The Great American Read |

The Great American Read

Press Release

Tuesday, May 22, 2018 - 7:00pm

PBS unveils a list of America’s 100 best-loved novels, chosen in support of The Great American Read, a new PBS series and multi-platform initiative that celebrates the joy of reading and the books we love.

The Great American Read, hosted by television personality and journalist Meredith Vieira, launches with a two-hour episode on Tuesday, May 22 at 7:00 p.m. on KUED and will introduce viewers to the full list of America’s 100 favorite novels selected through a demographically representative national survey conducted by YouGov.

The series will also feature interviews with celebrities, authors, superfans, and everyday Americans discussing the way particular books have influenced them and the role of those books in American popular culture. The series will resume in the fall with several themed episodes, including an exciting finale, culminating in the first-ever national vote to choose “America’s Best-Loved Novel.” 

“There is perhaps no greater experience than discovering a novel that takes hold of you, works itself into your heart and your mind, changes the way you think, or takes you into another world,” said Paula Kerger, PBS President and CEO. “With The Great American Read, we will leverage our combined broadcast and digital presence, along with the strong local connections of PBS member stations, to inspire a national conversation about beloved books and the power of reading.”

Voting will open with the launch of the two-hour premiere episode on May 22 and continue throughout the summer, leading up to the grand finale in October 2018. Over the summer, viewers will be able to vote at and through hashtag voting via Facebook and Twitter using #GreatReadPBS. In the fall, viewers will also be able to cast their vote toll-free by phone and through SMS texting.

Authors, celebrities and notables joining the search for “America’s Best-Loved Novel” include Diana Gabaldon, George Lopez, Seth Meyers, Junot Diaz, Lauren Graham, John Green, John Irving, Bill T. Jones, Devon Kennard, Gayle King, George R.R. Martin, Wynton Marsalis, Lesley Stahl, Ming-Na Wen, and many more, each of whom will share their personal stories and connections to their favorite book.

Whether it’s rediscovering an old favorite or engaging with a new title, The Great American Read program will encourage people to read as many novels as they can from the top 100 list, discuss them in virtual and community events organized by local public television stations, libraries, and book clubs, and vote all summer for their favorites. The campaign will culminate in a list of America’s favorite works of fiction and ultimately, America’s number one novel.

The Great American Read is supported by an extensive, digital and multiplatform campaign designed to inspire Americans to read, vote, and share their personal connections to titles on the top 100 list and beyond over the course of the summer.

KUED will kick off The Great American Read in Utah on Saturday, May 12 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the Salt Lake City Library. The event will include booksellers, interactive activities, program announcements, and opportunities to share a story about the book that changed your life.

PBS will develop resources and materials, including lesson plans and virtual book clubs, to encourage summer reading activities and extend the campaign into classrooms for the fall. To complement The Great American Read, over the summer PBS KIDS will also host PBS Kids Read as part of an annual summer learning initiative for children ages 2-8 and their families, encouraging reading and related activities through a variety of resources for kids and parents.

The top 100 book list released today is based on a public opinion poll, conducted by YouGov on behalf of PBS for The Great American Read, that asked respondents to name their favorite novel. An advisory panel of book industry professionals compiled the results. Each author was represented only once, and series were included as one entry.

Below is the full list of America’s 100 favorite novels, spanning five centuries and representing 15 different countries, in alphabetical order by title:



A Confederacy of Dunces

Heart of Darkness

A Game of Thrones

The Help

A Prayer for Owen Meany

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

A Separate Peace

The Hunger Games

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

The Hunt for Red October

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

The Intuitionist

The Alchemist

Invisible Man

Alex Cross Mysteries**

Jane Eyre

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

The Joy Luck Club


Jurassic Park

And Then There Were None

Left Behind

Anne of Green Gables

The Little Prince

Another Country

Little Women

Atlas Shrugged

Lonesome Dove


Looking for Alaska

Bless Me, Ultima 

The Lord of the Rings**

The Book Thief

The Lovely Bones

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

The Martian

The Call of the Wild

Memoirs of a Geisha


Mind Invaders

The Catcher in the Rye

Moby Dick

Charlotte’s Web

The Notebook

The Chronicles of Narnia 

One Hundred Years of Solitude

The Clan of the Cave Bear


The Coldest Winter Ever

The Outsiders

The Color Purple

The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Count of Monte Cristo

The Pilgrim’s Progress

Crime and Punishment

The Pillars of the Earth

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Pride and Prejudice

The Da Vinci Code

Ready Player One

Don Quixote


Doña Barbara

The Shack



Fifty Shades of Grey

The Sirens of Titan

Flowers in the Attic

The Stand


The Sun Also Rises


Swan Song


Tales of the City


Their Eyes Were Watching God

The Giver

Things Fall Apart

The Godfather

This Present Darkness

Gone Girl

To Kill a Mockingbird

Gone with the Wind


The Grapes of Wrath

War and Peace

Great Expectations


The Great Gatsby

The Wheel of Time**

Gulliver’s Travels

Where the Red Fern Grows

The Handmaid’s Tale

White Teeth

Harry Potter **

Wuthering Heights


**Denotes a series title

Last modified: 
Monday, May 21, 2018 - 11:06am

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