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Article

Here are our 100 favorite books, according to Facebook

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You’ve probably seen the viral status by now. Last month Facebook users began posting lists of the 10 books they found most influential on their lives. The prompt’s subjective nature, which didn’t call for definitive lists of the “greatest” books, helped it take off. As Facebook writes on its blog, “Favorite books are something friends like to share and discuss. A Facebook meme facilitates this very interaction.”

Seizing the moment, the social network analyzed all the book statuses—by their count, over 130,000—to arrive at the most commonly cited ones. According to Facebook, Americans posted 63.7 percent of the statuses, with women outnumbering men three to one and the average age of respondents hovering around 37. The results of Facebook’s analysis hardly represent the social network’s demographics, or those of our society, but still provide an interesting glimpse into the books we value.

Here are the top 25, along with the percentage of statuses that mentioned them:

  1. The Harry Potter series—J.K. Rowling (21.08%)
  2. To Kill a Mockingbird—Harper Lee (14.48%)
  3. The Lord of the Rings—JRR Tolkien (13.86%)
  4. The Hobbit—JRR Tolkien (7.48%)
  5. Pride and Prejudice—Jane Austen (7.28%)
  6. The Holy Bible (7.21%)
  7. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy—Douglas Adams (5.97%)
  8. The Hunger Games trilogy—Suzanne Collins (5.82%)
  9. The Catcher in the Rye—J.D. Salinger (5.70%)
  10. The Chronicles of Narnia—C.S. Lewis (5.63%)
  11. The Great Gatsby—F. Scott Fitzgerald (5.61%)
  12. 1984—George Orwell (5.37%)
  13. Little Women—Louisa May Alcott (5.26%)
  14. Jane Eyre—Charlotte Bronte (5.23%)
  15. The Stand—Stephen King (5.11%)
  16. Gone with the Wind—Margaret Mitchell (4.95%)
  17. A Wrinkle in Time—Madeleine L’Engle (4.38%)
  18. The Handmaid’s Tale—Margaret Atwood (4.27%)
  19. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe—C.S. Lewis (4.05%)
  20. The Alchemist—Paulo Coelho (4.01%)
  21. Anne of Green Gables—L.M. Montgomery (3.95%)
  22. The Giver—Lois Lowry (3.53%)
  23. The Kite Runner—Khaled Hosseini (3.67%)
  24. Ender’s Game—Orson Scott Card (3.53%)
  25. The Poisonwood Bible—Barbara Kingsolver (3.39%)

Facebook’s list provides some valuable insights. For one, we love the books we grew up with. Whether they’re English class staples (To Kill a Mockingbird, 1984), childhood classics (Harry PotterA Wrinkle in TimeEnder’s Game), or traditional books like The Bible, most of the books in the list’s top tier are ones many of us read as kids or adolescents.

Our most beloved books also have an intimate relationship with cinema. Fourteen of the top 25 have been adapted for the silver screen in the last 15 years, a number that grows when you include classic film adaptations like To Kill a Mockingbird and Gone With the Wind. This could be a chicken or the egg type of scenario: Do movie producers zero in on our favorite books when pitching films, or do we draw reading inspiration from what’s showing at the theaters? It’s hard to tell—but the list reveals that these are stories that deeply resonate with many people.

The rest of the list is a similarly scattershot collection of literary tomes, youthful touchstones, and modern hits. Nerds will appreciate the inclusions of Good Omens (#47), American Gods (#50), and Watchmen (#87), and people of all ages will approve of The Giving Tree (#41), Charlotte’s Web (#81), and Where the Wild Things Are (#100). The only people who might dislike the results are non-fiction junkies; the genre is frustratingly underrepresented on the list, and even true stories like Night (#62) are works of memoir, not history or science.

Check out the rest of the list below:

  1. Lord of the Flies—William Golding (3.38%)
  2. The Eye of the World—Robert Jordan (3.38%)
  3. The Book Thief—Markus Zusak (3.32%)
  4. Wuthering Heights—Emily Bronte (3.26%)
  5. Hamlet—William Shakespeare (3.22%)
  6. The Little Prince—Antoine de Saint-Exupery (3.21%)
  7. Sherlock Holmes—Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (3.15%)
  8. Fahrenheit 451—Ray Bradbury (3.15%)
  9. Animal Farm—George Orwell (3.12%)
  10. The Book of Mormon (3.08%)
  11. The Diary of Anne Frank—Anne Frank (3.05%)
  12. Dune—Frank Herbert (3.02%)
  13. One Hundred Years of Solitude—Gabriel Garcia Marquez (2.98%)
  14. The Autobiography of Malcolm X (2.83%)
  15. Of Mice and Men—John Steinbeck (2.78%)
  16. The Giving Tree—Shel Silverstein (2.72%)
  17. The Fault in Our Stars—John Green (2.68%)
  18. On the Road—Jack Kerouac (2.68%)
  19. Lamb—Christopher Moore (2.58%)
  20. Slaughterhouse-Five—Kurt Vonnegut (2.54%)
  21. A Prayer for Owen Meany—John Irving (2.53%)
  22. Good Omens—Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (2.52%)
  23. The Help—Kathryn Stockett (2.45%)
  24. The Outsiders—S.E. Hinton (2.44%)
  25. American Gods—Neil Gaiman (2.42%)
  26. Where the Red Fern Grows—Wilson Rawls (2.41%)
  27. Stranger in a Strange Land—Robert Heinlein (2.39%)
  28. The Secret Garden—Frances Hodgson Burnett (2.38%)
  29. Little House on the Prairie—Laura Ingalls Wilder (2.35%)
  30. The Count of Monte Cristo—Alexandre Dumas (2.31%)
  31. The Pillars of the Earth—Ken Follett (2.31%)
  32. The Da Vinci Code—Dan Brown (2.29%)
  33. Brave New World—Aldous Huxley (2.24%)
  34. A Tale of Two Cities—Charles Dickens (2.21%)
  35. Les Miserables—Victor Hugo (2.21%)
  36. Great Expectations—Charles Dickens (2.16%)
  37. Night—Elie Wiesel (2.12%)
  38. The Dark Tower series—Stephen King (2.12%)
  39. Outlander—Diana Gabaldon (2.07%)
  40. The Color Purple—Alice Walker (1.92%)
  41. A Thousand Splendid Suns—Khaled Hosseini (1.89%)
  42. The Art of War—Sun Tzu (1.88%)
  43. Catch-22—Joseph Heller (1.85%)
  44. The Bell Jar—Sylvia Plath (1.85%)
  45. The Perks of Being a Wallflower—Stephen Chbosky (1.83%)
  46. The Old Man and the Sea—Ernest Hemingway (1.78%)
  47. Memoirs of a Geisha—Arthur Golden (1.76%)
  48. Tuesdays with Morrie—Mitch Albom (1.75%)
  49. The Road—Cormac McCarthy (1.73%)
  50. Watership Down—Richard Adams (1.72%)
  51. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn—Betty Smith (1.72%)
  52. Where the Sidewalk Ends—Shel Silverstein (1.68%)
  53. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo—Stieg Larsson (1.65%)
  54. A Song of Ice and Fire—George R. R. Martin (1.65%)
  55. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret—Judy Blume (1.65%)
  56. Charlotte’s Web—E.B. White (1.64%)
  57. The Time Traveler’s Wife—Audrey Niffenegger (1.63%)
  58. Anna Karenina—Leo Tolstoy (1.62%)
  59. Crime and Punishment—Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1.62%)
  60. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn—Mark Twain (1.61%)
  61. The Shack—William P. Young (1.58%)
  62. Watchmen—Alan Moore (1.56%)
  63. Interview with the Vampire—Anne Rice (1.55%)
  64. The Odyssey—Homer (1.54%)
  65. The House of the Spirits—Isabel Allende (1.54%)
  66. The Stranger—Albert Camus (1.63%)
  67. The Call of the Wild—Jack London (1.63%)
  68. The Five People You Meet in Heaven—Mitch Albom (1.63%)
  69. Siddhartha—Herman Hesse (1.63%)
  70. East of Eden—John Steinbeck (1.50%)
  71. Matilda—Roald Dahl (1.50%)
  72. The Picture of Dorian Gray—Oscar Wilde (1.49%)
  73. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance—Robert Pirsig (1.47%)
  74. Love in the Time of Cholera—Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1.45%)
  75. Where the Wild Things Are—Maurice Sendak (1.45%)