of Dorothy and the Tin Man, they take them through different countries and different peoples and strange creatures, and it teaches about awareness of differences, acceptance of differences.”

You can vote for your favorite book at wned.org or on Facebook and Instagram, using the hashtag #GreatReadPBS.

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