The Great American Read

Presenting the most talked about books on Hacker News, Stack Overflow and Reddit

The Great American Read

1. The Great American Read: The Book of Books: Explore America's 100 Best-Loved Novels

A blockbuster illustrated book that captures what Americans love to read, The Great American Read: The Book of Books is the gorgeously-produced companion book to PBS's ambitious summer 2018 series.

What are America's best-loved novels? PBS will launch The Great American Read series with a 2-hour special in May 2018 revealing America's 100 best-loved novels, determined by a rigorous national survey. Subsequent episodes will air in September and October. Celebrities and everyday Americans will champion their favorite novel and in the finale in late October, America's #1 best-loved novel will be revealed.

The Great American Read: The Book of Books will present all 100 novels with fascinating information about each book, author profiles, a snapshot of the novel's social relevance, film or television adaptations, other books and writings by the author, and little-known facts. Also included are themed articles about banned books, the most influential book illustrators, reading recommendations, the best first-lines in literature, and more.

Beautifully designed with rare images of the original manuscripts, first-edition covers, rejection letters, and other ephemera, The Great American Read: The Book of Books is a must-have book for all booklovers.

2. The Pillars of the Earth: A Novel (Kingsbridge)

View our Ken Follett feature page.

Learn more about The Pillars of the Earth miniseries on Starz.

A departure for the bestselling thriller writer, this historical epic—a twelfth-century tale of the building of a mighty Gothic cathedral—stunned readers and critics alike with its ambitious scope and gripping humanity

3. The Grapes of Wrath

STEINBECK/GRAPES OF WRATH (BC)

4. Anne of Green Gables

Read the timeless classic about the beloved Anne Shirley, a red-haired orphan with a fiery spirit, before the new NETFLIX series premieres and don’t miss the forward by Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale, celebrating the 100th anniversary of this children’s favorite!
 
Eleven-year-old Anne Shirley has never known a real home. Since her parents' deaths, she's bounced around to foster homes and orphanages. When she is sent by mistake to live with Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert at the snug white farmhouse called Green Gables, she wants to stay forever. But Anne is not the sturdy boy Matthew and Marilla were expecting.
 
She's a mischievous, talkative redheaded girl with a fierce temper, who tumbles into one scrape after another. Anne is not like anybody else, the Cuthberts agree; she is special, a girl with an enormous imagination. All she's ever wanted is to belong somewhere. And the longer she stays at Green Gables, the harder it is for anyone to imagine life without her.

"[Anne is] the dearest and most lovable child in fiction since the immortal Alice."-Mark Twain

5. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Penguin Classics)

The classic boyhood adventure tale, updated with a new introduction by noted Mark Twain scholar R. Kent Rasmussen. Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read

A consummate prankster with a quick wit, Tom Sawyer dreams of a bigger fate than simply being a “rich boy.” Yet through the novel’s humorous escapades—from the famous episode of the whitewashed fence to the trial of Injun Joe—Mark Twain explores the deeper themes of the adult world, one of dishonesty and superstition, murder and revenge, starvation and slavery.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

6. 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die: A Life-Changing List

“The ultimate literary bucket list.” —The Washington Post
“If there’s a heaven just for readers, this is it.” —O, The Oprah Magazine
        

Celebrate the pleasure of reading and the thrill of discovering new titles in an extraordinary book that’s as compulsively readable, entertaining, surprising, and enlightening as the 1,000-plus titles it recommends.

Covering fiction, poetry, science and science fiction, memoir, travel writing, biography, children’s books, history, and more, 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die ranges across cultures and through time to offer an eclectic collection of works that each deserve to come with the recommendation, You have to read this. But it’s not a proscriptive list of the “great works”—rather, it’s a celebration of the glorious mosaic that is our literary heritage.

Flip it open to any page and be transfixed by a fresh take on a very favorite book. Or come across a title you always meant to read and never got around to. Or, like browsing in the best kind of bookshop, stumble on a completely unknown author and work, and feel that tingle of discovery. There are classics, of course, and unexpected treasures, too. Lists to help pick and choose, like Offbeat Escapes, or A Long Climb, but What a View. And its alphabetical arrangement by author assures that surprises await on almost every turn of the page, with Cormac McCarthy and The Road next to Robert McCloskey and Make Way for Ducklings, Alice Walker next to Izaac Walton. 

There are nuts and bolts, too—best editions to read, other books by the author, “if you like this, you’ll like that” recommendations , and an interesting endnote of adaptations where appropriate. Add it all up, and in fact there are more than six thousand titles by nearly four thousand authors mentioned—a life-changing list for a lifetime of reading.

“948 pages later, you still want more!” —THE WASHINGTON POST

7. Looking for Alaska

The award-winning, genre-defining debut from John Green, the #1 international bestselling author of Turtles All the Way Down and The Fault in Our Stars

  • Winner of the Michael L. Printz Award
  • A Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • NPR’s Top Ten Best-Ever Teen Novels
  • TIME magazine’s 100 Best Young Adult Novels of All Time
  • A PBS Great American Read Selection
  • Millions of copies sold!

First drink. First prank. First friend. First love.

Last words.

Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words—and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet François Rabelais called “The Great Perhaps.” Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young, who will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps.

Looking for Alaska brilliantly chronicles the indelible impact one life can have on another. A modern classic, this stunning debut marked #1 bestselling author John Green’s arrival as a groundbreaking new voice in contemporary fiction.