Rowling, Tolkien, Austen novels vie for bragging rights
LOS ANGELES — The results are in for an impassioned national election that put the popularity of candidates Jane Austen, J.R.R. Tolkien and J.K. Rowling on the line.
The effort to discover America’s best-loved novel — and promote reading — the winner was announced during PBS’ “The Great American Read.” (News on the winner will be in the Nov. 7 edition on the Entertainment page.)
The series profiled the contenders and let bookworms, famous and not, advocate for their pick.
More than 4 million votes were cast over six months, PBS said, with Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” series and Rowling’s “Harry Potter” saga making the top 10 on an alphabetical-order list that was released as voting wrapped last week.
The other front-runners were “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White; “The Chronicles of Narnia” series by C.S. Lewis; “Gone with the Wind” by Margaret Mitchell; “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte; “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott; the “Outlander” series by Diana Gabaldon; and “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee.
“Harry Potter” was among the multivolume series that counted as a single entry. Given its hold on the modern imagination on the page, screen and stage, it might be the obvious winner.
Eliyannah Yisrael, who discovered Rowling’s magic touch about 15 years ago as a Chicago State University student, was among its vocal boosters on “The Great American Read” and beyond.
“Listen, me and ‘Harry Potter’ are going to take this thing to the end. I want to be victorious,” Yisrael told a TV critics’ gathering last summer.
J.R.R. Tolkien, author of “The Lord of the Rings,” series in 1967, left, and J.K. Rowling, author of the “Harry Potter” series at the “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” Broadway opening in New York on April 22, 2018.