Tuesday Thingers ~ All About PopularityJune 17, 2008 at 11:41 am | Posted in Books, LibraryThing | 9 Comments
Tags: most popular book, Tuesday Thingers
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?
The Most popular book that I own is Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. This is also the most popular book on LibraryThing as it is owned by 32,529 members. I haven’t read that book even though I own the entire series. I have many people at work who are encouraging me (in some cases badgering me) to read the series, and for whatever reason, I’m just can’t work up the motivation to get started. I typically don’t read fantasy, but I think I’m more hesitant because it’s just so darn popular. At this point, who would really care if I said that I’ve finally started the series? I’m quite probably the last person on earth who hasn’t. Do I really want to read these books just to say that I have? Do I want to wait and read them with my daughters (5 and 3) when they get old enough?
The most popular book that I don’t own is The Da Vinci Code (23,291 LibraryThing owners). I tried to read this at one point because my sister loved it and asked me to, but I couldn’t get past the evil monk flogging himself. There was something about it that just felt off to me and I stopped reading it. The Jesus and Mary Magdalen controversy doesn’t do anything for me. Martin Scorsese’s “The Last Temptation of Christ” explored this in a really meaningful way. If I did want to read about that, I’d pick up The Last Temptation by Nikos Kazantzakis off of my bookshelf and read that. I have absolutely no desire to revisit The Da Vinci Code.
In general, I don’t think that a book’s popularity affects me other than the hype surrounding it. If there is a really hot historical fiction book, I’ll pick it up and read it in a heart-beat. Even if I don’t end up liking it, I’m almost always glad I read it because I enjoy the discussions around it. The Da Vinci Code and Eat, Pray, Love are examples of books that were/are really popular that turn me off. In both cases, I didn’t finish the book and wished that I had followed my instincts and never picked them up in the first case. In those cases, if they weren’t popular I wouldn’t have been given copies of the books in the first place.
How about you? What’s your history with popular books?