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!