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:
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 Potter, A Wrinkle in Time, Ender’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: