The Great American Read returns tonight, Tuesday, September 11, at 8 p.m. on PBS stations, including Channel 13 here in New York, and will introduce viewers to the full list of America’s 100 favorite novels selected through a demographically representative national survey conducted by YouGov.
It will be hosted by television personality and journalist Meredith Vieira.
PBS has unveiled the 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 chosen books span five centuries, from Don Quixote, written in 1603, to Ghost, from 2016. Authors from 15 different countries are represented, with genres ranging from beloved children’s classics such as Charlotte’s Web to modern best-sellers such as Harry Potter.
Vieira was on hand at the Morgan Library on Friday, Aptil 20, for the big announcement, along with actresses Diane Lane and Ming-Na Wen, former football player Chris Kluwe, and author Armistead Maupin.
America’s 100 Favorite Novels & Their Authors, with series counted as one title and ** denotes a series title:
1984 – George Orwell
A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
A Game of Thrones – George R.R. Martin
A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving
A Separate Peace – John Knowles
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Betty Smith
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – Mark Twain
The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
Alex Cross Mysteries** – James Patterson and Richard DiLallo
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche
And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie
Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery
Another Country – James Baldwin
Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand
Beloved – Toni Morrison
Bless Me, Ultima – Rudolfo Anaya
The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao – Junot Diaz
The Call of the Wild – Jack London
Catch-22 – Joseph Heller
The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White
The Chronicles of Narnia – C.S. Lewis
The Clan of the Cave Bear – Jean M. Auel
The Coldest Winter Ever – Sister Souljah
The Color Purple – Alice Walker
The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – Mark Haddon
The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
Don Quixote – Miguel de Cervantes
Doña Barbara – Romulo Gallegos
Dune – Frank Herbert
Fifty Shades of Grey – E.L. James
Flowers in the Attic – V.C. Andrews
Foundation – Isaac Asimov
Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
Ghost – Jason Reynolds
Gilead – Marilynne Robinson
The Giver – Lois Lowry
The Godfather – Mario Puzo
Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
Gone with the Wind – Margaret Mitchell
The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Swift
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
Harry Potter ** – J.K. Rowling
Hatchet – Gary Paulsen
Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
The Help – Kahtryn Stockett
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams and Eoin Colfer
The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
The Hunt for Red October – Tom Clancy
The Intuitionist – Colson Whitehead
Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
The Joy Luck Club – AmyTan
Jurassic Park – Michael Crichton
Left Behind – Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins
The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
Lonesome Dove – Larry McMurtry
Looking for Alaska – John Green
The Lord of the Rings** – J.R.R. Tolkien
The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
The Martian – Andy Weir
Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
Mind Invaders – Dave Hunt
Moby Dick – Herman Melville
The Notebook – Nicholas Sparks
One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel García Márquez
Outlander – Diana Gabaldon
The Outsiders – S.E. Hinton
The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
The Pilgrim’s Progress – John Bunyan
The Pillars of the Earth – Ken Follett
Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier
The Shack – William P. Young
Siddhartha – Herman Hesse
The Sirens of Titan – Kurt Vonnegut
The Stand – Stephen King
The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway
Swan Song – Robert McCammon
Tales of the City – Armistead Maupin
Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston
Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe
This Present Darkness – Frank E. Peretti
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
Twilight – Stephenie Meyers
War and Peace – leo tolstoy
Watchers – Dean Koontz
The Wheel of Time** – James Oliver Rigney, Jr.
Where the Red Fern Grows – Wilson Rawls
White Teeth – Zadie Smith
Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
The series will also feature interviews with celebrities superfans and everyday Americans discussing the way particular books have influenced them and their significance in American popular culture.
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.
After a multi-platform initiative throughout the summer, which will include live public events, social media components and national reading clubs, 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.” It will be the most expansive national celebration of books and reading aimed at engaging multi-generational readers across multiple platforms ever created.
“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.”
“The 100 novels selected have a special place in our hearts as they share our stories and celebrate the depth and range of our culture,” said Jane Root, CEO and founder of Nutopia. “I have no idea which book will come out on top, but I am so excited to join the journey and discover America’s most loved novel.”
Voting has been open since it launched on May 22 and continue up to the grand finale in October. Over the summer, viewers will be able to vote at pbs.org/greatamericanread and through hashtag voting via Facebook and Twitter using #GreatReadPBS. Viewers will also be able to cast their vote toll-free by phone and through SMS texting.
The Great American Read program will encourage people to read as many novels as they can from the top 100 list, whether it’s rediscovering an old favorite or engaging with a new title,
Viewers can discuss them in virtual and community events organized by local public television stations, libraries and book reading clubs, and vote for their favorites. The campaign will culminate with the naming of America’s number one novel.
The Great American Read is supported by an extensive multi-platform digital and social media 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. This includes an interactive website, links to local events, interactive video content, social share features and much more. As part of the experience, PBS Digital Studios will develop and produce unique programming across its award-winning YouTube Channels and an original miniseries on Facebook Watch.
PBS Digital Studios hosts will collaborate with authors, booktubers and other creators to bring PBS’ legacy of championing literacy to Digital platforms. PBS Digital Studios’ Facebook Watch series is inspired by The Great American Read and features six video essays covering broad book-related topics in a highly shareable and engaging way.
In addition to the digital and social campaigns, The Great American Read has sparked nationwide community engagement efforts that will offer stations opportunities to create complementary content; stage community events; partner with libraries, booksellers, charitable organizations, schools, and other entities; and deepen the conversations and connections among people around the country.
More than 100 stations are activating around the project, with stations such as Detroit Public Television, Nashville Public Television, WLIW in New York, WETA in Washington, DC, and WUCF in Orlando leading the charge. Detroit’s literary social media series, “PBS Books,” is broadening the reach of some of the nation’s biggest book festivals in support of The Great American Read. Nashville and WUCF are leveraging their already robust community partnerships and sharing best practices throughout the system. WLIW will utilize its content-sharing platform, Wavelength, to make customizable companion programs for The Great American Read, and WETA is partnering with PBS to amplify the excitement around The Great American Read.