Wednesday, April 09, 2008

An Embarrassing Top 10 - America's Favorite Books



I suppose I shouldn't be surprised at the list of "America's Favorite Books" compiled by the Harris poll people last month...but I am. I have no idea if they even attempted to come up with a scientifically representative sample, but let's face it, the results would probably be just as strange either way.


America's Top 10 Favorite Books

1. The Bible
2. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
3. Lord of the Rings (series), by J.R.R. Tolkien
4. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
5. The Stand, by Stephen King
6. The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown
7. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
8. Angels and Demons, by Dan Brown
9. Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand
10. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
I'm sorry, but a Top Ten list that includes Dan Brown, J.K. Rowling,Margaret Mitchell, J.R.R. Tolkien, Stephen King, Ayn Rand, etc. leaves me with a bit of an upset stomach. All the great books out there, and this is what "America" considers to be the best ever? I'm embarrassed for us. Where are all the great books written in the last two hundred years?

Dan Brown, not once, but twice? I think I'm going to be sick.

20 comments:

  1. I'm very surprised there's no Austen or Dickens or Twain... they're classics, but still mainstream enough to be popular to the masses.

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  2. What does this say about the American people? Most of these aren't even good writing. At least To Kill a Mockingbird made it into the top 10...but I can come up with at least 500 books or more that would come in above Dan Brown's novels. Yikes.

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  3. I remember learning about the lowest common denominator, in grade school. I guess it applies outside of math, too.

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  4. If this poll were taken in another five or ten years, Dan Brown would be gone. He'll fade away.

    Imagine my annoyance about Number nine!

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  5. They need to qualify the question with something you've read. Bah!

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  6. Well, the poll doesn't ask for the best written, or the most compelling, or the most inspirational, it asks for favorites. I think it shows that people read foremost for entertainment. Frankly, I'm surprised there were any classics on the list.

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  7. I slugged through Atlas Shrugged b/c my boss wanted me to read it. As a philosophy textbook, I suppose it's OK (even though it could be shorter and even though Rand's survival of the fittest attitude bothers me), but as a novel, it stinks. What I remember most is the one-dimensional characters. And the idiot blowing up his own buildings (OK, that was the other one, but still -- so stupid).

    I guess this is not a case of "sometimes, the popular stuff is the good stuff."

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  8. Annie, that's kine of my point, too. Some of the classics are very accessible and it's hard to believe that at least one or two of them didn't make this list. I was happy to see Nelle Harper Lee make the list, though I'm not sure it's really a top-10 book.

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  9. Wendy, I agree. That's what makes this list so disturbing to me.

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  10. I know that you are right, bybee, but I can't believe that people are so gullible sometimes.

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  11. Susan, you are, of course, right about the definition of "favorites," but the list is a real indictment on the reading "taste" of Americans.

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  12. Factotum, "Atlas Shrugged" is literally a "yawner" for me. I can never keep my eyes open long enough to read much of that one. They either close shut while I snooze or they glaze over in boredom.

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  13. I wonder whether for some people, these are the only books they've read. It's hard to put Dickens in your list of favorites, for example, if you've never read a book by Dickens. A lot of people only read one or two books a year.

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  14. I'm sure that's true, Becky...sad as THAT is.

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  15. I quite like JRR Tolkien and absolutely adore Ayn Rand!! Some of the best books of the fantasy genre that I have read are The Lord of the Rings and CS LEwis' The Chronicles of Narnia. In fact, Disney is comin up with the latest Narnia movie- Prince Caspian this May 16th!!! The trailers promise an awesome movie!! catch them here-http://www.disney.in/narnia
    And The Fountain head is my bible!! Its the best book i've ever read!!

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  16. Gee, I wonder how Salinger got in there. I didn't think anyone read him anymore. They must have been talking to some Baby Boomers.

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  17. Simran, I understand that both those authors have huge and loyal followings. For me, both are better than a sedative when I can't sleep, but to each his own. That's what makes book blogging so much fun for me.

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  18. Gotta be the case, jlshall, gotta be the case. :-)

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