Dear America: Cheers to all of the classics reading you've been doing — or at least all the lying you've been doing to pollsters. According to a new study on the U.S.'s most-loved titles, released on Tuesday by Harris Interactive, The Bible remains America's favorite book. That's not what's interesting about the poll, though. (If you find that surprising, the world outside the walls of the food co-op is calling... ) It's what's fallen out of the list of top 10 favorite books since 2008, the last time Harris Interactive conducted the survey, that's caught my eye.
In their online survey of 2,234 adults, researchers found that Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons, Stephen King's The Stand, and Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged — all titles that appeared on the 2008 favorite list — weren't in the 2014 top 10. Instead, the four new titles that bubbled up: Moby Dick by Herman Melville, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I'll admit that I'm okay with that four-for-four swap.
Some other points worth noting: Gone With the Wind holds steady at No. 2 in 2014, just like it did in 2008 — I wonder if everyone will be on board to read Mammy's prequel in October? — and the Harry Potter series ekes up a spot to No. 3 from No. 4 in 2008 because... insert all reasons here.
Chloe Schama at The New Republic makes the important point that "it’s always a bit presumptuous to outline any kind of cultural DNA from a list," which is true — after all, it does look better to say your favorite book of all time is The Great Gatsby, and not The Da Vinci Code. (And being performative in an online survey is super-important, because priorities.) So, who knows whether we've gotten more erudite, or we should chuck these results out the window as we watch four people in our respective subway cars simultaneously read copies of Atlas Shrugged.
With all that in mind, take what you will from the full top 10 favorite books of 2014, listed below:
- The Bible
- Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
- Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling
- The Lord of the Rings (series) by J.R.R. Tolkien
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- Moby Dick by Herman Melville
- The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
- The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
You can find 2008's favorite book titles, and 2014's breakdowns by race, age, and region at the Harris Interactive site.