At Your Library: The Great American Read begins May 22

How many of these 100 books have you read?

Do you ever wonder what the most popular books in the United States might be? How would you choose your top 100?

Well, the Public Broadcasting Service has created a television special to help determine the most beloved 100 books of all time through a national survey. Here’s more about how PBS plans to determine the country’s favorite novels.

The Great American Read is an eight-part series that explores and celebrates the power of reading through the lens of America’s 100 best-loved novels.

This series investigates how and why writers create their fictional worlds, how we as 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 television series, which begins at 7p.m. (AKST) Tuesday, May 22, features entertaining and informative documentary segments, with compelling stories from celebrities, authors, notable Americans and book lovers across the country. During the launch, the list of 100 books will be revealed. Other episodes will examine concepts common to groups of books on the list, and in the finale, the results of America’s single best-loved book will be announced from a nationwide vote. Can you imagine picking just one?!

Here’s how the top 100 books were chosen:

PBS and the producers worked with the public opinion polling service, YouGov, to conduct a demographically and statistically representative survey asking Americans to name their most-loved novel. Approximately 7,200 people participated. The results were tallied and organized based on the selection criteria and overseen by an advisory panel of 13 literary industry professionals.

Here’s the criteria they used:

  • Each author was limited to one title on the list (to keep the list varied).
  • Books published in series or featuring ongoing characters (Such as Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings) counted as one eligible entry on the list to increase variety.
  • Books could be from anywhere in the world if they were published in English.
  • Only fiction could be included in the poll.
  • Each advisory panel member was permitted to select one book for discussion and possible inclusion on the top 100 list of survey results.

Tune in to PBS and follow along with this great story of great reads. You can participate and vote until October 2018 when PBS unveils the No. 1 choice!