Top ten books

Someone sent me an interesting graphic today, which relates the top ten books sold around the world since 1960.

Initially, I was horrified at the sheer scale of readership that books like The Da Vinci Code and Twilight have attracted in a very short time, relative to classics like The Lord of the Rings and Gone with the Wind. Not to mention Sacred Scripture!!

I’ve read a few of Dan Brown’s novels. They are exciting (less so if you have a good grasp of history), but it’s pretty awful writing. I get the impression that Meyer’s writing isn’t much better.

I felt a bit better when I took a closer look at the graph and realised what it was really saying. It’s all relative:

The more accurate graph demonstrates just how phenomenal the Harry Potter series was. A Google search quickly uncovered some interesting statistics about Rowling’s series:

The third volume in the series is by far the biggest-selling book. If my memory serves me well, Prisoner of Azkaban is also far and away the best read. (I don’t think I bothered even reading the last two, so I can’t comment on their popularity.)

  • Timothy

    I can’t help but point that the number 3,900 million doesn’t exist. . .

    • Not sure about that. If someone asked me to define 3.9 billion, I’d reply with, “three thousand, nine hundred million.”

      Unless I was an old-school Englishman, of course. In that case, I’d reply with, “three million, nine hundred thousand million.”

      • Timothy

        I was under the impression that a thousand millions was a billion? Then it would be just like me to get that wrong and to make a fool of myself.

      • No. That’s right. The American (and now standard) definition of one billion is a thousand million.

        But that means that if 3.9 billion “exists,” then so does 3,900 million — on the simple premise that they’re exactly the same thing!

      • Timothy

        Indeed! I suppose I didn’t word it very well at the time.
        For what it’s worth, I agree completely with the post! Even about the Prisoner of Askaban.

  • Anne

    Oh Fr John, you have left out the second most read book “Redeeming Grief” surely its up there with the best. I know I read it.

    • Ha ha. It took me a moment to get this Anne.

      An oversight, I’m sure! I’ll promote that title in an upcoming post to make amends!

      • Anne

        OK! good idea. We wouldnt want people to miss out would we (lol)

  • Florence

    Fr John, I can assure you that soon the number of people who will be reading the Bible will increase because their interest in the Bible will be stirred.

    • Well, it IS reassuring to read that more people have read the Bible than words of the dastardly Mao.

      And who knows? Perhaps we have underestimated the Bible’s reach. We can hope and pray that the underground Church in China is more extensive than we know, and that it might become an engine of global evangelisation after the peaceful conquest of communist rule in China!

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