Favorite book of American readers is announced


To Kill a Mockingbird voted top ‘Great American Read’ in US poll

Millions of American readers voted Harper Lee’s renowned story about racism as their favourite novel in six-month PBS poll

Gregory Peck in the film adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird
 Gregory Peck in the film adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird, which has been voted the US’s best-loved novel. Photograph: Universal Pictures/Getty Images

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee’s renowned coming-of-age story about racism and injustice in the American south, was voted the US’s best-loved novel by millions of readers as part of a national poll.

The Pulitzer prize-winning book, first published in 1960, topped the US public service broadcaster PBS’s Great American Read survey, the results of which were announced on Tuesday. More than 4 million votes were cast in the six-month long poll.

The 100-book shortlist voted on by readers was based on an initial PBS/YouGov survey of about 7,200 Americans who were invited to nominate their favourite novel. An advisory panel of experts from the literary industry culled the list to 100 books. Authors were limited to one title or series. Provided the novel was written in English, authors could be from anywhere in the world.

Harper Lee and a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird.
 Harper Lee and a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird. Photograph: AP

Seven out of the top 10 novels were written by women, with Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series coming in second, JK Rowling’s Harry Potter taking third place, and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice coming in fourth. JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings rounded out the top five, and was the top ranking novel by a male writer.

To Kill A Mockingbird has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide since its release and remains a fixture on school reading lists. Set in the 1930s US south, it centres on lawyer Atticus Finch and his young children, daughter Scout and son Jem. When Finch defends an African-American man falsely accused of assaulting a white woman, the trial and its repercussions open Scout’s eyes to the world around her.

The publication of a companion novel, Go Set A Watchman, in 2015, was the cause of much controversy.

The Great American Read initiative included a TV series, a 50,000-member online book club, and a widespread social media campaign.

The top 20 books were as follows:

1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
2. Outlander (series) by Diana Gabaldon
3. Harry Potter (series) by JK Rowling
4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
5. The Lord of the Rings (series) by JRR Tolkein
6. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
7. Charlotte’s Web by EB White
8. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
9. The Chronicles of Narnia (series) by CS Lewis
10. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
11. Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery
12. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
13. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
14. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
15. The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
16. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
17. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
18. 1984 by George Orwell
19. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
20. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

The full ranked list can be found on the Great American Read website.

 This article was amended on 24 October 2018. An earlier version erroneously referred to the posthumous publication of Go Set a Watchman. This had been corrected.

To Kill a Mockingbird

Best Loved


To Kill a Mockingbird was voted by viewers as America’s #1 best-loved novel in The Great American Read.

One of the best-loved stories of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than forty million copies worldwide, served as the basis for an enormously popular motion picture, and voted one of the best novels of the twentieth century by librarians across the country. A gripping, heart-wrenching, and wholly remarkable tale of coming-of-age in a South poisoned by virulent prejudice, it views a world of great beauty and savage inequities through the eyes of a young girl, as her father—a crusading local lawyer—risks everything to defend a black man unjustly accused of a terrible crime.

To Kill a Mockingbird led The Great American Read voting from the first week, and kept the lead for the entire five months of voting, despite strong competition from the rest of our five finalists. It also topped the list of votes in every state except North Carolina (who went for Outlander) and Wyoming (who preferred Lord of The Rings). Such widespread support from readers across the country make To Kill a Mockingbird a worthy winner of The Great American Read.

Outlander (Series)


Outlander (Series)

Harry Potter (Series)


Harry Potter (Series)

Pride and Prejudice


Pride and Prejudice

The Lord of the Rings (Series)


The Lord of the Rings (Series)

Full Results

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird
  2. Outlander (Series)
  3. Harry Potter (Series)
  4. Pride and Prejudice
  5. Lord of the Rings
  6. Gone with the Wind
  7. Charlotte’s Web
  8. Little Women
  9. Chronicles of Narnia
  10. Jane Eyre
  11. Anne of Green Gables
  12. Grapes of Wrath
  13. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
  14. Book Thief
  15. Great Gatsby
  16. The Help
  17. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
  18. 1984
  19. And Then There Were None
  20. Atlas Shrugged
  21. Wuthering Heights
  22. Lonesome Dove
  23. Pillars of the Earth
  24. Stand
  25. Rebecca
  26. A Prayer for Owen Meany
  27. Color Purple
  28. Alice in Wonderland
  29. Great Expectations
  30. Catcher in the Rye
  31. Where the Red Fern Grows
  32. Outsiders
  33. The Da Vinci Code
  34. The Handmaid’s Tale
  35. Dune
  36. The Little Prince
  37. Call of the Wild
  38. The Clan of the Cave Bear
  39. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy
  40. The Hunger Games
  41. The Count of Monte Cristo
  42. The Joy Luck Club
  43. Frankenstein
  44. The Giver
  45. Memoirs of a Geisha
  46. Moby Dick
  47. Catch 22
  48. Game of Thrones (series)
  49. Foundation (series)
  50. War and Peace
  51. Their Eyes Were Watching God
  52. Jurassic Park
  53. The Godfather
  54. One Hundred Years of Solitude
  55. The Picture of Dorian Gray
  56. The Notebook
  57. The Shack
  58. A Confederacy of Dunces
  59. The Hunt for Red October
  60. Beloved
  61. The Martian
  62. The Wheel of Time (series)
  63. Siddhartha
  64. Crime and Punishment
  65. The Sun Also Rises
  66. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime
  67. A Separate Peace
  68. Don Quixote
  69. The Lovely Bones
  70. The Alchemist
  71. Hatchet (series)
  72. Invisible Man
  73. The Twilight Saga (series)
  74. Tales of the City (series)
  75. Gulliver’s Travels
  76. Ready Player One
  77. Left Behind (series)
  78. Gone Girl
  79. Watchers
  80. The Pilgrim’s Progress
  81. Alex Cross Mysteries (series)
  82. Things Fall Apart
  83. Heart of Darkness
  84. Gilead
  85. Flowers in the Attic
  86. Fifty Shades of Grey
  87. The Sirens of Titan
  88. This Present Darkness
  89. Americanah
  90. Another Country
  91. Bless Me, Ultima
  92. Looking for Alaska
  93. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
  94. Swan Song
  95. Mind Invaders
  96. White Teeth
  97. Ghost
  98. The Coldest Winter Ever
  99. The Intuitionist
  100. Doña Bárbára



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