Reading Challenge: The Great American Read from PBS

Great American ReadHave you ever done something new and exciting, only to discover that everybody else is doing it, too, maybe even before you thought of it?

To Read or Not to Read…

I started the Read Along With Emilie Richards Reading Challenge for the fun of it after participating in another challenge in 2017. As it turns out, reading challenges are everywhere this year, although I didn’t notice them until I decided to do one.

I’m happy to say that this is not a contest. In my opinion, the more reading challenges, the more people reading for any reason, the better. Right? So my end of the month reading challenge post for May features PBS’ THE GREAT AMERICAN READ.

Here’s their description: THE GREAT AMERICAN READ, hosted by television personality and journalist Meredith Vieira, launched with a two-hour episode on Tuesday, May 22, 2018, at 8 p.m. on PBS stations and introduced viewers to the full list of America’s 100 favorite novels selected through a demographically representative national survey conducted by YouGovIf you  missed the program (I did) you can view it here.

Can we choose great books with a poll?

I’m not really clear on how representative of all citizens’ reading tastes a public opinion poll can be–especially a poll many of us never head about–but the list is great fun anyway. Viewers will be able to vote at and through hashtag voting via Facebook and Twitter using #GreatReadPBS. In the fall, viewers will also be able to cast their vote toll-free by phone and through SMS texting.

So today I’m posting the PBS list. Count and see how many you’ve read. If I ‘cheat’ a little, I’ve read 47–a few of these I started and didn’t quite finish. Just because they’re on this list, doesn’t mean we have to like them.

Below is the full list of America’s 100 favorite novels according to PBS, in alphabetical order by title:
1984 Hatchet
A Confederacy of Dunces Heart of Darkness
A Game of Thrones The Help
A Prayer for Owen Meany The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
A Separate Peace The Hunger Games
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn The Hunt for Red October
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer The Intuitionist
The Alchemist Invisible Man
Alex Cross Mysteries** Jane Eyre
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland The Joy Luck Club
Americanah Jurassic Park
And Then There Were None Left Behind
Anne of Green Gables The Little Prince
Another Country Little Women
Atlas Shrugged Lonesome Dove
Beloved Looking for Alaska
Bless Me, Ultima The Lord of the Rings**
The Book Thief The Lovely Bones
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao The Martian
The Call of the Wild Memoirs of a Geisha
Catch-22 Mind Invaders
The Catcher in the Rye Moby Dick
Charlotte’s Web The Notebook
The Chronicles of Narnia** One Hundred Years of Solitude
The Clan of the Cave Bear Outlander
The Coldest Winter Ever The Outsiders
The Color Purple The Picture of Dorian Gray
The Count of Monte Cristo The Pilgrim’s Progress
Crime and Punishment The Pillars of the Earth
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Pride and Prejudice
The Da Vinci Code Ready Player One
Don Quixote Rebecca
Doña Barbara The Shack
Dune Siddhartha
Fifty Shades of Grey The Sirens of Titan
Flowers in the Attic The Stand
Foundation The Sun Also Rises
Frankenstein Swan Song
Ghost Tales of the City
Gilead Their Eyes Were Watching God
The Giver Things Fall Apart
The Godfather This Present Darkness
Gone Girl To Kill a Mockingbird
Gone with the Wind Twilight
The Grapes of Wrath War and Peace
Great Expectations Watchers
The Great Gatsby The Wheel of Time**
Gulliver’s Travels Where the Red Fern Grows
The Handmaid’s Tale White Teeth
Harry Potter** Wuthering Heights

**Denotes a series title

Now that you’ve counted to see how many of the books you’ve read, what books would you have added?

Are there books here you really don’t like and don’t think should be on the list?

If you’re doing my reading challenge and wondered what constitutes a classic, do you think any/all of these books qualify?

Are there books here you’ve never heard of? (The answer for me is yes, indeed.)

I’ll look forward to reading your responses, but I will be away from my computer next week for anything other than answering a little mail. Hoping June shapes up exactly the way you want it to

Don’t forget to read! Choose something from this list if you’re out of ideas. Or choose something for our reading challenge–or better yet? Double up.


  1. Shanna on May 30, 2018 at 6:45 am

    I think Little House on the Prairie should be on the list. I would like to have seen Bell Jar on there also, because it is such a powerful read.

  2. Joni on June 1, 2018 at 12:11 pm

    The Nightingale should definitely be on the list.

  3. Gladys Horsford on September 5, 2018 at 11:55 am

    I would liked to have seen “Treasure Island” and “Robinson Crusoe” to great books that open the imagination to adventure and travel.

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