Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Top 10!

We’ve been running a survey where we asked our customers to name their 5 favourite books of all time (in no particular order). We had thousands of replies and we’re really grateful to all of you who took the time to vote. From all your choices we can now reveal the Top 50 most popular books.

First of all a recap on numbers 50-11

11 One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
12 Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
13 Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
14 Catcher in the Rye by J D Salinger
15 Master & Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
16 Northern Lights by Philip Pullman
17 1984 by George Orwell
18 Road by Cormac McCarthy
19 Middlemarch by George Eliot
20 Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
21 Persuasion by Jane Austen
22 Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
23 Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
24 Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
25 Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
26 Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter
27 Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
28 Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
29 Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
30 Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis De Bernieres
31 Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
32 Book Thief by Markus Zusak
33 Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
34 Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin
35 Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
36 Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
37 Color Purple by Alice Walker
38 Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
39 Bone People by Keri Hulme
40 Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night by Mark Haddon
41 Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
42 Life of Pi by Yan Martel
43 Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
44 We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
45 Shipping News by Annie L Proulx
46 Of Mice & Men by John Steinbeck
47 Tess of the D'Urbevilles by Thomas Hardy
48 Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
49 Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
50 Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh


Now here's the Top 10

10 Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
9 Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
8 God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
7 Secret History by Donna Tartt
6 Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffeneger
5 To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
4 Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
3 Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
2 Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
1 Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkien


There are 29 men and 21 women in the list, and every book on the list is a work of fiction. There have been a number of similar polls in the last ten years in the UK, most notably The BBCs Big Read and Waterstone’s Books of the Century. Lord of the Rings topped both of these surveys too, so it’s clearly a book that the public love.

Where's Harry Potter? Well it was a bit of a surprise to us too. Even if you add all the votes together for each of the HP books, they don't manage to squeeze into the top 50.
Obviously 2 years is a long time in the world of books. Stephenie Meyer is the latest sensation and unsurprisingly made the top 10. It was a similar scenario ten years ago, when Waterstones did their Books of the Century poll. Trainspotting had just hit the cinemas and the book was the must have title at the time. I think it made it into the Top 10 in that poll, and (although it's a good book) I suspect it wouldn't score quite so highly now. It didn't bother our chart anyway.

We really enjoyed putting this together and hope you find it as thought provoking as we do.

Now, what are we going to do next....

12 comments:

Sputnik said...

Fascinating chart - as there are a bunch of titles I like, I'm assuming that the ones I haven't read are worth a butcher's too. Now, where can I get hold of them...?

Dickon Edwards said...

What are you going to do next? Well, might I suggest you look at your Top 10 and notice that The God Of Small Things was written by Arundhati Roy, not Rohinton Mistry.

DJ Kirkby said...

Tsk. None of my faves made it :( And, yes, what are you going to do next? Something Christmas themed I hope.

Nereus said...

Hmm... something odd about number 1 - but who cares about spelling any more? And no. 21 looks v odd to me. Right book, wrong author, or wrong book, right author? The latter, I'd guess?

talesNtypos said...

What? The Prophet: Kahlil Gibran
Tully: Paulina Simmons
The Bluest Eye: Toni Morrison
Non Ti Muovere: Margaret Mazzantini. Not a single one made the list?
Shocking!

Simon Key said...

I've corrected my sorry mistakes. Thanks for pointing them out to me. Blame it on the boogie, and the lack of sleep. This typing business is sometimes not easy.

Jude said...

Oh dear Simon, I'm going to whisper this very quietly, in your recap list (50 -100) you've managed to have JM Barrie writing Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass at no 31... I think you ought to keep an eye on what Freya's typing... :-)

Anna Purna Mayalu said...

Great list, though I'm more impressed with 11-50 than with 1-10 (God of Small Things excepted). And as for Lord of the Rings being number 1, it wouldn't even make my top 50. I'm a bit surprised by Jane Eyre at number 2..... surely not the most thrilling of books, though well-read. I can't imagine anyone considering it a favourite, however good it is.

facetsquared said...

I have to say that there is a suspiciously high number of "worthy" books on there that some folk like to cite simply to appear high-brow. I don't believe for a second that so many readers actually enjoyed Midnight's Children. That aside, great fun compiling such a list anyway. Always provokes contention which is got to be good!

Lucy Diamond said...

Twilight at number 9? TWILIGHT?? Is this another mistake?!

Anonymous said...

Surprised that my number 1 choice came out as the most popular. Does this mean that people remember with affection what they read in teens or early 20s?

farmlanebooks said...

It looks as though your customers have great taste! That is a fantastic list of books and I don't think much would change if you conducted it again in 10 years time - a list of timeless classics.