Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Books Everyone Should Read?
I posted this on my Facebook page yesterday and it had quite a bit of interest. It's a consensus cloud of 'books everyone should read' made by merging top lists from eleven sources; UK's most borrowed library books, Desert Island Discs book choices, Pulitzer Prize winners, Books Everyone Should Read AskMe metafilter, World Book Day Poll, Telegraph 100 Novels Everyone Should Read, Goodreads.com, Bspcn.com, Guardian 100 novels Everyone Must Read, Man Booker Prize and Oprah's Book Club List.
It was designed by David McCandless, Miriam Quick and Matt Hancock of informationisbeautiful.net.
As it merges UK and US source lists I wondered if there would be any surprise entries.
Most borrowed library books by nature attract a certain type of author, those who straight in on the bestseller list when they publish a new book including authors such as James Patterson, Lee Child and Harlen Coben and can be seen here: http://www.plr.uk.com/mediaCentre/mostBorrowedTitles/top100Titles/2011-2012/uk.pdf.
Desert Island Discs, now running for seventy years, can bring out some unusual (and sometimes dull) book choices, basing choice on something you could read over and over again or else tackle the novel which has always evaded you. As a result of this strange circumstance, the top three choices are a dictionary, a poetry anthology and an encyclopedia. Non-fiction aside the top three fiction choices are Marcel Proust's seven volume A la recherche du temps perdu, Tolstoy's War and Peace and Edward Gibbon's six volume Decline and Fall. Anne Baddley's excellent article can be found here http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/books/2011/09/desert-island-books/. The Pulitzer Prize winner list can bring some less familiar US authors names to the list (http://www.pulitzer.org/bycat/Fiction) as can the Oprah Book Club list, but classics are chosen as well as contemporary novels (http://www.oprah.com/book-list/Oprahs-Book-Club-The-Complete-List). World Book Day is aimed at children and so brings these books into the mix.
So, what surprise entries are there?
-Lonesome Dove is a western novel by Larry McMurtry, the author of Terms of Endearment and was the 1985 Pulitzer Prize winner. It was made into a US TV mini-series.
-The Fountainhead is a 1943 novel by Ayn Rand. A bestseller, it has sold 6.5 million copies and was made into a film starring Gary Cooper and directed by King Vidor.
-The Leopard , a history of Sicilian life by Guiseppe Tomasi di Lamedusa was published posthumously in 1958 and became the top selling novel in Italian history. It was made into a film in 1963 starring Burt Reynolds.
-Stranger in a Strange Land is a 1961 Martian sci-fi novel by Robert A.Heinlein, a cult classic that was named by the US Library of Congress as 'one of the books that shaped America'.
-Herman Hesse's Glass Bead Game, awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1946, rejected for publication in Germany due to Hesse's anti-Fascist views.
-Atlas Shrugged also by Ayn Rand, published in1957. Each year the Ayn Rand institute donates 400,000 copies of her books to US high school students.
-Ender's Game, a 1985 sci-fi novel by Orson Scott Card, a film of which is to be released this year.
-Pearl S. Buck's The Good Earth, awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1932 and the Nobel Prize in 1938 and is about Chinese village life before World War II and returned to the bestseller list when chosen for Oprah's Book Club.