The Great American Read

PBS rules! A two-hour television special about books? Who thinks of something like this? Only PBS. Not only a TV special, but several more episodes to follow in the fall.

What’s it all about? America gets to vote on their favorite novel!

A preliminary poll resulted in a list of 100 books. Now you can join an online book club,  share your story about which novel has had the biggest impact on your life and take a quiz to see how many of the 100 you have read (I’ve read 62, not as many as I would have thought!)

Much to my surprise, the list of books is in alphabetical order by title. The librarian in me found that odd, so I searched around and found that you can also sort it by author – except it is by the author’s FIRST name. That is so not helpful! (Obviously, a librarian was not involved in this process.)

So I created my own lists. The entire list alphabetical by author’s last name; then I created other lists breaking out fiction, science fiction & fantasy, young adult, children’s and Spanish. That is how my library does it, but your mileage may vary, etc. For instance, on the PBS special, the host, Meredith Vieira, noted that about 25% of the titles on the list were science fiction or fantasy. At my library, less than 10% are filed that way, most are in Fiction because they are considered classics or they are in Young Adult (like The Hunger Games & the Twilight books.) The Harry Potter books are the only books that straddle two specific lists, both YA and children’s, because at my library, they are shelved in both. And because I am a librarian and we love to spread good information far and wide, I’m sharing my lists here.

Great American Read Library List (complete list, alphabetical by author’s LAST name!)

AUTHOR TITLE
1 Achebe  Things Fall Apart
2 Adams  The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy
3 Adichie  Americanah
4 Alcott  Little Women
5 Anaya  Bless Me, Ultima
6 Andrews  Flowers In The Attic
7 Asimov  Foundation (series)
8 Atwood  The Handmaid’s Tale
9 Auel  Clan of the Cave Bear
10 Austen  Pride and Prejudice
11 Baldwin  Another Country
12 Brontë, Charlotte  Jane Eyre
13 Brontë, Emily  Wuthering Heights
14 Brown  The Da Vinci Code
15 Bunyan  The Pilgrim’s Progress
16 Carroll  Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
17 Cervantes  Don Quixote
18 Christie  And Then There Were None
19 Clancy  The Hunt For Red October
20 Cline  Ready Player One
21 Coelho  The Alchemist
22 Collins  The Hunger Games (series)
23 Conrad  Heart Of Darkness
24 Crichton  Jurassic Park
25 Díaz  The Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao
26 Dickens  Great Expectations
27 Dostoyevsky  Crime and Punishment
28 du Maurier  Rebecca
29 Dumas  The Count of Monte Cristo
30 Ellison  Invisible Man
31 Fitzgerald  The Great Gatsby
32 Flynn  Gone Girl
33 Follett  The Pillars of The Earth
34 Gabaldon  Outlander (series)
35 Gallegos  Doña Bárbára
36 García Márquez  One Hundred Years of Solitude
37 Golden  Memoirs of a Geisha
38 Green  Looking for Alaska
39 Haddon  The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
40 Heller  Catch-22
41 Hemingway  The Sun Also Rises
42 Herbert  Dune
43 Hesse  Siddhartha
44 Hinton  The Outsiders
45 Hunt  Mind Invaders
46 Hurston  Their Eyes Were Watching God
47 Irving  A Prayer For Owen Meany
48 James  Fifty Shades Of Grey (series)
49 Jordan  The Wheel of Time (series)
50 King  The Stand
51 Knowles  A Separate Peace
52 Koontz  Watchers
53 LaHaye  Left Behind (series)
54 Lee  To Kill a Mockingbird
55 Lewis  The Chronicles of Narnia (series)
56 London  The Call Of The Wild
57 Lowry  The Giver
58 Martin  Game of Thrones (series)
59 Maupin  Tales of The City (series)
60 McCammon  Swan Song
61 McMurtry  Lonesome Dove
62 Melville  Moby-Dick
63 Meyer  The Twilight Saga (series)
64 Mitchell  Gone with the Wind
65 Montgomery  Anne of Green Gables
66 Morrison  Beloved
67 Orwell 1984
68 Patterson  Alex Cross Mysteries (series)
69 Paulsen  Hatchet (series)
70 Peretti  This Present Darkness
71 Puzo  The Godfather
72 Rand  Atlas Shrugged
73 Rawls  Where the Red Fern Grows
74 Reynolds  Ghost
75 Robinson  Gilead
76 Rowling  Harry Potter (series)
77 Saint-Exupéry  The Little Prince
78 Salinger  The Catcher in the Rye
79 Sebold  The Lovely Bones
80 Shelley  Frankenstein
81 Smith, Betty  A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
82 Smith, Zadie  White Teeth
83 Souljah  Coldest Winter Ever
84 Sparks  The Notebook
85 Steinbeck  The Grapes of Wrath
86 Stockett  The Help
87 Swift  Gulliver’s Travels
88 Tan  The Joy Luck Club
89 Tolkien  The Lord of the Rings (series)
90 Tolstoy  War and Peace
91 Toole  A Confederacy of Dunces
92 Twain  The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
93 Vonnegut  The Sirens Of Titan
94 Walker  The Color Purple
95 Weir  The Martian
96 White  Charlotte’s Web
97 Whitehead  The Intuitionist
98 Wilde  The Picture of Dorian Gray
99 Young  The Shack
100 Zusak  The Book Thief

 

 

Great American Read Library List (Fiction list, alphabetical by author)

AUTHOR TITLE
Achebe  Things Fall Apart
Adichie  Americanah
Alcott  Little Women
Anaya  Bless Me, Ultima
Andrews  Flowers In The Attic
Atwood  The Handmaid’s Tale
Auel  Clan of the Cave Bear
Austen  Pride and Prejudice
Baldwin  Another Country
Brontë, Charlotte  Jane Eyre
Brontë, Emily  Wuthering Heights
Brown  The Da Vinci Code
Bunyan  The Pilgrim’s Progress
Cervantes  Don Quixote
Christie  And Then There Were None
Clancy  The Hunt For Red October
Cline  Ready Player One
Coelho  The Alchemist
Conrad  Heart Of Darkness
Crichton  Jurassic Park
Díaz  The Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao
Dickens  Great Expectations
Dostoyevsky  Crime and Punishment
du Maurier  Rebecca
Dumas  The Count of Monte Cristo
Ellison  Invisible Man
Fitzgerald  The Great Gatsby
Flynn  Gone Girl
Follett  The Pillars of The Earth
Gabaldon  Outlander (series)
García Márquez  One Hundred Years of Solitude
Golden  Memoirs of a Geisha
Haddon  The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Heller  Catch-22
Hemingway  The Sun Also Rises
Hesse  Siddhartha
Hurston  Their Eyes Were Watching God
Irving  A Prayer For Owen Meany
James  Fifty Shades Of Grey (series)
King  The Stand
Knowles  A Separate Peace
Koontz  Watchers
LaHaye  Left Behind (series)
Lee  To Kill a Mockingbird
London  The Call Of The Wild
Maupin  Tales of The City (series)
McCammon  Swan Song
McMurtry  Lonesome Dove
Melville  Moby-Dick
Mitchell  Gone with the Wind
Montgomery  Anne of Green Gables
Morrison  Beloved
Orwell 1984
Patterson  Alex Cross Mysteries (series)
Peretti  This Present Darkness
Puzo  The Godfather
Rand  Atlas Shrugged
Robinson  Gilead
Salinger  The Catcher in the Rye
Sebold  The Lovely Bones
Shelley  Frankenstein
Smith, Betty  A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Smith, Zadie  White Teeth
Souljah  Coldest Winter Ever
Sparks  The Notebook
Steinbeck  The Grapes of Wrath
Stockett  The Help
Swift  Gulliver’s Travels
Tan  The Joy Luck Club
Tolstoy  War and Peace
Tolstoy  War and Peace
Toole  A Confederacy of Dunces
Toole  A Confederacy of Dunces
Twain  The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Vonnegut  The Sirens Of Titan
Walker  The Color Purple
Whitehead  The Intuitionist
Wilde  The Picture of Dorian Gray
Young  The Shack

 

Great American Read Library List (Sci Fi & Fantasy list, alphabetical by author)

AUTHOR TITLE
Adams  The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy
Asimov  Foundation (series)
Herbert  Dune
Hunt  Mind Invaders
Jordan  The Wheel of Time (series)
Martin  Game of Thrones (series)
Tolkien  The Lord of the Rings (series)
Weir  The Martian

 

Great American Read Library List (Young Adult list, alphabetical by author)

AUTHOR TITLE
Collins  The Hunger Games (series)
Green  Looking for Alaska
Hinton  The Outsiders
Lowry  The Giver
Meyer  The Twilight Saga (series)
Reynolds  Ghost
Rowling  Harry Potter (series)
Zusak  The Book Thief

 

Great American Read Library List (Children’s list, alphabetical by author)

AUTHOR TITLE
Carroll  Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Paulsen  Hatchet (series)
Rawls  Where the Red Fern Grows
Rowling  Harry Potter (series)
Saint-Exupéry  The Little Prince
White  Charlotte’s Web

 

Great American Read Library List (Spanish book)

Gallegos  Doña Bárbára

 

One Response to The Great American Read

  1. Joan Cochran says:

    I thought the show was excellent and the idea outstanding.

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