What’s America’s Favorite, Iconic Book?

Posted August 9, 2018 by Amber in Bookish Things / 6 Comments


Have you guys heard about this “Great American Read” television show?  If you use the Goodreads web platform, it’s difficult to miss – the ad has been plastered all over mine for a couple months.

There’s a lot of interesting books on this list, although I can’t imagine choosing just one book for an entire country.  PBS came up with 100 books for this competition, a mixture of popular modern reads and timeless classics.  I’ve read 37, how many have you read?

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1984 by George Orwell 
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole X
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving X
A Separate Peace by John Knowles 
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith X
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain X
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho X
Alex Cross Mysteries (series) by James Patterson X
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll 
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie X
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie X
Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery 
Another Country by James Baldwin X
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand X
Beloved by Toni Morrison X
Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya X
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak 
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz X
The Call of the Wild by Jack London 
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller X
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger 
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White 
The Chronicles of Narnia (series) by C.S. Lewis X
The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel X
The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah X
The Color Purple by Alice Walker X
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas 
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky X
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon X
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown 
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes 
Doña Bárbára by Rómulo Gallegos X
Dune by Frank Herbert X
Fifty Shades of Grey (series) by E.L. James X
Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews X
Foundation (series) by Isaac Asimov X
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley 
A Game of Thrones (series) by George R.R. Martin 
Ghost by Jason Reynolds X
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson X
The Giver by Lois Lowry 
The Godfather by Mario Puzo X
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn 
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell 
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck X
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens X
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald 
Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift X
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood 
Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling 
Hatchet (series) by Gary Paulsen 
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad X
The Help by Kathryn Stockett 
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams 
The Hunger Games (series) by Suzanne Collins 
The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy X
The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead X
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison X
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë 
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan X
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton 
Left Behind (series) by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins 
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry 
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott 
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry X
Looking for Alaska by John Green 
The Lord of the Rings (series) by J.R.R. Tolkien 
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold 
The Martian by Andy Weir 
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden X
Mind Invaders by Dave Hunt X
Moby-Dick by Herman Melville X
The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks X
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez X
Outlander (series) by Diana Gabaldon X
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton X
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde 
The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan X
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett X
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen X
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline 
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier X
The Shack by William P. Young X
Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse X
The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut X
The Stand by Stephen King ✓-ish
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway X
Swan Song by Robert R. McCammon X
Tales of the City (series) by Armistead Maupin X
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston X
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe X
This Present Darkness by Frank E. Peretti X
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee 
The Twilight Saga (series) by Stephanie Meyer X
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy X
Watchers by Dean Koontz X
The Wheel of Time (series) by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson X
Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls 
White Teeth by Zadie Smith X
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë X

If I had to pick one just one from this list, I think that To Kill A Mockingbird is the most deserving of being the “Great American Read”.  It was written by an American author, is set in American history, and outlines struggles that still plague our country.  Plus – it’s unarguably a classic.  I don’t think that’s what this series is going to be about though – I think it’s about peoples’ favorites.

You can still vote on The Great American read up until mid-October – check out this page to vote.  You can vote for as many books as you’d like, and you can do it once a day, so vote for all your favorites!


How many of these books have you read?

Do you think you’ll tune in and watch this special in October?

If you had to pick one book, which one do you think deserves to win and why?

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6 responses to “What’s America’s Favorite, Iconic Book?

    • Amber

      I started going through the list and really thought I was going to have more. Then I got most the way through and decided to just commit. XD Guess we both have some stuff to add to our TBR! 😉 Maybe.

  1. I have read 27 of them! I can’t believe Fifty Shades of Gray made the list! Of those books my favorite is Pride and Prejudice. Tho I don’t think that would qualify as “Great American Read” because its not American? Did they have any rules around that?

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    • Amber

      I don’t think there were any rules! I missed the submission period, but I think they’re really just looking for what is America’s favorite book to read, not the great American novel. I’m really intrigued, because one one hand I want to say Harry Potter is sooooo popular, but on the other hand… a lot of adults-who-strictly-don’t-read-YA-and-kids-books will probably be voting. I’m really interested to find out wha book will win.

  2. I hadn’t heard about this actually! I’ve only read 18, so you’re doing better than I am lol. But to be honest, I didn’t like most of them. TKaMB is a great choice! Frankenstein and Picture of Dorian Gray are some of my fave classics though because of their unique ideas.

    • Amber

      18 isn’t bad! I completely agree about Frankenstein and Dorian – two of my favourites as well, but for myself feel like they don’t really embody my definition of a great American read? Idk. I just feel like it should be a story that embodies our culture. Although maybe Dorian Gray does! ?