Search This Blog

Thursday, May 26, 2011

You Are What You Read...

Actually, I find that a pretty scary proposition. 

But Scholastic's You Are What You Read site lists the following as

The 10 most influential books picked by adults on
(Click through each title to see how many times the book appears in Bookprints and the users who picked the book.)
1.       To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
2.       The Holy Bible
3.       The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
4.       Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
5.       The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
6.       The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
7.       Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
8.       The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
9.       The Giver by Lois Lowry
10.   Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

The 10 most influential books picked by kids on
(Click through each title to see how many times the book appears in Bookprints and the users who picked the book.)
2.       Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
3.       Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
4.       Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
5.       Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
7.       Heroes of Olympus: The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
8.       Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days by Jeff Kinney
9.       The 39 Clues: The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan
10.   Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

I find the adult list quite reasonable, and have read all of them (well, not the Bible from start to finish) and while it might not be my personal list, still a good practical list.  I am, however, surprised by the kid list. I tried The Lightening Thief by Riordan and abandoned it--and Riordan takes 5 out of the top 10!

What do you think?  


  1. I like "you are what you read" better than "you are what you eat"

    I've read some from the list though I don't read children's books. But I think I could come up with my own list to make myself proud of what I read

  2. The kid list will look completely different in 5 years. that's what I think.

  3. bookmagic - I think of the books that I read as a child, the books my kids read, and the books my grandkids are reading. I hope Dr. Seuss never goes out of style, and I enjoyed the Harry Potter books. Notice that Shel Silverstein is on the adult list; that makes me smile.

    bybee - You are exactly right. Kids have fewer books under their belts to choose from...and whatever encourages reading is good!

  4. The kids list seems to be more about books that are popular right now, which makes some sense as kids haven't generally lived long enough to decide what is or is not 'influential', at least over the long haul. From the adult list I personally think the LOTR books have been much more influential than the HP books given their years of being influential, but that is just me.

  5. Carl - It would be interesting to see what the same kids would choose in, say, two years. And again, in two more.

    You are right about the LOTR books. And they remain fresh on each reading for me, which is something you can't say about HP.

  6. Yes it would be. I certainly am not belittling the influence Rowling has had, because lit a spark in many children to read and created a phenomenon where kids and adults read and discussed the same books together, but I guess I feel like adults should have a bit better perspective when answering a question like that and not be picking such a recent craze for 'most influential' books. I expect that of the kids.

  7. Carl - Although the HP books have a lot of pages, they are not "dense" books. LOTR books are both long and dense...they require a commitment that many are not willing to give. The rewards are more than worth it, but so many people are put off by the length.

    I haven't re-read them is a long time, but the images of certain scenes are as clear as the first time I read them.

    One year I taught the first book, and the kids (seniors) were furious when they discovered that it was "continued"! :) They were left hanging or forced to continue.

  8. I agree and know what you are talking about. Plus, to be honest, Fellowship is hard to get into (at least that was my experience and a common complaint I hear). Still, the books are read the world over even now and enough people are aware of their influence over the film industry, etc., the way they forever changed fantasy literature, influencing tons of other writers even today, etc. I guess the bottom line with seeing a list like this isn't that LOTR isn't on it, after all it is only 10 books, but that Harry Potter and Hunger Games is on it. These are in no way "influential" books in comparison with the others on the list and I guess I am being unreasonable in expecting adults to know better. This wasn't a list of "favorite" books, it was supposed to be "most influential".

    Sorry, I'm sure I sound like a frustrated crank and honestly I'm not really feeling any strong emotion about this at all, but in actually discussing it in comments I am finding it to be a ridiculous list in some respects.