The Great American Read, presented by Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), is exploring the power of reading with an eight-episode series where viewers will vote for the top book from a list of 100 of the most-loved novels. And our community is participating in this national celebration of reading as well!
The Reston Regional Library is one of 50 libraries nationwide to receive a grant from the American Library Association and PBS to host programs around the television series. We have also partnered with our local PBS station, WETA TV 26, which will air the series. To supplement the PBS show, we want you to vote in a series of polls from the same list to determine Fairfax County’s favorite book.
Throughout August, September and October, you will be able to vote for your favorite books here on NewsCenter. The 100 books have been placed into a bracket and divided into quadrants based on the years they were published: The Classics, Mid-Century, Late Century and Contemporary.
Just like March Madness or other tournaments, the winners of each matchup will advance to the next round, and the top book in Fairfax County will be announced on Oct. 22 – the day before PBS airs its final episode announcing its champion.
The full voting schedule and bracket is below. Voting will be open for one week for each round, with the exception of the final two rounds.
- Aug. 13: Classics first round
- Aug. 20: Mid-Century first round
- Aug. 27: Late Century first round
- Sept. 3: Contemporary first round
- Sept. 10: Classics and Mid-Century second round
- Sept. 17: Late Century and Contemporary second round
- Sept. 24: Top 32
- Oct. 1: Top 16
- Oct. 8: Top 8
- Oct. 15: Top 4
- Oct. 18: Top 2
- Oct. 22: Fairfax County’s favorite book announced
Click the image to view a larger bracket (then click “View full size”)
The PBS list of books contains a broad range of fictional titles, authors, time periods, countries, genres and subject matter ranging from the 1600s to 2016. From beloved world literature to contemporary best sellers, many categories are represented: 20th-century American classics, thrillers, young adult novels, sci-fi/fantasy, adventure, historical fiction and romantic stories.
PBS worked with a public opinion polling service to conduct a demographically and statistically representative survey asking Americans to name their most-loved novel. Approximately 7,200 people participated, and the results were organized based on selection criteria overseen by an advisory panel of 13 literary industry professionals.
These books — part of the Fairfax County Public Library’s 1.2 million-item collection — are available free to library card holders by reserving them online or checking them out at their local branch.
This celebration of reading goes beyond just voting for your favorite books. We also encourage you to participate in a range of events at county libraries:
- Monthly trivia nights – Show off your book knowledge.
- Green screen photo booths – Place yourself in your favorite book scene.
- Book clubs – Join fellow book lovers for lively and thoughtful discussions.
- Intergenerational chats – Kids/teens and adults interview each other about their favorite books.
- Literary theme lectures – Discuss why these books matter.
- Roundtable discussion – Join a panel of local writers to talk about what makes a great book.
- Author talk – Listen to Kwame Alexander and get a book signed.
PBS’ eight-part series will investigate how and why writers create their fictional worlds, how 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 series will feature documentary segments, with testimonials from celebrities, authors, notable Americans and book lovers across the country.
The series includes a two-hour launch episode when the list of 100 books was revealed, five one-hour theme episodes that examine concepts common to groups of books on the list and a finale, when the results are announced from the nationwide vote to choose America’s best-loved book.
After you vote in our poll, you can also vote in the PBS poll.
- “Launch Special” (Premiered May 22)
- “Fall Kick Off” (Premieres Sept. 11)
- “Who Am I?” (Premieres Sept. 18)
- “Heroes” (Premieres Sept. 25)
- “Villains and Monsters” (Premieres Oct. 2)
- What We Do For Love” (Premieres Oct. 9)
- “Other Worlds” (Premieres Oct. 16)
- “Grand Finale” (Premieres Oct. 23)
Fairfax County residents can watch all episodes on WETA TV 26.