What do the bestseller lists tell us about ourselves?

2010 01 24_2286I have this theory that you could tell a lot about a reader’s personality by looking at a cumulative list of all the library books they’ve checked out over the years. I know mine would be a snapshot of how my interests and tastes have changed. For a long while, I was a mystery devourer (craving social justice)  which gave way to science fiction (needing to escape), which bled into nonfiction topics ranging from hydroponic gardening to the history of the circus (no idea what that says about my inner workings)! Now I am fascinated by all manner of things from rare birds to remote islands to the history of the Laundromat (don’t ask.)

Do you think we could discern anything about the American psyche and catalogue of interests by taking a gander at bestseller lists? Let’s try it, shall we? Here are the main topics from the top 5 selling hardcover nonfiction books according to the NPR. What do you think the popularity and range of titles tells us about ourselves? Would your TBR pile show us anything fascinating about your personality and interests?
#1 Help, Thanks, Wow– three simple prayers for dealing with the hardships of daily life.
#2 The World Until Yesterday-How modern society draws from early/ancient cultures.
#3 Behind the Beautiful Forevers– Everyday life of a Muslim teen in Annawadi.
#4 I Could Pee on This-Poems about the thoughts and feelings of cats
#5 Thomas Jefferson– Explores the life of the master politician.
http://www.npr.org/books/bestsellers/

5 responses to this post.

  1. Some of my library research would scare my church friends, but now the fiction is usually good.

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  2. I’d like to say I have vast and varied literary tastes, but I’m pretty sure that if you looked at my library history, the entire thing would be sci-fi and fantasy. Then again, those are very broad genres, so … 🙂

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