Tennessee, we need to talk about your reading habits. Online library Scribd teamed up with Parade magazine to reveal the most popular book of every state, and the results are hilarious, depressing, weird, random, depressing, and — what's a good synonym for depressing? — oh yeah, funereal. Not that I was expecting Rhode Island to be all about Ulysses, but let's just say there are way too many vampires on the list and not enough good role models or decent dialogue. A poignant example: Colorado's favorite was a tome called White Witch Black Curse, of which one Amazon reviewer moaned, "Bringing in the banshees was interesting but then the introduction of the ghost character threw me, where was this story going?"
Out of 300,000+ titles, Scribd calculated how many times each book was read by readers registered in the state. And that's how they found out Tennessee's dark secret. Here are some of the weirdest results (you can read the full list here).
Tennessee: I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell by Tucker Max
No, no, no, no! There are not enough GIFs of people screaming to convey how terrible this is. Not only is Tucker Max as "thoroughly reprehensible" as his book, but this gross memoir thing was published in 2006. I thought we'd moved on as a society. Sorry for being a dreamer.
Alaska: Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book
Apparently all 735,132 citizens of Alaska are convinced they can make ice cream out of snow.
Delaware: The Summer of Skinny Dipping by Amanda Howells
"While spending summer vacation with her family at her cousins’ fancy beach house in the Hamptons, Mia, 16, wants to join the popular crowd." Poor Delaware. It just wants fancy beaches.
California: Just Kids by Patti Smith
We get it, California, you're a little cooler than the rest of us.
New York: The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption and Pee by Sarah Silverman
I thought NYC humor was famously dry? *ba-dum-CHING*
Pennsylvania: Stuck in Downward Dog by Chantel Guertin
This is a book about yoga and cosmetic surgery. Apparently Pennsylvania has been dumped and is struggling to find an emotional foothold.
West Virginia: A Series of Unfortunate Events #1 by Lemony Snicket
Only 12 more to go, West Virginia. YOU GOT THIS.
Illinois: American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Gaiman was the only repeat author on the list — Wisconsin loves his book Neverwhere — and the Midwest seems to like the British author more than most. Maybe it's because the cover of this book shows lightning hitting the highest point in an open field, which is every Midwesterner's favorite image. (While we're on the subject, how great are tornado warnings?)
Missouri: The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
Missouri has apparently been overrun by preteen girls. Send help before they organize and secede!
Kentucky: Devoured By Darkness by Alexandra Ivy
"Tane is devastatingly strong, breathtakingly sensual. And Laylah will have to trust in every ounce of that strength, because her enemies are drawing near, eager to destroy them both…" Oh, by the way, Tane is a vampire hunter and Laylah is half demon. WILL THEIR LOVE SURVIVE? TELL US, KENTUCKY. YOU'RE THE ONLY ONE WHO HAS THE ANSWER!
It may be worthwhile to note that this is by no means a conclusive survey of states' actual favorite books, just the favorite books of people who use Scribd. Perhaps that explains why there aren't more bestsellers on the list, like The Hunger Games or Harry Potter or my own self-published novel. *desperately links to it; no one notices* And despite evidence to the contrary, I'm happy that people in all 50 states are reading something, anything. Except you, Tennessee. I'm watching.