Soon-to-be 'Jeopardy!' guest host LeVar Burton launches book club with James Baldwin novel

·3 min read

Generations of readers who grew up loving books thanks to LeVar Burton can continue reading along with him as adults.

The bookish actor and literacy advocate is launching the LeVar Burton Book Club in partnership with Fable, described on its app and website as a means to discover, read and discuss books, and help build "human connections."

"As a lifelong 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 foster the importance of storytelling while sharing my love of reading."

More: Who will be the next 'Jeopardy!' host? Everything we know about the search

LeVar Burton attends the 70th National Book Awards ceremony in New York on Nov. 20, 2019. Burton launched the LeVar Burton Book Club with the Fable app, described on its website as a means to discover, read and discuss books, and help foster "human connection" and mental health.
LeVar Burton attends the 70th National Book Awards ceremony in New York on Nov. 20, 2019. Burton launched the LeVar Burton Book Club with the Fable app, described on its website as a means to discover, read and discuss books, and help foster "human connection" and mental health.

Burton, who helped young viewers love books with PBS' "Reading Rainbow" and hosts the podcast "LeVar Burton Reads," chose James Baldwin's "Go Tell It on the Mountain," a 1953 semi-autobiographical novel about a Harlem teenager, as his first Fable choice. Next up are Octavia Butler's "Parable of the Sower" and "The Fire This Time," a poetry and essay collection edited by two-time National Book Award-winner Jesmyn Ward.

Burton is busy on another front this summer: He will step in as a guest host on "Jeopardy!"

The quiz show, which lost its longtime host Alex Trebek to cancer last November, has yet to announce a permanent successor. It 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 has lobbied': 'Jeopardy!' producer on how LeVar Burton won his audition spot

Burton is such a fan of the show, he actively campaigned for a slot as "Jeopardy!" host. Fans of Burton have lobbied for him to be the permanent replacement, with a petition drive attracting more than 250,000 signatures so far.

The actor, known for his roles as Kunta Kinte in 1977 ABC miniseries "Roots" and Lt. Cmdr. Geordi La Forge in "Star Trek: The Next Generation," says he's "really, really, really" serious about wanting to take over as permanent host for the popular quiz show.

"This is something that I really think is a good idea," the 64-year-old said, appearing on an April episode of USA TODAY’s The Mothership podcast. "I think it’s a good fit of what the show is, what the show requires and what I feel like I bring to the table."

"I feel as strongly about my rightness for this as I did about Kunta and Geordi. And I’m that invested in getting the job," he added.

Burton also said that he wants to do "justice to the legacy of Alex."

Contributing: Amy Haneline; Associated Press

More: Alex Trebek's widow Jean Trebek gives first interview since husband's death: 'I miss him a lot'

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: LeVar Burton launches book club with James Baldwin novel

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting