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The Great American Read Book List

The Great American Read, hosted by Meredith Vieira, is an eight-part television and online series designed to spark a national conversation about reading and the books that have inspired, moved, and shaped us. Get caught up on the reads below, and learn what trusted book people at Penguin Random House have to say about a few of their favorites as well! Vote for the books you love here.

  1. 1
    The Pillars of the Earth Book Cover Picture
    The Pillars of the Earth Book Cover Picture

    The Pillars of the Earth

    by Ken Follett

    “I remember picking up Ken Follett’s Pillars of Earth for the gothic architecture only to find myself completely captivated by an unputdownable, page-turning epic (all 1,008 pgs of it)!” – Patrick Nolan, VP & Editor in Chief, Penguin Books

    The Pillars of the Earth Book Cover Picture
    The Pillars of the Earth Book Cover Picture

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  2. 2

    1984

    by George Orwell

    1984 Book Cover Picture
    1984 Book Cover Picture

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  3. 3

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  4. 4
    The Grapes of Wrath Book Cover Picture
    The Grapes of Wrath Book Cover Picture

    The Grapes of Wrath

    by John Steinbeck

    “John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath is one of the most relevant and powerful classics I could recommend. The struggles and survival of the Joads reflect that of America, and shed light on the hardships of the marginalized and what it takes to endure.” – Elda Rotor, VP & Publisher, Penguin Classics

    The Grapes of Wrath Book Cover Picture
    The Grapes of Wrath Book Cover Picture

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  5. 5

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  6. 6
    Americanah Book Cover Picture
    Americanah Book Cover Picture

    Americanah

    by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    Americanah is a gorgeous, surprisingly funny look at America from an immigrant perspective. It’s a witty commentary on race, but at its heart, it’s the story of two people finding one another after many years.

    – Christine, Director, Online Marketing

    Americanah Book Cover Picture
    Americanah Book Cover Picture

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  7. 7
    Anne of Green Gables Book Cover Picture
    Anne of Green Gables Book Cover Picture

    Anne of Green Gables

    by L. M. Montgomery

    I don’t recall Anne not being a part of my childhood. Her story of romance, hilarious antics and, one of my favorite parts of the story, deep friendship not only shaped me as a young girl, but encouraged me to see beauty (or imagine it!) in every aspect of life. -Jamie, Marketing Manager, Waterbrook
    Anne of Green Gables Book Cover Picture
    Anne of Green Gables Book Cover Picture

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  8. 8

    Another Country

    by James Baldwin

    Another Country Book Cover Picture
    Another Country Book Cover Picture

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  9. 9

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  10. 10

    Beloved

    by Toni Morrison

    Beloved Book Cover Picture
    Beloved Book Cover Picture

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  11. 11
    The Book Thief (Anniversary Edition) Book Cover Picture
    The Book Thief (Anniversary Edition) Book Cover Picture

    The Book Thief (Anniversary Edition)

    by Markus Zusak

    A classic from the moment it was published, The Book Thief is required reading and will change the way you think about storytelling!” – John Adamo, SVP Marketing, Random House
    The Book Thief (Anniversary Edition) Book Cover Picture
    The Book Thief (Anniversary Edition) Book Cover Picture

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  12. 12

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  13. 13

    The Call of the Wild

    by Jack London

    The Call of the Wild Book Cover Picture
    The Call of the Wild Book Cover Picture

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  14. 14
    Things Fall Apart Book Cover Picture
    Things Fall Apart Book Cover Picture

    Things Fall Apart

    by Chinua Achebe

    There are so many ways to read Achebe’s Things Fall Apart and so many things to learn about pre-colonial and post-colonial Africa but at its core there is a life affirming reminder of our common humanity – and this is what stays with me more than twenty years later. ” – Patrick Nolan, VP & Editor in Chief, Penguin Books
    Things Fall Apart Book Cover Picture
    Things Fall Apart Book Cover Picture

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  15. 15

    Catch-22

    by Joseph Heller

    Catch-22 Book Cover Picture
    Catch-22 Book Cover Picture

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  16. 16

    The Clan of the Cave Bear

    by Jean M. Auel

    The Clan of the Cave Bear Book Cover Picture
    The Clan of the Cave Bear Book Cover Picture

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  17. 17

    The Count of Monte Cristo

    by Alexandre Dumas pere

    The Count of Monte Cristo Book Cover Picture
    The Count of Monte Cristo Book Cover Picture

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  18. 18

    Crime and Punishment

    by Fyodor Dostoevsky

    Crime and Punishment Book Cover Picture
    Crime and Punishment Book Cover Picture

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  19. 19

    Buy now from your favorite retailer:

  20. 20

    The Da Vinci Code

    by Dan Brown

    The Da Vinci Code Book Cover Picture
    The Da Vinci Code Book Cover Picture

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  21. 21

    Don Quixote

    by Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra

    Don Quixote Book Cover Picture
    Don Quixote Book Cover Picture

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  22. 22
    Jurassic Park Book Cover Picture
    Jurassic Park Book Cover Picture

    Jurassic Park

    by Michael Crichton

    One of Crichton’s gift as a writer was making science accessible and interpretations of where it was heading believable, never more so than in Jurassic Park. I remember putting that book down and thinking, ‘Cloned dinosaurs? Absolutely going to happen in my lifetime.’ Jurassic Park remains one of the great entertainments of all time.” – Paul Bogaards, EVP & Director, Public Relations, Knopf
    Jurassic Park Book Cover Picture
    Jurassic Park Book Cover Picture

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  23. 23

    Dune

    by Frank Herbert

    Dune Book Cover Picture
    Dune Book Cover Picture

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  24. 24

    Buy now from your favorite retailer:

  25. 25

    Foundation

    by Isaac Asimov

    Foundation Book Cover Picture
    Foundation Book Cover Picture

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  26. 26

    Frankenstein

    by Mary Shelley

    Frankenstein Book Cover Picture
    Frankenstein Book Cover Picture

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  27. 27
    Siddhartha Book Cover Picture
    Siddhartha Book Cover Picture

    Siddhartha

    by Hermann Hesse

    “Reading Siddhartha was a very important moment for me in a point in my life when I was young, angry, and wanted to be anywhere other than where I was. After I moved around a bit and gained some life experience, one of it’s main lessons came through to me as a truth I have followed ever since – life is where you are right now, so nurture it and watch it grow.” – Paul Buckley, SVP Executive Creative Director, Viking Penguin

    Siddhartha Book Cover Picture
    Siddhartha Book Cover Picture

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  28. 28

    Buy now from your favorite retailer:

  29. 29

    The Godfather

    by Mario Puzo

    The Godfather Book Cover Picture
    The Godfather Book Cover Picture

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  30. 30
    Gone Girl Book Cover Picture
    Gone Girl Book Cover Picture

    Gone Girl

    by Gillian Flynn

    “Marriage, deception and still more deception. A trailblazing novel, Gone Girl set a new standard for contemporary fiction.” – Molly Stern, SVP & Publisher, Crown Publishing
    Gone Girl Book Cover Picture
    Gone Girl Book Cover Picture

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  31. 31

    Great Expectations

    by Charles Dickens

    Great Expectations Book Cover Picture
    Great Expectations Book Cover Picture

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  32. 32

    Gulliver’s Travels

    by Jonathan Swift

    Gulliver's Travels Book Cover Picture
    Gulliver's Travels Book Cover Picture

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  33. 33
    The Joy Luck Club Book Cover Picture
    The Joy Luck Club Book Cover Picture

    The Joy Luck Club

    by Amy Tan

    “Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club gives voice to the intergenerational, immigrant, mother-daughter stories that many readers can relate to. The journey among these women are distinct but the connections made to readers are universal.” – Elda Rotor, VP & Publisher, Penguin Classics

    The Joy Luck Club Book Cover Picture
    The Joy Luck Club Book Cover Picture

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  34. 34

    The Handmaid’s Tale

    by Margaret Atwood

    The Handmaid's Tale Book Cover Picture
    The Handmaid's Tale Book Cover Picture

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  35. 35

    Heart of Darkness

    by Joseph Conrad

    Heart of Darkness Book Cover Picture
    Heart of Darkness Book Cover Picture

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  36. 36

    The Help

    by Kathryn Stockett

    The Help Book Cover Picture
    The Help Book Cover Picture

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  37. 37

    Buy now from your favorite retailer:

  38. 38

    The Hunt for Red October

    by Tom Clancy

    The Hunt for Red October Book Cover Picture
    The Hunt for Red October Book Cover Picture

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  39. 39

    The Intuitionist

    by Colson Whitehead

    The Intuitionist Book Cover Picture
    The Intuitionist Book Cover Picture

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  40. 40

    Invisible Man

    by Ralph Ellison

    Invisible Man Book Cover Picture
    Invisible Man Book Cover Picture

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  41. 41

    Jane Eyre

    by Charlotte Bronte

    Jane Eyre Book Cover Picture
    Jane Eyre Book Cover Picture

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  42. 42

    Little Women

    by Louisa May Alcott

    Little Women Book Cover Picture
    Little Women Book Cover Picture

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  43. 43

    Looking for Alaska

    by John Green

    Looking for Alaska Special 10th Anniversary Edition Book Cover Picture
    Looking for Alaska Special 10th Anniversary Edition Book Cover Picture

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  44. 44

    The Martian

    by Andy Weir

    The Martian Book Cover Picture
    The Martian Book Cover Picture

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  45. 45

    Memoirs of a Geisha

    by Arthur Golden

    Memoirs of a Geisha Book Cover Picture
    Memoirs of a Geisha Book Cover Picture

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  46. 46

    Moby-Dick

    by Herman Melville and Coralie Bickford-Smith

    Moby-Dick Book Cover Picture
    Moby-Dick Book Cover Picture

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  47. 47

    Buy now from your favorite retailer:

  48. 48

    Buy now from your favorite retailer:

  49. 49

    Buy now from your favorite retailer:

  50. 50

    The Pilgrim’s Progress

    by John Bunyan

    The Pilgrim's Progress Book Cover Picture
    The Pilgrim's Progress Book Cover Picture

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  51. 51

    Pride and Prejudice

    by Jane Austen

    Pride and Prejudice Book Cover Picture
    Pride and Prejudice Book Cover Picture

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  52. 52

    Buy now from your favorite retailer:

  53. 53

    The Sirens of Titan

    by Kurt Vonnegut

    The Sirens of Titan Book Cover Picture
    The Sirens of Titan Book Cover Picture

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  54. 54

    The Stand

    by Stephen King

    The Stand Book Cover Picture
    The Stand Book Cover Picture

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  55. 55

    War and Peace

    by Leo Tolstoy

    War and Peace Book Cover Picture
    War and Peace Book Cover Picture

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  56. 56

    Watchers

    by Dean Koontz

    Watchers Book Cover Picture
    Watchers Book Cover Picture

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  57. 57

    Where the Red Fern Grows

    by Wilson Rawls

    Where the Red Fern Grows Book Cover Picture
    Where the Red Fern Grows Book Cover Picture

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  58. 58

    White Teeth

    by Zadie Smith

    White Teeth Book Cover Picture
    White Teeth Book Cover Picture

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  59. 59

    Wuthering Heights

    by Emily Bronte

    Wuthering Heights Book Cover Picture
    Wuthering Heights Book Cover Picture

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