lunes, 15 de abril de 2013

Top 10 most read books in the world

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I saw a graphic today, about the Top 10 most read books in the world. It’s actually a funny list, which truly expresses that people read for a lot of different reasons. Yes, the Holy Bible is in first place, and that was to be expected. School will do that to you. I had religion lessons every single year I was in school. This is probably true of a lot of people. We read the Bible. Buy it, keep it in our house. A lot of hotels buy The Bible to have and place it in their rooms. People are born, they grow up, and they read it, and so on. (Mind you, most of us don’t read the WHOLE Bible, of course, but still, since we buy it, it will remain number 1).

Number Two, Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung is actually kind of surprising (For me, western education and all). But, all in all, it shouldn’t be. There are a lot of people in China. 

Harry Potter comes in at number 3. Can’t say that surprises me either, especially since there are seven of them, and I was one of those people that stood in line for hours at midnight to get the sixth and seven books. (There were a LOT of people there. A LOT). It’s actually pretty amazing how many people have read it. But I’m happy with its place. It’s a wonderful book. Many other wonderful books are not in this list, but at least one of my favorites is.

LOTR comes in at number 4, and to be completely honest, that one blew me away. It’s a really long, complicated book, and it’s kind of awesome that so many people have read it (or, at the very least, bought it). It sets a high standard for fiction, and for writers, and for creating your own world, and all that. And, yes, it was published a long time ago, but still …all of you people who bought LOTR, did you really finish it? (I did, though I will admit I skipped most of the long winded descriptions of trees. And the songs. I skipped all of those too.) 

Number 5 is where it gets semi-depressing, because number 5 is Paulo Cohelo. Now, let me preface this by saying I’m not a Cohelo fan. I’ve read about 5 or 6 of his books and I’ve found each more contrived, filled with clichés and, frankly, absurd than the last.  The Alchemist (which I read), follows that pattern. It’s filled with “pretty words”, and so called deep advice, but as a work of fiction, it fails miserably. It’s the most boring trek through the dessert in the history of mankind.

Then we come to Number 6, The Da Vinci Code, (Read it. Also not a fan), a book that sold as many copies as I did because of the controversy surrounding it. Or at least I assume that’s the reason, because Dan Brown cannot do research to save his life and his writing isn’t that coherent. That is to say, he has a good idea, he builds a good plot, but he is not a master of suspense and his endings leave a LOT to be desired. 

But even that is way better than Number 6, which, it pains me to say, is Twilight. Yes, that one. The one with very unhealthy relationship ideas, sparkling perfect vampires and the worst excuse for a Mary-Sue heroine that has appeared in literature in many, many years. Escapism at its best, I guess. 

Eight is Gone with the Wind, a long, long, long, beautiful, brilliant, amazing book that everyone should read if only because “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn,” is much more painful when you read the book, and because Scarlett O’Hara is the heroine everyone who has ever thought about writing should want to put into paper: Perfectly flawed, and completely unaware of it, till the very end. 

Our first motivational/self-help book (unless you want to count Cohelo in that category, and I often do, since it makes it easier to stomach), is Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill, which is number 9. It’s been around since 1937, and a lot of people have read it (I haven’t), a lot of people still swear by it (some of my professors, for example), and some people will go on reading it. (But I don’t think that if we look at this list in 10 or 20 years we’ll still find it here…it’s got stiff competition from new, similar books).

To round of our list we have, at number 10, The Diary of Anne Frank. (Have you noticed that most of the fiction books in this list are dramas? Apparently comedy is not as popular). I, like most of you, read this book when I was too young to understand what the ending was going to be like, and it broke my little heart into a gazillion pieces. It’s still a book that should be read, and will probably be read, not only because of literary methods, but also because it’s a heartbreakingly accurate description of a time and place that we might never get to know otherwise, for  most of its protagonists are not around to tell their own story. 

So, there we have it, my opinions on this wonderfully brilliant and absurd list. What do YOU think?

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