From a list of 100 novels, America chooses “To Kill a Mockingbird” as its favorite

Image: AP Photo/Gary Kazanjian
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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.

harper lee to kill a mockingbird
Image: Courtesy Harper Collins

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:

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
  1. The Outlander series, by Diana Gabaldon
  2. The Harry Potter series, by J. K. Rowling
  3. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
  4. The Lord of the Rings series, by J. R. R. Tolkien
  5. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
  6. Charlotte’s Web, by E. B. White
  7. Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott
  8. The Chronicles of Narnia series, C. S. Lewis
  9. 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.