'Atlas Shrugged' No Longer Ranks Among Americans' Top Ten Favorite Books

by Chloe Schama | April 29, 2014

A new poll released today reveals that—shocker!—the Bible remains Americans' favorite book. It’s always a bit presumptuous to outline any kind of cultural DNA from a list, though foreign favorite lists can be useful as a measure of just how little literature makes it overseas. (How many Americans have read the most-beloved novel in Australia, Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet?) But there are some interesting additions and some even more interesting omissions from this year’s list. Among those that have dropped off since the poll was last conducted in 2008: Stephen King’s The Stand, Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons; and, perhaps most significantly of all, Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. (Though other polls indicate its staying power: Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead were number 1 and 2 respectively on the Modern Library’s Reader’s List.) All races love the Bible equally well, but there's a troubling difference in the number 2 slot: Caucasians pick Gone with the Wind, while blacks pick Moby Dick.

2014

1) The Bible 

2) Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

3) Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling

4) The Lord of the Rings (series) by J.R.R. Tolkien

5) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

6) Moby Dick by Herman Melville

7) The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

8) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott 

9) The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck 

10) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

 

2008

1) The Bible

2) Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell  

3) The Lord of the Rings (series) by J.R.R. Tolkien  

4) Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling  

5) The Stand by Stephen King

6) The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

7) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

8) Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

9) Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

10) The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger 

Source URL: http://www.newrepublic.com//article/117565/top-ten-books-america-2014-versus-2008-atlas-shrugged-drops