Influential Books List Betrays the Fact that Most Adults Don't Read

Over the last couple of weeks, Facebook has been a-tizzy with folks eager to share their list of books they found most influential in their lives. Now, the 130,000 responses have been analyzed and it turns out that books that made the list were overwhelmingly written for children.

Harry Potter dominated the list, with over 21% of respondents including JK Rowling’s series in their lists. Immediately following that was To Kill a Mockingbird, appearing on 14.48% of lists, then Lord of the Rings (13.86%), and The Hobbit (7.48%). Other children and young adult books in the top 20 include The Hunger Games, The Chronicles of Narnia, Little Women, A Wrinkle in Time, and The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.

Over at Mother Jones, Ben Dreyfuss generously speculates that of course children’s books will be remembered as more influential, as they were most likely first read as a child, when our brains are more malleable. He also notes that kids have reading time set aside for them every day, so of course they read more than adults. Fair.

But also: American adults don’t read much at all, and the ones that don’t read, don’t read hard. According to a Pew poll, 23% of American adults did not read a single book in 2013. Not a one!

We need a Reading Rainbow for adults.

Image via screengrab

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