HUSH Podcast #121 – The Great American Read

Show Notes

The Great American Read

PBS is creating an eight-part series that explores and celebrates the power of reading, told through the prism of America’s 100 best-loved novels (as chosen in a national survey).  It 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 Great American Read premieres Tues, May 22 at 7pm.

The list includes books from as far back as the 1600s and as recent as 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, romantic stories and books that represent the human experience told from a diverse range of perspectives.

With the list of 100 best-loved novels recently released and the first episode of The Great American Read about to air, HUSH hosts gathered for a conversation about the 100 books on the list.

We discuss:

  • What qualities do we want in a “Great American Read”?
  • Does a best-loved book need to reflect American values or personal taste?
  • What book do we hope is chosen? What book do we think will be chosen?
  • What are we surprised to see on this list? What books or authors do we think are missing?
  • Why haven’t we read more of these titles? What are we tempted to read after talking about this list?

View complete list

View complete list

Find out more about The Great American Read at or join the discussion on Facebook.

What’s Next?

HUSH Upcoming Episodes

Thanks for listening! We love to hear from listeners. Don’t forget to sign up for our year-long Reading Around the World challenge!

Meet your Hosts

Every three weeks, join librarian hosts Thad Hartman, Lissa Staley and Miranda Ericsson with special guests from the library and community in a new episode of HUSH.

Thad, Miranda and Lissa host the HUSH podcast

Thad, Miranda and Lissa host the HUSH podcast

Lissa Staley

Lissa Staley helps people use the library. She is a Book Evangelist, Trivia Emcee, Classics Made Modern book discussion leader, NaNoWriMo Municipal Liaison, and frequent library customer. She loves her kids, being a librarian, living in Topeka, and helping people form connections and community. (She's the Community Connections Librarian!) She reads a new book every few days, but is enjoying the audiobook of "Empress of Forever" by Max Gladstone, the ebook "When We Were Magic" by Sarah Gailey and is eagerly awaiting John Scalzi's "The Last Emperox" in April!