PBS Announces Top 10 Vote Getters Ahead of The Great American Read Finale on Oct. 23

Press Release

Tuesday, October 23, 2018 - 7:00pm


The clock is ticking to find out what is America’s best-loved novel. The Great American Read airs its “Grand Finale” episode and reveals America’s choice for its number one book on Tuesday, October 23 at 7:00 p.m. on KUED.

The “Grand Finale” episode will be filmed in front of a live audience in New York City. Notable attendees will include host Meredith Vieira; actor Wil Wheaton; authors Diana Gabaldon, Robert McCammon, and Amy Tan; journalist Lesley Stahl; literary expert Baratunde Thurston, and more.

Since its launch in May 2018, the initiative has sparked a nationwide call to action for viewers to read as many books on the list as possible, vote on their favorite works of fiction, and share their thoughts and opinions on social media as part of a campaign to celebrate books and reading. Many readers have joined the conversation on social media, with a combined following of more than 200,000 book lovers across Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. The Great American Read Facebook Book Club has grown to an actively engaged community of nearly 50,000 bibliophiles, and video content related to the series from PBS Digital Studios and weekly episode streams have generated 5.1 million views across PBS platforms, Facebook, and Youtube.

To date, more than 3.8 million votes have been cast in conjunction with The Great American Read.

Heading into the final week of voting, PBS has revealed the current top 10 books in alphabetical order:

1.         Charlotte’s Web

2.         Chronicles of Narnia (series)

3.         Gone with the Wind

4.         Harry Potter (series)

5.         Jane Eyre

6.         Little Women

7.         Lord of the Rings (series)

8.         Outlander (series)

9.         Pride and Prejudice

10.       To Kill a Mockingbird

“Since the series launched in May, millions of book lovers, superfans and literary advocates from across the country have cast their vote in search of America’s Best Loved Novel,” said Bill Gardner, Vice President of Programming and Development, PBS. “Every title on our top 100 list provides a unique window into our vibrant and diverse national culture.”

“It has been amazing to see how passionate and engaged the American audience has been with The Great American Read,” said Jane Root, Nutopia CEO and founder. “The 100 novels selected have a special place in our hearts, as they celebrate our stories and take us to new worlds. Thank you to those who have voted. We are excited to find out America’s most loved novel.”

Many states’ top 10 lists reflect their regional pride for featured books by authors hailing from those states. For example:

  • A Confederacy of Dunces is currently sitting in the top 10 only in Louisiana, where the central character, Ignatius J. Reilly, lives with his mother and where the author, John Kennedy Toole, was born.
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, which tells the story of a young boy growing up in a fictional Mississippi River town, was inspired by Hannibal, Missouri, the boyhood home of author Mark Twain, and currently ranks in the top 10 in the state of Missouri.
  • New York ranked A Tree Grows in Brooklyn at number 6. 
  • Only New Hampshire voted Moby Dick into its top 10.
  • Oklahomans are proud enough of The Outsiders to rank it 9th on their state list.
  •  Bless Me Ultima is currently sitting at number 4 in New Mexico.

In addition, Puerto Rico voted books by Latin authors or with Latin themes higher than anywhere else, making its top 10 significantly different from the nation’s top picks as a whole. 

Seven of the current top 10 books were written by women, 11 of the top 20 were written by American authors, and  201 years divide the most recently published book and the oldest book in the top-ranking list.

Below are the top lists of novels by popular genres as the vote currently ranks:


Pride and Prejudice    

Gone with the Wind

Jane Eyre

Wuthering Heights



The Stand

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy



Foundation (series)


Harry Potter (series)

Lord of the Rings (series)

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Chronicles of Narnia (series)

Game of Thrones (series)


Last modified: 
Thursday, October 18, 2018 - 2:40pm