LeVar Burton launches book club with James Baldwin novel
“ Jeopardy! Mike Richards explains how LeVar Burton became guest host
“Peril!” Executive producer Mike Richards tells USA TODAY’s Gary Levin that LeVar Burton is the only person actively lobbying the guest host.
Entertain This !, USA TODAY
Generations of readers who grew up loving books thanks to LeVar Burton can continue to read with him into adulthood.
The bookish actor and literacy advocate launches the LeVar Burton Book Club in partnership with Fable, described on its app and website as a way to discover, read and discuss books, and to help make “human connections”.
“As a long-time advocate for literacy, the opportunity to launch my book club on Fable’s wonderful new platform is extremely exciting and timely,” Burton said in a statement Tuesday. “This partnership will help promote the importance of storytelling while sharing my love of reading.”
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Burton, who helped young viewers love books with PBS’s “Reading Rainbow” and who hosts the “LeVar Burton Reads” podcast, chose James Baldwin’s “Go Tell It on the Mountain”, a semi-autobiographical novel by 1953 about a Harlem teenager, as his first choice Fable. This is followed by “The Parable of the Sower” by Octavia Butler and “The Fire This Time”, a collection of poetry and essays edited by Jesmyn Ward, two-time winner of the National Book Prize.
Burton is busy on another front this summer: he will be speaking as a guest host on “Jeopardy!”
The trivia game, which lost longtime host Alex Trebek to cancer last November, has yet to announce a permanent successor. He has so far auditioned “Greatest of All Time” champion Ken Jennings, executive producer Mike Richards, news anchor Katie Couric, Dr Mehmet Oz, CNN’s Anderson Cooper, “60 Minutes” correspondent Bill. Whitaker and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
“No one else lobbied”: ‘Peril!’ producer on how LeVar Burton won his audition spot
Burton is such a fan of the series that he actively campaigned for a slot machine like “Jeopardy!” host. Burton fans have been pushing for him to be the permanent replacement, with a petition that has drawn more than 250,000 signatures to date.
The actor, known for his roles as Kunta Kinte in the 1977 ABC miniseries “Roots” and Lt. Cmdr. Geordi La Forge in “Star Trek: The Next Generation” says he is “really, really, really” serious about wanting to take over as a permanent host for the popular quiz.
“It’s something that I really think is a good idea,” said the 64-year-old, appearing in an April episode of USA TODAY’s The Mothership Podcast. “I think that fits in well with what the show is, what the show demands and what I feel like I bring to the table.”
“I am as convinced that I am right for this as I did it for Kunta and Geordi. And I am invested in getting the job,” he added.
Burton also said he wanted to do “justice to Alex’s legacy.”
Contributor: Amy Haneline; Associated press
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