The Great American Read Line-Up

April 20, 2018
Meredith Vieira, host of The Great American Read.

Meredith Vieira, host of The Great American Read. Photo Credit: Stephanie Berger.

Updated July 2018
The Great American Read (streaming now) is a new television series that launched on PBS stations with a two-hour special event on Tuesday, May 22, 2018. Hosted by journalist Meredith Vieira, the eight-part series will take viewers on a journey across the country to uncover the nation’s 100 most-loved novels, the people who love them and their authors.

Throughout the summer, THIRTEEN and WLIW21 viewers will be encouraged to read and engage in the conversation by attending local events, including film screenings and talks at our WNET Tisch Studio at Lincoln Center, exchanging favorite novel picks on, and voting for their favorite book on the list. The series will return in September 11 with a recap and additional themed episodes exploring the nominated books, leading up to the reveal of “America’s Best-Loved Novel” on Tuesday, October 23.

Who’s on The Great American Read?

Authors, celebrities and notables joining the search for “America’s Best-Loved Novel” include Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid’s Tale), Diana Gabaldon (Outlander), Armistead Maupin (Tales of the City), George Lopez, Seth Meyers, Junot Diaz (The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao), Lauren Graham, John Green (Looking for Alaska), John Irving (A Prayer for Owen Meany), Bill T. Jones, Devon Kennard, Gayle King, George R.R. Martin (Game of Thrones), Wynton Marsalis, Lesley Stahl, Ming-Na Wen and many more, each of whom will share their personal stories and connections to their favorite book.

See all the authors and celebrities on The Great American Read, and which episode they will appear on.

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When is The Great American Read Airing?

The Great American Read kicked off May 22 with a two-hour special and will return with themed episodes on Tuesdays at 8pm, September 11 through October 23, 2018. Each theme episode will discuss related novels – see novels by episode.

Recap: Tuesday, September 11, 8pm ET

The 100 novels on the list of “America’s Best-Loved Books” will be discussed, and voting continues.

Who Am I?: Tuesday, September 18, 8pm ET
Explore the ways that America’s best-loved novels answer the age-old question, “Who am I?” From life lessons to spiritual journeys, these books help us understand our own identities and find our place in the world.

Heroes: Tuesday, September 25, 8pm ET
Follow the trials and tribulations of some of literature’s favorite heroes. From Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games) to Don Quixote, examine how the everyday hero and the anti-hero find their inner strength, overcome challenges and rise to the occasion.

Villains and Monsters: Tuesday, October 2, 8pm ET
Learn why literature’s most notorious villains began behaving badly. Many weren’t born evil, but became that way when faced with some of the same choices we make every day. See what these villains can teach us about our own dark impulses.

What We Do For Love: Tuesday, October 9, 8pm ET
Fall in love with some of literature’s most beautiful romances and explore the many forms of love, from family to passion to the unrequited type. Learn how America’s best-loved novels reflect the things we do for love.

Other Worlds: Tuesday, October 16, 8pm ET
Take a magical journey to another world through some of America’s best-loved novels. From Middle Earth (The Lord of the Rings) to Lilliput (Gulliver’s Travels), the trials and tribulations of these alternate universes help us to better understand our own world.

Finale: Tuesday, October 23, 8pm ET
During the final episode, the 10 books with the most votes for America’s Best-Loved Book will be discussed, and the winner will be announced.