The Great American Read


The Great American Read


THE GREAT AMERICAN READ is an eight-part 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.  

Hosted by Meredith Vieira, 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. 

See the full results >


Broadcast Schedule

  • Two-hour launch episode airs May 22.
  • Kick-off to the countdown airs September 11. This episode will revisit titles to learn why these 100 books matter to us.
  • Five one-hour documentary episodes begin September 18.
  • These five one-hour documentaries are designed to take a deeper dive with questions about why these books matter, why we are drawn to these themes, and what they tell us about ourselves.
  • Five episode themes: Who Am I? (Sept 18) • Villains & Monsters (Sept 25) • Heroes (Oct 2) • Other Worlds (Oct 9) • What We Do for Love (Oct 23)
  • We’ll also explore how authors approach their craft as they create the characters and storylines reflected in these themes.


One-hour Grand Finale airs October 23

  • This exciting as-live finale includes a countdown of America’s top 20 favorites and builds to the announcement of the country’s choice for best-loved novel.
  • We highlight the thrilling achievements of individual readers, community leaders, and outreach programs across the USA.


Explore this LearningMedia collection, highlighting books from The Great American Read that find their ways into classrooms and onto children's reading lists. Click here to visit PBS LearningMedia >

Browse this list of reads for kids 0-9 to find the perfect books for reading aloud or reading alone. Check out the books here >

Thanks to Bruce & Dale Frankel for supporting Detroit PBS Kids and the love of reading.


Watch The Great American Read

Watch The Great American Read

Watch all of the videos from The Great American Read including the launch special hosted by Meredith Vieira.

It’s Lit!

It’s Lit!

It’s Lit! is a series of smart, funny video essays from PBS Digital Studios about our favorite books and why we love to read.

2018 LA Times Festival of Books

2018 LA Times Festival of Books

Attendees and authors at the 2018 LA Times Festival of Books share their favorite books from The Great American Read list.

2018 Midwest Literary Walk

2018 Midwest Literary Walk

PBS Books and The Great American Read participated in this year's 2018 Midwest Literary Walk in Chelsea, Michigan and asked attendees about some of their favorite books.

About PBS Books


PBS Books celebrates your love of reading through daily social and digital engagement and live coverage of important literary events across the country, PBS Books celebrates books and writers and fosters a passion for reading. View latest videos >

Follow PBS Books


Local libraries celebrate The Great American Read

TGAR library banner.png

Check out some of the events local libraries are doing around The Great American Read here >

tgar quiz.png

Connect With Us
Facebook    Twitter    Instagram    Pinterest    Flickr    YouTube

Sign up for DPTV eNews

Image - Protect My Public Media