By Letitia Coyne
Posted May 17, 2012
Support the author of this article by liking it on Facebook!
I recently found this list of Top Ten Books, which is based on the number of books printed and sold in the last 50 yrs.
These lists are always problematic – my first problem was having The DaVinci Code and Twilight even appearing on a list of the ten best anything. But these are the most bought books, assumed to be the most read, not the finest efforts of literary expression.
Others felt the same but had other books they would have liked to see there, or were amazed had not been better represented by sales.
Here are some of the points raised by readers of this list:
How many people started reading LOTR and never finished? Or any of the other titles, for that matter.
The Bible shouldn’t count. Churches bulk-buy for hotel rooms, pews, religious schools etc.
Why isn’t there a showing for other religious scriptures, the Quran or Bagavad Gita, for example?
Who reads books of quotes? Aren’t they available on Google?
Da Vinci Code before Anne Frank – Preposterous!
Just because it wasn’t multiple purchased, doesn’t mean it wasn’t widely read – Hello, libraries!
Was Mao’s wisdom ‘compulsory’ reading for the most populous nation on the earth? That should be a foul.
Anne Frank fouled out, too. Wasn’t she compulsory school reading for generations?
Harry Potter over Roald Dahl’s works is just embarrassing! Oh well, that’s life.
I’m pretty Sure Shakespeare and Dr. Seuss are more widely read than Twilight or Harry Potter. “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” -Dr. Seuss
A few surprises in this top-10 list, but I guess it’s not surprising how many of them also have successful movies.
I think that last point is huge! It is part of our modern culture to mix the two, now, and I think books like Twilight are produced and marketed with the plan of multimedia coverage set before the ink is dry on the pages. But the people who bought these books are ‘them’, the same ‘them’ that buy all the books. They are us, the readers of the world.
What about you? What surprises you about the list? What titles should be there? What shouldn’t? What points do you think are raised by the list?
Are top ten lists pointless? If so, why are they so very popular? Is the answer the same for books?
Read more of the comments at the original posting of this list from James Chapman at 10 Most Read Books In The World. Also there, the actual sales figures.
All content released under a Creative Commons license unless otherwise noted.