‘Harry Potter’ Charms The Great American Read List!

Apr 28, 2018

Posted by: Kim McChesney

Books, Contests, Events, Fun, News, Television Programmes, Titles

Whether or not you’re a fan of Harry Potter, most of us know at least one reluctant reader who was transfigured by the Boy Who Lived. Parents whose children had no interest in cracking a book until they met the Golden Trio and their friends at Hogwarts, regularly profess their gratitude to J.K. Rowling, as do those children who are now parents themselves. From celebrities like Whoopi Goldberg and Glenn Close on the red carpet of the recent Broadway premiere of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child to our own staff, Muggles the world over have never found reading as magical as when they’re immersed in Potter.

It’s no wonder that the entire Harry Potter series is included with classics the likes of Catch-22, Call of the Wild and The Grapes of Wrath to Gone with the Wind, War and Peace and Wuthering Heights in The Great American Read’s list of America’s 100 best-loved novels announced last week by PBS.


The upcoming campaign and corresponding eight-part documentary series looks to identify America’s all time favorite work of fiction, while at the same time encourage reading and the conversation about books. The program, which is hosted by TV personality Meredith Viera, features conversation and testimonials from authors, celebrities and bibliophiles of all kinds including a self proclaimed Potterhead from Chicago that will appear on the first segment May 22. The program’s website describes the campaign this way:

“THE GREAT AMERICAN READ is 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.”

In order to narrow the list down to the top 100, PBS and the program producers surveyed approximately 7200 people through the public opinion polling service YouGov. According to the initiatives website the criteria for choosing the books was as follows:

  • Each author was limited to one title on the list (to keep the list varied).
  • Books published in series or featuring ongoing characters counted as one eligible entry on the list (e.g. the Harry Potter series or Lord of the Rings)to increase variety.
  • Books could be from anywhere in the world as long as they were published in English.
  • Only fiction could be included in the poll.
  • Each advisory panel member was permitted to select one book for discussion and possible inclusion on the top 100 list from the longer list of survey results.

Fans can begin voting online and on the programs social media channels when The Great American Read begins on PBS May 22. Voting will be open throughout the summer and the winner will be announced during the series finale in October. In the meantime the full list of 100 books and a reader quiz can be found on the program website here.

Do you think Harry Potter will be crowned America’s best loved novel (series)? Mark your calendar to begin casting your choice on May 22 and, remember, no Confunding of other voters allowed!

The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.