Americans love a heroic white father figure. TV program The Great American Read concluded today (Oct. 23) with a segment revealing that the US’s favorite novel is Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.
Since May, PBS has invited viewers to vote online or by phone, part of the show in which readers around the country talk about their favorite books. Readers chose from a list of 100 titles, which were the result of an initial nationwide YouGov survey. The vote brought in more than 4 million responses.
Earlier this month, PBS announced the final 10 titles. Here are the books ranked by their final counts:
- To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
- The Outlander series, by Diana Gabaldon
- The Harry Potter series, by J. K. Rowling
- Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
- The Lord of the Rings series, by J. R. R. Tolkien
- Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
- Charlotte’s Web, by E. B. White
- Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott
- The Chronicles of Narnia series, C. S. Lewis
- Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë
The voting process wasn’t terribly scientific—people could vote multiple times, as often as once a day—but there are themes among the final 10: They’re largely geared at young readers, nine of the top-voted authors are white, and seven are women. Half are Americans, and the only living writers among them are Rowling and Gabaldon.
To Kill a Mockingbird isn’t a surprising choice. The 1960 Pulitzer-winning coming-of-age novel about 1930s American race relations is a regular on US high school curricula. Its 1962 film adaptation won three Oscars, and its 2015 sequel was the subject of intense scrutiny and debate. Earlier this year, a Broadway adaptation was also caught in an ugly public legal battle.