In our latest reader poll, we asked you to tell about your favorite books from assigned school reading. There were no rules or restrictions, no genre requirements, no statements about which years of school counted or didn’t: just your favorite books from school reading, period.
1142 Riot readers answered the call, sharing 660 unique titles. (Participants were allowed to nominate up to 3 books.) Here are the top 25 selections. Any surprises? Do these square with your favorites? If you’re in the mood for a deeper dive, here’s the full data set.
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (281 votes)
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (165)
- Lord of the Flies by William Golding (83)
- Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (79)
- 1984 by George Orwell (73)
- Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (70)
- The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (62)
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (60)
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (58)
- The Giver by Lois Lowry (56)
- Hamlet by William Shakespeare (48)
- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (47)
- Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (47)
- The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (44)
- A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (43)
- Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (40)
- Animal Farm by George Orwell (37)
- Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (37)
- A Separate Peace by John Knowles (37)
- The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (36)
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (33)
- Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (33)
- Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare (31)
- Macbeth by William Shakespeare (29)
- Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (26)
It’s no surprise to see Harper Lee in first place here, as To Kill a Mockingbird is by far the most common (and has become the most expected) response to almost any survey about favorite books/characters/authors we conduct. Interesting to see that 8 of the 20 writers mentioned here are women. That’s a better gender balance than I would have expected given dead white guys’ popularity on syllabi. It’s disappointing but also not terribly surprising, given the popularity of dead white guys, to see only one book by a person of color. I was happy to see some young adult titles make the list, including The Outsiders, which is arguably the first modern young adult novel, and The Giver.
What are your thoughts and questions and theories about these results?
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