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The Great American Read

The Great American Read 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. The series will engage audiences with this list of 100 diverse books.

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Heart of Darkness

By Joseph Conrad & Another Time...Another Place
Narrated by: Frederick Davidson
Length: 3 hours 58 minutes

Compelling, exotic, and suspenseful, Heart of Darkness is far more than just an adventure story. The novel explores deep into the dark regions of the hearts and souls of its characters and into the conflicts prevalent in more “primitive” cultures. It is also a striking picture of the moral deterioration that can result from prolonged... Read more »

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The Help

By Kathryn Stockett
Narrated by: Jenna Lamia
Length: 18 hours 3 minutes

The #1 New York Times bestselling novel and basis for the Academy Award–winning film.
Aibileen is a black maid in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi, who's always taken orders quietly, but lately she's unable to hold her bitterness back. Her friend Minny has never held her tongue but now must somehow keep secrets about her employer that leave her... Read more »

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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

By Douglas Adams
Narrated by: Stephen Fry
Length: 5 hours 51 minutes

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “Extremely funny . . . inspired lunacy . . . [and] over much too soon.”—The Washington Post Book World

SOON TO BE A HULU SERIES • Now celebrating the pivotal 42nd anniversary of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy!

Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read

It’s an ordinary Thursday... Read more »

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The Intuitionist

A Novel

By Colson Whitehead
Narrated by: Peter Jay Fernandez
Length: 9 hours 39 minutes

In a marvelous debut novel that has been compared to Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man and Joseph Heller's Catch-22, Colson Whitehead has created a strangely skewed world of elevators and the people who control their ups and downs. Lila Mae Watson-the first black female inspector in the world's tallest city-has the highest performance rating of... Read more »

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Jane Eyre

By Charlotte Brontë
Narrated by: Wanda McCaddon
Length: 18 hours 52 minutes

Jane Eyre, the plain yet spirited governess, introduced a new kind of heroine to literature: one whose virtuous integrity, sharp intellect, and tireless perseverance broke through class barriers to win equal stature with the man she loved.

Orphaned and subject to a cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit... Read more »

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Jurassic Park

A Novel

By Michael Crichton
Narrated by: Scott Brick
Length: 15 hours 10 minutes

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the author of Timeline, Sphere, and Congo, this is the classic thriller of science run amok that took the world by storm.

Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read

“[Michael] Crichton’s dinosaurs are genuinely frightening.”—Chicago Sun-Times

An astonishing technique for... Read more »

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Little Women

The Little Women Series: Book #1

By Louisa May Alcott
Narrated by: Lorelei King
Length: 8 hours 5 minutes

Little Women begins the much-loved story of the March sisters: Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy. The girls grow up amidst the turmoils, adventures, and hardships of the American Civil War.

There is Meg, the eldest, plump and fair; Jo, the tomboy who longs to be a writer and fights against the constraints of her sex; Beth, shy, timid, and delicate, who... Read more »

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The Lovely Bones

Booktrack Edition

By Alice Sebold
Narrated by: Alice Sebold
Length: 10 hours 53 minutes

"My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973."

So begins the story of Susie Salmon, who is adjusting to her new home in heaven, a place that is not at all what she expected, even as she is watching life on earth continue without her -- her friends trading rumors about her... Read more »

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Memoirs of A Geisha

By Arthur Golden
Narrated by: Bernadette Dunne
Length: 18 hours 6 minutes

Speaking to us with the wisdom of age and in a voice at once haunting and immediate, Nitta Sayuri tells the story of her life as a geisha. Sayuri's story begins in a poor fishing village in 1929, when, as a nine-year-old with unusual blue-gray eyes, she is taken from her home and sold into slavery to a renowned geisha house. It concludes with... Read more »

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By Herman Melville
Narrated by: Anthony Heald
Length: 23 hours 51 minutes

One of the great works of American literature, Moby-Dick is the epic tale of one man's fight against a force of nature. The outcast youth Ishmael, succumbing to wanderlust during a dreary New England autumn, signs up for passage aboard a whaling ship. The Pequod sails under the command of the one-legged Captain Ahab, who has set himself on a... Read more »

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The Notebook

Booktrack Edition

By Nicholas Sparks
Narrated by: Barry Bostwick
Length: 6 hours 3 minutes

Experience the unforgettable, heartbreaking love story set in post-World War II North Carolina about a young socialite and the boy who once stole her heart -- one of PBS's "Great American Reads".

Every so often a love story so captures our hearts that it becomes more than a story -- it becomes an experience to remember forever. The Notebook is... Read more »

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One Hundred Years of Solitude

By Gabriel García Márquez, Gregory Rabassa & Wendy T. Behary, LCSW
Narrated by: John Lee
Length: 14 hours 2 minutes

One of the twentieth century’s enduring works, One Hundred Years of Solitude is a widely beloved and acclaimed novel known throughout the world and the ultimate achievement in a Nobel Prize–winning career.

The novel tells the story of the rise and fall of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buend¡a family. Rich and brilliant,... Read more »

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The Outsiders

By S. E. Hinton
Narrated by: Jim Fyfe
Length: 5 hours 8 minutes

50 years of an iconic classic! This international bestseller and inspiration for a beloved movie is a heroic story of friendship and belonging.

No one ever said life was easy. But Ponyboy is pretty sure that he's got things figured out. He knows that he can count on his brothers, Darry and Sodapop. And he knows that he can count on his... Read more »

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Harry Potter: Book #1

By J. K. Rowling
Narrated by: Jim Dale
Length: 8 hours 33 minutes

"Turning the envelope over, his hand trembling, Harry saw a purple wax seal bearing a coat of arms; a lion, an eagle, a badger and a snake surrounding a large letter 'H'."

Harry Potter has never even heard of Hogwarts when the letters start dropping on the doormat at number four, Privet Drive. Addressed in green ink on yellowish parchment with a... Read more »

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By Gary Paulsen
Narrated by: Peter Coyote
Length: 3 hours 41 minutes

13-year-old Brian Robeson learns to survive alone in the Canadian wilderness, armed with his hatchet and resourcefulness. Read more »

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Left Behind

A Novel of the Earth's Last Days
Left Behind: Book #1

By Tim LaHaye & Jerry B. Jenkins
Narrated by: Richard Ferrone
Length: 11 hours 50 minutes

What would happen if millions of people around the world suddenly disappeared one day? In this fascinating apocalyptic thriller, best-selling Christian inspirational authors LaHaye and Jenkins pool their considerable talents to answer that question. Narrator Richard Ferrone's unusually deep and hypnotic voice will keep you right in the middle of... Read more »

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The Fellowship of the Ring - Abridged

The Lord of the Rings: Book #1

By J.R.R. Tolkien
Narrated by: Ensemble Cast
Length: 3 hours 24 minutes

The original American dramatization as broadcast on National Public Radio. Read more »

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The Picture of Dorian Gray

By Oscar Wilde
Narrated by: Simon Vance
Length: 7 hours 44 minutes

Dorian Gray, a handsome and narcissistic young man, lives thoughtlessly for his own pleasure—an attitude encouraged by the company he keeps. One day, after having his portrait painted, Dorian makes a frivolous Faustian wish: that he should always remain as young and beautiful as he is in that painting, while the portrait grows old in his... Read more »

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The Pilgrim’s Progress

By John Bunyan
Narrated by: Simon Vance
Length: 9 hours 21 minutes

Next to the Bible, The Pilgrim’s Progress has probably been more widely read than any other book in the English language, and rightfully so. It is considered by many critics to be the greatest allegory in any language. And to think that it was written by a jailed tinker who received very little formal education.

This classic allegory tells of a... Read more »

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The Pillars of the Earth

Kingsbridge: Book #1

By Ken Follett
Narrated by: John Lee
Length: 40 hours 56 minutes

If you liked the Century Trilogy, you’ll love the “extraordinary . . . monumental masterpiece.”—Booklist, that changed the course of Ken Follett’s already phenomenal career. 

“Follett risks all and comes out a clear winner,” extolled Publishers Weekly on the release of The Pillars of the Earth. A departure for the bestselling thriller writer, the... Read more »

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