I’m impressed. You nailed it–83 percent of those who took the poll (see “What do college kids want [to read]?”, two posts down) correctly identified A as the Chronicle of Higher Education’s bestseller list and B as Amazon.com’s. So here are the lists with i.d.:
Chronicle of Higher Ed campus bestsellers:
1. The Lost Symbol (fiction, Dan Brown)
2. The Time Traveler’s Wife (fiction, Audrey Niffenegger)
3. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
5. True Compass: A Memoir (Ted Kennedy)
6. The Shack (fiction William P. Young)
7. The Last Song (fiction, Nicholas Sparks)
8. Eclipse (fiction, Stephanie Meyer)
9. A Mercy (fiction, Toni Morrison)
10. Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man (Steve Harvey)
1. The Lost Symbol
2. The Help (fiction, Kathryn Stockett)
4. The Gathering Storm (fiction, Ross Jordan)
5. The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to the Sports Guy
6. Wolf Hall (Booker Prize-winning fiction, Hilary Mantel)
7. Have a Little Faith: A True Story (Mitch Albom)
8. Arguing with Idiots (Glenn Beck)
9. The Sellout: How Decades of Wall Street Greed and Government Mismanagement Destroyed the Global Financial System (non-fiction)
10. Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis (Al Gore)
How did you know? Possibly the presence of reading-group fave The Help and the older-white-guy-oriented Glenn Beck and NBA books on Amazon’s list (campus reading appears to skew heavily female). Or maybe the youthy Eclipse and Austen-zombies mashup, plus A Mercy, an American-lit-syllabus favorite, on the Chronicle’s.
To me, what’s most striking is how remarkably similar the two lists are. In my college days, the grown-up bestseller list was occupied by books like Jackie Susann’s Once is Not Enough and James Michener’s Centennial. If there were a college list, it would have boasted titles like Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha and Richard Brautigan’s Trout Fishing in America. (I admit it, I date myself. I do not consider that an unnatural act.)
But Dan Brown and Nicholas Sparks? Geez, there’s plenty of time for pap in middle age.
Looking on the bright side, I suppose it’s a good thing that some college students are actually choosing to read books.