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School children visiting the farm that inspired "Charlotte’s Web."
Courtesy of Nutopia/PBS
School children visiting the farm that inspired "Charlotte’s Web."

Airs Tuesday, May 22, 2018 at 8 p.m. on KPBS TV & Tuesdays, Sept. 4-Oct. 23 at 8 p.m.

The quest to crown America’s most beloved novel with a celebration of reading

Key authors, celebrities and notable figures in the entertainment, sports, news and literary worlds will lend their voices and passion to THE GREAT AMERICAN READ.

Margaret Atwood, Lesley Stahl, Devon Kennard and many others will share their personal stories and connections to their favorite titles.


THE GREAT AMERICAN READ, a new eight-part television competition and nationwide campaign, explores the power of books and the joy of reading through the lens of America’s 100 best-loved novels, as voted on by the public.

The series launched with a two-hour special event on Tuesday, May 22, 2018, and will repeat on Tuesday, Sept. 4 from 8-10 p.m.

Quiz: How Many Books Have You Read From the List of 100?



“The Launch” repeats Tuesday, Sept. 4 at 8 p.m. - Examine the power, passion and joy of reading through the lens of America's 100 best-loved books chosen by the public. The series features reflections from notable and everyday citizens, culminating in a vote to choose "America's Best-Loved Book."


“Fall Kick-off” airs Tuesday, Sept. 11 at 8 p.m. - Join host Meredith Vieira in the search for America's best-loved novel. The voting is underway, and the competition is heating up any book could win.

“Who Am I?” airs Tuesday, Sept. 18 at 8 p.m. - Explore the ways that America's best-loved novels answer the age-old question, "Who am I?" From life lessons to spiritual journeys, these books help us understand our own identities and find our place in the world.

“Heroes” airs Tuesday, Sept. 25 at 8 p.m. - Follow the trials and tribulations of some of literature's favorite protagonists. From Katniss Everdeen to Don Quixote, examine how these everyday heroes and anti-heroes find their inner strength, overcome challenges and rise to the occasion.

“Villans & Monsters” airs Tuesday, Oct. 2 at 8 p.m. - Learn why literature's most notorious villains began behaving badly. Many weren't born evil, but became that way when faced with some of the same choices we make every day. See what these villains can teach us about our own dark impulses.

“What We Do For Love” airs Tuesday, Oct. 9 at 8 p.m. - Fall in love with some of literature's most beautiful romances and explore the many forms of love, from family to passion to the unrequited type. Learn how America's best-loved novels reflect the things we do for love.

“Other Worlds” airs Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 8 p.m. - Take a magical journey to another world through some of America's best-loved novels. From Middle Earth to Lilliput, the trials and tribulations of these alternate universes help us to better understand our own world.

“Grand Finale” airs Tuesday, Oct. 23 at 8 p.m. - And the winner is... after millions of votes, find out which of the 100 nominated books is crowned America's best-loved novel.

Inside Look: Meredith Vieira Launches Book List

Over the course of 15 weeks in the summer, viewers voted on favorite works of fiction; the series then returns 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.” 

The full list of 100 titles were chosen from a demographically representative national survey conducted by YouGov.

You will have an opportunity to dive deep and engage with PBS and fellow viewers in various ways:

  • Voting will open with the launch of the two-hour premiere episode and continue throughout the summer, leading up to the Grand Finale in October 2018. Over the summer, viewers will be able to vote at and through hashtag voting via Facebook and Instagram using #GreatReadPBS. In the fall, viewers will also be able to cast their votes toll-free and by utilizing SMS voting.
  • An interactive website with detailed show information, links to local events, episode descriptions, interactive video content, social share features and much more will be available.
  • Photographs, short-form videos, animated graphics, live streams and behind-the-scenes footage will fuel social media integration of THE GREAT AMERICAN READ to encourage reading, conversation and voting.


Great American Read PBS is on Facebook, and Instagram. #GreatReadPBS

PBS is on Facebook, Instagram and you can follow @PBS on Twitter.


Amplifying the on-air and on-line series content will be a beautifully illustrated companion book, "The Great American Read: The Book of Books," which will include information about the 100 novels, author profiles, rare images of original manuscripts and more, plus an introduction by the host of THE GREAT AMERICAN READ, to be published by Black Dog & Leventhal in August 2018.  


A production of Nutopia for PBS. Executive produced by Jane Root, Bob Kirsh and Michael Cascio. Co-executive produced by Rebecca Ratliff Cameron. Produced by Katherine Linton, Kate Chumley, Justine Simonson, Michelle Smawley, Siobhan Lockhart, Annie Wong and Tomek Gross.