Friday, October 17, 2008

Top 100s and Big Reads and Polls, oh my!

I saw that several blogs have printed a list of 100 books they say are associated with the National Endowment of Art's Big Read program. I thought it looked interesting, so I went googling in search of the origin of the list and the program.

Hmmmm. It seems the list isn't part of the American NEA's Big Read at all, and neither are the facts being included in the blogs (something about most Americans having only read 6 of them?). The list being shared is very similar to one actually from the BBC - a list created in 2003 when they had almost a quarter of million votes for Britain's favorite novel in a program they called... (wait for it) The Big Read!! So, while their list is a good list of books - that Brits like - I'm not sure I'm going to try to make a quest of it.

I found a couple of other Doubting Thomases like myself: Book Geek published an article in June 2008 looking for the source of this list and the facts included. He located the origin of the list on a British news website, The Guardian, based on Books You Can't Live Without, a World Book day poll of 2,000 people at worldbookday.com held in March 2007. Per the website, "World Book Day is the biggest annual celebration of books and reading in the UK and Ireland."

I hope I've gotten all the links and facts right
  1. World Book Day had a poll on the Books You Can't Live Without in March 2007
  2. The Guardian wrote a story about the World Book Day poll results in March 2007
  3. The Guardian published the poll results (the Top 100 list now appearing in blogs)
  4. The BBC Big Read poll identifying Britain's favorite novel was done in 2003, and it's similar
  5. The NEA Big Read is ongoing and not related to either the BBC Big Read or World Book Day.
  6. A lot of folks are publishing the World Book Day list on their website and marking whether or not they've read the books in the list.

The actual Big Read program by the (American) NEA is focused on getting communities reading: "The Big Read provides citizens with the opportunity to read and discuss a single book within their communities." A single book. There are only 22 books in the Featured Books list today (it seems it's growing) - I haven't double checked to see if these 22 books also appear on the BBC's list.

Anyway, if you copy the list or a list, there is a suggestion that you mark the list with books you've read, books you never plan to read, books you intend to read, books you loved. OK - I'll bite and post BOTH lists and maybe some others too!

Here is my personal analyses of
the World Book Day Books You Can't Live Without poll from 2007
the BBC 2003 Big Read Top 100 list

And for List Geeks, here's a Wikipedia article on the list of best-selling books as well as a Wikipedia article on assorted lists of books. And here is Random House's Top 100 Best Novels list, a list I think that was garnered from the NY Times, followed by Radcliffe Publishing's Top 100 Best Novels.

1 comment:

Heather's Books said...

Okay I found this article when I went to dogpile as they pull fromall over the web not just google. It looks similar to what you found.

http://www.lifescript.com/channels/healthy_living/Life_Tips/the_big_read_improving_literacy_one_book_at_a_time.asp?trans=1&du=1&gclid=CInnu9vxr5YCFQ8QagodizabLw&ef_id=1350:3:s_2906449174aa6e23d74687a71505b8ae_1785423965:G3GZ-NBkLAoAABIveeYAAAAH:20081018035922

I hope this helps...but it looks like you have found a lot of places.