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Great American Read: About

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.

The Great American Read

The Great American Read


What are America's favorite novels and what do those books say about our diverse country? PBS explores this idea in The Great American Read, an 8-part documentary series premiering May 22. Join host Meredith Viera and guests including Diane Lane, George Lopez, Seth Meyers, Lauren Graham, John Green, Gayle King and George R.R. Martin as they discuss they joys of reading through the lens of the 100 best-loved novels as chosen by the American public.

Over 7,000 people voted for titles in a variety of genres and styles from as early as the 1600's through 2016 to choose the 100 favorites that are covered in the series. Once the first episode airs, viewers will be able to vote for their favorite books by voting via social media, text and toll free calls through October.

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 (as chosen in a national survey).  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 television series features entertaining and informative documentary segments, with compelling testimonials from celebrities, authors, notable Americans and book lovers across the country. It is comprised of a two-hour launch episode in which the list of 100 books is revealed, five one-hour theme episodes that examine concepts common to groups of books on the list, and a finale, in which the results are announced of a nationwide vote to choose America’s best-loved book.  

The series is the centerpiece of an ambitious multi-platform digital, educational and community outreach campaign, designed to get the country reading and passionately talking about books.

PBS Specials

The Great American Read from PBS launches with a two-hour special event on Tuesday, May 22, 2018, at 8 p.m. on PBS stations nationally and will be hosted by Meredith Vieira. It will feature Gabrielle Union, Jason Reynolds, George R.R. Martin, Wynton Marsalis, Morgan Freeman, Junot Díaz, Margaret Atwood and many more as America goes in search of its best-loved book.

The project will explore how writers create their imaginary worlds, how we as readers are deeply affected by these stories, and what 100 very different books –sourced from the American public and curated by literary professionals —  have to say about our diverse nation, the making of a modern culture, and our shared human experience. Over the course of 15 weeks in the summer, viewers can read and vote on favorite works of fiction.

Themes in the Fall

The series will return in the fall with additional episodes exploring the nominated books through themes including “Heroes,” “Villains & Monsters,” “Who Am I?,” “What We Do for Love,” “Other Worlds,” and will conclude with an exciting finale and countdown to “America’s Best-Loved Book.” Each of the thought-provoking one-hour theme specials are designed to take a deeper dive into a range of books on The Great American Read list, connected by a common theme. At the end of each episode viewers can vote for their favorites on the The Great American Read website or on Twitter and Facebook using a hashtag for each book.