The Great American Read . . . ‘Things Fall Apart’ and ‘Americanah’ among 100 books to feature in TV series


Chinua Achebe’s ‘Things Fall Apart’ and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s bestselling book ‘Americanah’ have been named in the list of 100 books to feature in ‘The Great American Read’ TV Series. The series “celebrates the power of reading, told through the prism of America’s 100 best-loved novels (as chosen in a national survey)”.

Chinua Achebe’s ‘Things Fall Apart’ recently named one of 12 novels considered “the Greatest Book Ever Written” on the list compiled by Encyclopaedia Britannica has been selected as one of 100 books that will be featured in ‘The Great American Read’.

Also selected on ‘The Great American Read’ list is Achebe’s compatriot Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s bestselling book ‘Americanah’.

Achebe’s first novel ‘Things Fall Apart’ (1958) is widely considered his magnum opus, and is the most widely read book in modern African literature. ‘Things Fall Apart’ is regarded as an important novel and one of the greatest classics of our time.  The story chronicles the pre-colonial life in Nigeria and the arrival of the Europeans during the late nineteenth century.  The novel interrogates the clash of cultures, traditional values and belief systems.

Adichie’s third novel ‘Americanah’ received praise from critics across the world and won numerous awards. The book won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction and was named one of The New York Times’s Ten Best Books of the Year. It was selected as the first-year summer reading assignment for Duke’s Class of 2018. It comes as no surprise that Adichie’s masterpiece makes it on the list of 100 Books to feature on ‘The Great American Read’ series.

‘The Great American Read’ is an eight-part television series whose primary objective is to ignite debate about reading and the books that have had an impact on the world. The series is designed to get the country reading and passionately talking about books.

Viewers will then vote on their favourite novel from a list of 100 books, chosen through a demographically diverse survey.

According to PBS, the series “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 television series features entertaining and informative documentary segments, with compelling testimonials from celebrities, authors, notable Americans and book lovers across the country. It is comprised of a two-hour launch episode in which the list of 100 books is revealed, five one-hour theme episodes that examine concepts common to groups of books on the list, and a finale, in which the results are announced of a nationwide vote to choose America’s best-loved book.”    

The premiere of ‘The Great American Read’ will be aired on May 22. 


The full list of 100 books


1. 1984 by George Orwell

2. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

3. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

4. A Separate Peace by John Knowles

5. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

6. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

7. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

8. Alex Cross Mysteries (series) by James Patterson

9. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

10. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

11. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

12. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

13. Another Country by James Baldwin

14. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

15. Beloved by Toni Morrison

16. Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya

17. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

18. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz 

19. The Call of the Wild by Jack London

20. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

21. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

22. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

23. The Chronicles of Narnia (series) by C.S. Lewis

24. The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel

25. The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah

26. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

27. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

28. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

29. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon

30. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

31. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

32. Doña Bárbara  by Rómulo Gallegos

33. Dune by Frank Herbert

34. Fifty Shades of Grey (series) by E.L. James

35. Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews

36. Foundation (series) by Isaac Asimov

37. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

38. Games of Thrones (series) by George R.R. Martin

39. Ghost by Jason Reynolds

40. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

41. The Giver by Lois Lowry

42. The Godfather by Mario Puzo

43. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

44. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

45. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

46. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

47. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

48. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

49. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

50. Harry Potter(series) by J.K. Rowling

51. Hatchet (series) by Gary Paulsen

52. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

53. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

54. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams     

55. The Hunger Games (series) by Suzanne Collins

56. The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy

57. The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead

58. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

59. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

60. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

61. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

62. Left Behind (series) by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins

63. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

64. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

65. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

66. Looking for Alaska by John Green

67. The Lord of the Rings (series) by J.R.R. Tolkien

68. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

69. The Martian by Andy Weir

70. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

71. Mind Invaders by Dave Hunt

72. Moby Dick by Herman Melville

73. The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

74. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

75. Outlander (series) by Diana Gabaldon

76. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

77. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

78. The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan

79. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

80. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

81. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

82. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

83. The Shack by William P. Young

84. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

85. The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut

86. The Stand by Stephen King

87. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

88. Swan Song by Robert McCammon

89. Tales of the City (series) by Armistead Maupin

90. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

91. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

92. This Present Darkness by Frank E. Peretti

93. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

94. Twilight Saga (series) by Stephenie Meyer

95. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

96. The Watchers by Dean Koontz

97. The Wheel of Time (series) by Robert Jordan

98. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

99. White Teeth by Zadie Smith

100. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë – This Is Africa/USA Today 




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