Thursday, March 8, 2007

World Book Day 2007

Thanks to a post over at ipanema's blog I discovered that last Thursday was the tenth anniversary of World Book Day in the UK. Her post was excellent and you should pop over to read the details.

What I want to talk about here, briefly, is the survey to mark the tenth anniversary in which 2044 people filled out the online survey, naming the ten books that they could not live without. Now according to my calculations that could be a list of 20,440 possible books to be ranked. Obviously not 20,440, since many people would have the same books in their lists and it turns out that the number of books chosen was 10,000.

Now we are talking books you can't live without. Books you would save if your house was on fire, books you might take with you to a desert island. Books you treasure, books that you would want to read again and again. In addition, we're not talking about a telephone survey where you might be caught on the spot. No, you had time to think about it and sit down and enter your 10 all time favourite "can't live without" books.

The top ten list shown below and taken, with thanks, from ipanema's site, is not too unexpected, except for one glaring exception. Well, to my mind, it's glaring. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman, of which I've never heard. Researching it, I found it to be a fantasy trilogy. Well maybe they are books you can read over and over. I wonder and here it is in the top ten of 10,000 possible books and featuring in the top ten list for both women and men.

Top 10 books the nation can’t live without: 1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen 20% 2. Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien 17% 3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Brontë 14% 4. Harry Potter books - JK Rowling 12% 5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee 9.5% 6. The Bible 9% 7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Brontë 8.5% 8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell 6% =[8th equal position].His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman 6% 10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens 5.5%

The survey also lists the top 100 books which I won't reproduce here but to make the top 100 is no mean achievement and obviously multiple people chose these books in their top 10.

So a large number of people were unable to live without, in the 42nd spot, The Da Vinci Code which everyone in the whole world must have bought by now. Certainly I enjoyed this well enough, but once was enough. I think I even gave the book away, which normally I never do . In fact it would not even make my top 100, let alone 10. At spot number 63 is The Secret History by Donna Tartt, a perfectly dreadful murder mystery. No, not on my top 10 or 100 or 1000. Well you get my drift.

I could go on but why don't you go on over there yourself and look at the results of the survey.

Now what I would pick for my top ten?
Number 1: Niccolo Rising, by Dorothy Dunnett
Number 2: ...................

I'll have to think on this some more, after all I only get ten!

17 comments:

Sarabeth said...

Jane Austen would top my list, but I would be hard pressed to choose just one.

jmb said...

Hi Sarabeth,

I had no trouble with no 1, but when it got to number two I realized I couldn't pick between Pride and Prejudice and Emma, so ......
I will think some more about this though.
Regards
jmb

Ellee said...

I love the French classics, as well as Austen et al. Do you think blogs will ever take over from books? If I wasn't blogging now, the chances are I would be curled up reading a novel!

ipanema said...

Thanks for the mention, jmb. Nice blog! :)

Smalltown RN said...

WEll I am obviously not an avid reader...I enjoy reading but I didnt start to take it up until I was in my early thirties...my sister introduced me to some wonderful books...like the Poision Wood Bible, Hanna's Daughters, Bean Tree. Then there are all the wonderful mystery books I like...Cromwell, Riche, Rankin,Kellerman,so many....classics PD James...but could I live without them...yup...I think the book that would be most important to me would be a family book...outlining family history..or my bird books...

Crunchy Carpets said...

The Philip Pullman books are really good.
And gag at the Harry Potter.

Mine....The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy - Douglas Adams, The Lions of Al Rassan - Guy Gavriel Kay, Raising the Stones - Sherry S. Tepper, Behind the Scenes at the Museum - Kate Atkinson, The Dune books - Frank Herbert, .....Hmmm gotta think some more.

jmb said...

Hi Ellee,
Welcome to my blog. No I don't think blogs will ever take over from books. But maybe some people are reading blogs who normally wouldn't read so that's a good thing, to my mind.
So far though, this blogging thing is eating into my reading time but I'm hoping that I will become more efficient at it. Heaven's I'm retired for goodness sake!
Regards
jmb

jmb said...

Hi ipanema,
I first came to your site since I saw , via mybloglog, you were often on the same sites that I frequented. I'm a medblog reader on the whole.
I like you site and I especially liked your World Book Day post.
Regards
jmb

jmb said...

Hi smalltown rn,
You certainly started with some good books. Barbara Kingsolver and who wrote Hanna's daughters, I think it was someone called Fredriksen or similar. We read that one for my bookclub.
I also love mysteries, read a lot of them, plus I like legal thrillers too. Anyway you're still working and have less time than I.
By the way, you have some great photos on your site.
Regards
jmb

jmb said...

Oh crunchy,
You are a SF fan. Not really my bag. But I'll tell my husband about Bill Pullman, he's a big fantasy fan and reads them over and over. Maybe he already has read them.
Regards
jmb

jmb said...

Philip Pullman, I mean. And my husband has just put the first one on hold at the library. It better be good!
jmb

Cathy said...

My Favorite book of all time is "The Hiding Place" by Corrie Ten Boom...This book I could read over and over, and I have.

My second favorite is E.B. White's..."Charlotte's Web"...What a great book...:)

jmb said...

Hi Cathy,
I don't know The Hiding Place. I'll check it out.
Charlotte's Web is having a resurgence with the new movie, but I remember taking my two plus two neighbour kids to see it. When the pig was crying because Charlotte was dying everyone was laughing at the pig crying, except for us. We had tears pouring down our cheeks.
When I heard there was a new movie version I thought about that.
Regards
jmb

mhr said...

Books I could not live without.... what a difficult question!

I would say, the ones I haven't read yet :)

jmb said...

You see mhr, how I came to a stop very suddenly. I would have to think very seriously about this and probably keep changing my mind.
Regards
jmb

Karen V said...

Pride and Prejudice would top my list as well. I'm glad others agree. It reconfirms the sheer genius of Jane Austen.

jmb said...

Hi Karen,
My first pick is fixed in stone and not Pride and Prejudice but for my second I couldn't make up my mind between P&P and Emma so I wimped out and left it blank.
Regards
jmb