Update: As this post is published, the National Endowment for the Arts releases the results of a national reading survey. Click on the post “To Read Or Not To Read” on December 29, 2007 to find out more.
A recent poll in the UK revealed that 77% of 2034 people surveyed reread books. Further, a fifth of them re-read their favorite book more than five times.
According to this survey conducted by Costa, here’s the list of the most reread books in the UK:
1. The Harry Potter series, JK Rowling
2. The Lord of the Rings Series, JRR Tolkien
3. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
4. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
5. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
6. 1984, George Orwell
7. The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown
8. The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis
9. Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
10. Catch 22, Joseph Heller
Interestingly, there’s yet another survey polling UK readers’ choice of ‘books they can’t live without’. And here’s the list:
1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë
8 Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
Who says the classics are no longer relevant in today’s day and age?
Out of curiosity, I wanted to find out whether similar research had been done in North America. I found nothing for either the US or Canada. I wonder if that is indicative of something.
However, I did manage to locate one book-related poll for the US. According to an Associated Press-Ipsos study conducted in August 2007, one in four adults in the US, or 27% of those surveyed, read no books at all in the past year.
Again, I wonder if that is indicative of something…umm… just another poll.
10 thoughts on “Reading and Rereading”
Here’s a quick thought. A lot of people who do a lot of reading don’t necessarily read books. I read and write for a living so when I’m not working I need a break. More and more of what I read is online. If I’m going to do a novel, I’m going to get it on tape. I probably listen to 50 books a year.
I have found that there are a number of books that are much better listened to than read. My example would be the book Ireland which is about a storyteller you walks around Ireland telling the oral history of Ireland. When the reader tells these stories it’s actually like being there.
So many of my re-reads are on the UK list, and this pleases me in some ethereal way. The Brontes, Orwell, the Bible. Literacy appears to be alive and well across the Pond.
While I dare not define my entire country, I will say that more often than not my fellow American’s seem to read less and less over the years. That of course is excepting the cult of Oprah.
It’s amazing how “essential ” books get made into movies these days….and there IS a poll of books that people can’t live without… I couldn’t stop but wonder if people have lost interest in reading (anything at all). And for that I mean people who read for the fun of reading…not because they have to, or because everyone else is reading it…?!
Can’t speak for everyone, but the Bible is the one that I cannot live without.
Your Blog is becoming one site that I can’t start my day without checking. Maybe you should do a survery on the 10 Most Favourite Blogs in your country. Thanks for your hard work, keep us posted.
Thanks for all your responses. Yes, I sure like to see what the N. American results would be if such polls were conducted here. I’m also curious about the most re-watched movies too…maybe in my future posts.
I have never read the Tolkien series but I’ve seen all the movies. Same for the Potter stories. I might do just that.
And I agree, i would probably read The Pride and Prejudice again…and again….
I certainly agree about Pride and Prejudice — I’ve read that multiple times and surely will again. I like that Philip Pullman is on the second list — he’s one of my favorites.
Leah, Dorothy W:
Pride and Prejudice sure has its power, mesmerizing both young and old…It’s also one of the books that I’ve re-read the most. As a ‘Janeite’, I’m excited to see that Jane Austen still has her appeal even in the 21st Century. Although this is not strictly a JA site, I’ve devoted quite a few posts on her. Thanks for stopping by.