Great American Read

The Great American Read

The Great American Read was an eight-part series with viewer participation to select America’s favorite novel, told through the prism of America’s 100 best-loved novels.
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Watch "The Grand Finale"

The Great American Read was an eight-part series with viewer participation to select America’s favorite novel, told through the prism of America’s 100 best-loved novels. It investigated writers’ fictional worlds, how we as readers are affected by these stories, and what the 100 different books have to say about our diverse nation and our shared human experience.

Local Great American Read Stories

Tefft story

Fisk story

Waldo story

Ramirez story

Holloway story

Timberline story

Kollatz story

Photos by: Louise Keeton / VPM

What book is this?

Click on a name below to hear and read an excerpt from a book that made a difference in that reader’s life.

  • Ruth Erb: “Grown-ups love figures. When you tell them that you have made a new friend, they never ask you any questions about essential matters...”
  • Jim Carragher: "We just stood there until the sun was down and the moon was up...”
  • Kathryn DiPasqua“When I pointed to him his palms slipped slightly, leaving greasy sweat streaks on the wall...”
  • Cristina Dominguez: "Freedom, Sancho, is one of the most precious gifts that heaven has bestowed upon men...”
  • Wayne Farrar: “There was only one catch...that a concern for one's own safety in the face of dangers that were real...”
  • Meg King-Sloan: “Tents, lunch, and croquet utensils having been sent on beforehand, the party was soon embarked...”
  • Spencer Law: “Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now...”
  • Brett Leake: “His face was drawn but the curtains were real...”
  • Angel Limb: “To the embarrassment of everyone, Sean O'Brien began to cry...”
  • Patty Parks: “From that time on, the world was hers for the reading. She would never be lonely again...”
  • Steven K. Smith: “I suppose there's a time in practically every young boy's life when he's affected by that wonderful disease...”
  • Ian Stewart: “Your memory is a monster; you forget-it doesn't...”
  • Piper Stewart: “A few steps into the woods grows a bank of wildflowers...”
  • Alex Wiles: “Why did you do this for me?" he asked. " ... I've never done anything for you...”

Resources

Print The Great American Read Book Checklist

Downloadables:
Explore the artwork from The Great American Read Facebook page.

Download Printable 18x24 Posters, Memes, Book Facts, and Book Quotes

Browse Reader Stories
Readers shared which novel had the biggest impact on their lives

Join the Book Club
Read and discuss the novels on Facebook in The Great American Read Book Club

Take The Quiz
How many books have you read? Take the quiz to find out!

PBS LearningMedia Collection
Explore this PBS LearningMedia collection, highlighting books from The Great American Read that find their ways into classrooms and onto reading lists.