Summer is here, and for many, that means more time for reading! PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) has created a list of  America’s 100 best-loved novels in an ambitious effort to get people reading and talking with each other about what they read.

PBS surveyed a representative sample of Americans – approximately 7,200 people – asking them to name their favorite novel. Only fiction works were considered for selection to the top 100 list, and criteria included one title per author (to promote variety), and only books published in English although they could be from anywhere in the world.

Watch Neil deGrasse Tyson explain why Gulliver’s Travels is his favorite novel:

Now that the list has been created, this month PBS is launching The Great American Read, where readers can vote on their favorites books among the list. According to PBS, “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.

“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.”

Program host Meredith Vieira explains The Great American Read in the PBS series in this full-length launch video.

Visit PBS The Great American Read to learn how to participate locally and nationally by joining online book clubs and sharing your story about which novel had the biggest impact on your life. View the entire list of 100 books, view more videos, and how to vote for your favorite book. How many of these favorites have you already read, and how many of the others are you inspired to read?

About the author

Rebecca Wallick

Rebecca is a freelance writer and publisher living near McCall, Idaho. A Seattle native and recovering attorney, she much prefers the quiet, slow pace, and distinct seasons of the West Central Mountains, enjoying the skiing, hiking and running opportunities provided by the nearby Payette National Forest. Rebecca is a Contributing Editor with Bark magazine, and the author of Growing Up Boeing: The Early Jet Age Through the Eyes of a Test Pilot’s Daughter (Feb 2014).

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