The Great American Read is an eight-part PBS series that explores and celebrates the power of reading, told through the prism of America’s 100 best-loved novels. It investigates how and why writers create their fictional worlds, how we as readers are affected by these stories, and what these 100 different books have to say about our diverse nation and our shared human experience. The finale will announce the results of a nationwide vote to select America’s best-loved book.
PBS and the producers worked with the public opinion polling service “YouGov” to conduct a demographically and statistically representative survey asking Americans to name their most-loved novel. Approximately 7,200 people participated.
The list contains a broad range of fictional titles, authors, time periods, countries, genres and subject matter. The list includes books from as far back as the 1600s and as recent as 2016. From beloved world literature to contemporary best sellers, many categories are represented: 20th century American classics, thrillers, young adult novels, sci-fi/fantasy, adventure, historical fiction, romantic stories, and books that represent the human experience told from a diverse range of perspectives.
Voting for your favorite book will open online and on social media with the launch of the two-hour premiere episode on May 22nd at 8/7c. You can cast your vote on the website or on Twitter and Facebook using a hashtag for each book. Voting will continue throughout the summer, leading up to the finale in October 2018. In the fall, viewers will also be able to cast their votes by using SMS and toll-free voting.
Here is a link to the list of books. When I scan through the list, my best recollection is that I have read 35 of them, so it looks like I’ve got some good reading ahead of me.
It’s hard for me to pick my favorite book on the list, because for some of them it’s been so long since I’ve read them. But here is a list of my favorite ten books on the list, in alphabetic order, with links to brief description of each book:
- A Confederacy of Dunces (certainly the funniest book on the list)
- A Separate Peace (I remember really liking this when I read it a few years ago, but now I can’t recall much about it)
- The Count of Monte Cristo (I couldn’t put this down)
- The DaVinci Code
- Don Quixote (another contender for the funniest book on the list)
- The Giver
- Harry Potter (series)
- Hatchet (series)
- Pillars of the Earth
- To Kill a Mockingbird
Obviously my list is biased, since it was narrowed considerably down to the 34 books I had read. There are a couple of books that I think could have been on the list: The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk, Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts, and The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy.
My prediction for the winning book is To Kill a Mockingbird, and I certainly look forward to watching the finale to find out America’s best-loved book.
Until then, just keep in mind the following: