Your 25 Favorite Books From Assigned Reading

Rebecca Joines Schinsky

Chief of Staff

Rebecca Joines Schinsky is the executive director of product and ecommerce at Riot New Media Group. She co-hosts All the Books! and the Book Riot Podcast. Follow her on Twitter: @rebeccaschinsky.

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.

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (281 votes)
  2. 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.

    Here’s how these favorite assigned books overlap with Riot readers’ favorite novels, most-hated books, and the ones we just pretend to have read.

    Assigned and Favorite Assigned and Hated Assigned and Pretend


    What are your thoughts and questions and theories about these results?

    Check out other Riot polls:

    Book Riot Readers’ 50 Favorite Novels

    The 25 Most-Hated Books (by Book Riot Readers)

    19 Books You’ve Been Meaning to Read FOREVER

    20 Books You Pretend to Have Read

    Top 10 Books You’re Embarrassed to Admit You’ve Read

    20 Most-Loved Literary Characters

    Are These the 13 Most Underrated Books?

    20 Books You Love to Give as Gifts

    Your 25 Favorite Authors of Color

    The Book Riot 2013 Reading Habits Survey

    The Great TBR Poll: Results

    The Top 17 Books That Make You Feel Dumb

    The Great Book Budget Poll

    The 35 Most Powerful Books You’ve Read

    The Great Audiobook Survey


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