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The Great American Read

By Natalyn Klump

Great American Read


What do Americans Read? What books inspire and influence us—individually and as a society? To find the answers, a demographically representative survey was commissioned, and people throughout America were asked to list their favorite books and why they chose them. Members of an advisory panel, composed of 13 literary professionals, used their collective expertise to establish basic ground rules, break ties and maximize the variety.

The program journeys across America to uncover the illuminating details about the novels and the stories behind the story. Interviews with authors will delve into the fascinating ways writers create their imaginary worlds and the figures in them.

The program will kick off a summer of reading and voting. You can read books on the list and participate in a first-ever national vote for America’s favorite book. Then in the fall, the series continues, exploring the nominated books through themes including “Heroes,” “Villains and Monsters,” “Who Am I?,” “What We Do for Love” and “Other Worlds.” The final episode will be a dramatic countdown to “America’s Best-Loved Book.”

Throughout the eight-part series, key authors, celebrities and notable figures in the entertainment, sports, news and literary worlds, including John Irving, George R.R. Martin, Margaret Atwood, Lesley Stahl and Junot Diaz, will share their favorite titles and the reasons for their choices.

Part television competition, part nationwide campaign, the series’ more significant goals are to inspire reading and engage us in a dialogue about books and the meaning they have in our lives. You’ll hear from leading authorities about what the novels on the top 100 list tell us regarding our diverse nation, our shared values and our cultural identity.

The Great American Read airs Tuesday, May 22, at 8 p.m. on SCETV.

Take the quiz and find out how many of America’s best-loved books you’ve read!

Join us for a sneak peek!

The ETV Endowment and SCETV invite book lovers to join us for special screening event in Charleston. We will get a sneak peek of 
The Great American Read and talk about our favorite novels and authors, from local to internationally known writers. We hope you'll join us. 

Wednesday, May 16th at 6:30 PM
Charleston Main Library
68 Calhoun Street, Charleston, SC 29401