Today's Question: What's the most popular book in your library? Have you read it? What did you think? How many users have it? What's the most popular book you don't have? How does a book's popularity figure into your decisions about what to read?
Well, the most popular books we do own are the Harry Potter series (which we have complete, with multiple copies of almost all of them, and copies in French of at least 4 of them; at one point we had a copy of Half-Blood Prince in Hebrew, but we lent it out and didn't get it back). Harry aside, the next most popular that we have is The Hobbit, of which again we have multiple copies, including an old paperback and a hardback commemorative edition with a protective box, runes all around it, and so on. Going on down the list, we have all the ones that are classics: Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, LOTR of course (only one copy, though, go figure). To Kill a Mockingbird. I'm actually not sure we have Catcher in the Rye; it was never one of my favorites at all.
What we don't have are the modern popular fiction: The Da Vinci Code, The Kite Runner. While the more literary and evocative ones like the latter might be excellent literature, they just don't appeal to me. They're too adult for the kids, and Jeffrey doesn't read books (he just doesn't have time) for the most part, so they're not taking up space on our shelves. I've occasionally read popular fiction (A Suitable Boy and Barbara Kingsolver spring to mind for some reason), but only rarely, and even less often to I find it meaningful to me.
What strikes me most of the list is that there aren't any books on it which we don't own that I want to run out and get. A book's popularity rarely makes a difference to me. In fact I think I take something of a perverse pleasure in not reading what everyone else chooses. Aside from classics, if a book is on a best-seller list, I probably won't be interested in it. Not because I'm trying to make a statement, but just because somehow over the years I've discovered I just won't enjoy most of those works.
Now excuse me, after all this high-mindedness, I have to go hide all my trashy, silly, cozy mystery novels.