Vote for your favorite book on PBS The Great American Read Sept 11-Oct 23

 Readers rejoice! The PBS series The Great American Read is back airing September 11 through October 23, 2018, putting the spotlight on great books and the joy and importance of reading more than just text messages and twitter posts.

 PBS’ eight-part literary love-fest explores the power of books and the impact they can have on our lives through the lens of America’s 100 best-loved novels, as voted on by the public. The nationwide campaign, created in partnership with the production company Nutopia, has been searching for America’s “Best-Loved Novel.” 

Meredith Vieira

 The shows are hosted by journalist Meredith Vieira who talked about the multi-platform reading initiative during the PBS session at the recent Television Critics Association’s summer 2018 press tour at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills.

“I’m Meredith Vieira and I’ve never written a book,” she said, adding that her favorite books show “I like a dead body. I like murder. If I had to pick just one book it would be ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ because of the impact it had on me as a teen.”

Also on hand was Jonathan Barzilay, Chief Operating Officer of PBS, who reported that something surprising happened during The Great American Read launch this spring at the Morgan Library, in New York City, when the list of America’s 100 best-loved books, as chosen from an online poll, was announced.

Barzilay said, “The atmosphere in the room was not like a library, it was not like a classroom. It was like the NFL draft, as people were screaming as their favorite books were revealed. Since the first episode of The Great American Read premiered on May 22nd, millions have joined the conversation and people have been voting for their favorite novel.”

 The series resumes September 11 with six episodes highlighting the top 100 novels grouped into themes such as love, heroes and villains, and fantasy, building to the final episode on October 23 when America’s best loved novel is revealed.


(from left) Meredith Vieira, plus authors Nicholas Sparks, Diana Gabaldon, and Wil Wheaton

Joining Barzilay and Vieira on the PBS interview panel were Diana Gabaldon, author of the award-winning “Outlander” series, and Nicholas Sparks, author of “The Notebook” and 20 other New York Times bestsellers, over half of which have become major motion pictures. Both have their novels in the top 100 vying for the “Best-Loved Novel” title. 

 Sparks said he is biased and hopes “The Notebook” wins, and he was honored that it made the top 100 list. “For myself, and I’m sure for Diana, creating a novel is a lot of work and you put a lot of care and love in it. For both of us it was our first novel that was chosen, and for your first while you’re writing you don’t know what’s going to happen. You have hopes and dreams and then we were both blessed with success. So to be recognized many years later for that initial work, it’s an extraordinary feeling.”

 Actor and writer Wil Wheaton was asked to be on the panel to talk about some of his favorite books in the top 100, among them “Heart of Darkness” and “Ready Player One,” “but I’m really pulling for ‘Dune.’ Russia, if you’re listening–vote for ‘Dune,'” he pleaded, trying to rig the vote for his fav.

 Excluding her novel, Gabaldon said, “Trying to pick one favorite book out of the universe of books is impossible. To pick one off of a list of 100 is difficult but maybe not impossible. For me it’s a dead heat between ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ and ‘Lonesome Dove.’ And having made that decision, I was thinking what do these books have in common? Why do I like them both so much? I finally decided that it’s because they share what my husband refers to in reference to my work as the ‘One damn thing after another’ school of fiction.”

 To get more details and to vote online go to


Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to have been half of the husband & wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who had written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 38 years.