Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tuesday Thingers - Book Popularity

There's a group that formed from the Early Reviewers discussion board on Library Thing called Tuesday Thingers. It is hosted by Marie, a.k.a. The Boston Bibliophile. Each Tuesday Marie posts a question that everyone then blogs about. I'm joining a few weeks after they formed but I'm sure they won't mind (fingers crossed).

Today's Question: What's the most popular book in your library? Have you read it? What did you think? How many users have it? What's the most popular book you don't have? How does a book's popularity figure into your decisions about what to read?

My library lists only the books that I've read in the last two years, a few series that I added all the books, our book club books, and a few 'to be read' books. The most popular book in my library is Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. There are 32,526 other Library Thing members who have this book in their library. This book or at least this series being the most popular appears to be common among alot of the other Tuesday Thingers. It only makes sense as this is one of the most popular books in the last years - it appeals to adults and kids alike. I've read it, but not in the last two years. I loved the series and this book was the start. My kids also have read this first book and are also big Harry fans.

The next most popular books in my library are the other Harry Potter books. The most popular book I've actually read in the last two years (that's not Harry Potter) is A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. It is in the library of 5,549 members. I read this book in January and gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars. I learned some things about the culture in Afghanistan as well as reading a good story. I don't think it was as good as his other book, The Kite Runner, but that may have been expectations and not the book itself. Interestingly, The Kite Runner was published in 2003 and is in 14,563 member libraries. I wonder if in 4 more years whether the number of libraries for A Thousand Splendid Suns will reach that high.

The most popular book that I haven't read based on the Zeitgeist is The Hobbit with 21,347 members. Not sure why I've never read this book. I was going to say that fantasy is not usually my cup of tea but then realized that doesn't mesh with loving the Harry Potter series. Maybe I'll need to rethink reading this book.

A book's popularity does play a role in what I read. It's mostly based off of good reivews - "Oh you need to read this book" - rather than the fact that everyone is buying it. If I am shopping the library or the bookstore, I tend to notice the books that they have more of, but I'm just as likely to pick up a book because of it's color.

Just for fun, I looked at the books in my library that have the least amount of members. Rated 4 stars, The Bone Weaver by Victoria Zackheim is only in 5 members libraries. I read this book with my book club in 2003. Sadly that is too much time for me to remember the book, even after looking at the reviews on Amazon. It also makes me wonder how I rated it when I added it to my library. Hmmm...maybe my memory was better last year than it is this year? I will follow up with my book club buddies and see what they remember about this book.


Traci said...

I'm a big Harry Potter fan, and I have read The Hobbit, but I'll tell you The Hobbit was torture for me. I finally finished it, but I debated giving it up several times. I know that it's probably considered blasphemy among the LOTR lovers, but it was just so boring. I do like the LOTR movies, and I am going to try reading the books, but if it starts out as slowly as The Hobbit, I'm not going to feel guilty setting it aside.

Marie said...

Welcome to Tuesday Thingers! I'm glad you're participating. And you anticipated my next week's question- the least popular book! ;-)

Bluestocking said...

"color of the book" that's funny. But I know what you mean.


Michele said...

Traci - thanks for the info on the Hobbit. Maybe I don't have to rethink not reading it??? :-)

Thanks Marie! I'm sure I'll have something more to say about it all. I'm not usually at a loss for words.

Thanks for stopping by Bluestocking. Random book picks seem to be a specialty.

jlshall said...

I'm glad to see somebody besides me has trouble remembering books a few years after reading them! That's one of the reasons I started doing reviews - to help my fading memory.

I read The Hobbit years ago and do still remember a bit about it. It's not quite as "dark" as the other LOTR books - but not as exciting either.

Anonymous said...

Yipppppeeee! You are a Tuesday Thinger! :-D

Library Cat said...

I loved the Hobbit and did not like the LOTR books at all. I think there just seemed to be too many many many characters and I could not keep up.

Glad you are joining us.


Michele said...

Joy - omigosh! I have a terrible memory. I worry about me in a few years! LOL

J.Kaye - thanks!!!! :-)

Librarycat - thanks! I am going back and forth on the Hobbit. Probably should put on my tbr list for the future. Maybe find a challenge that I can force myself to start it for.

Meghan said...

Oh, I really like the Hobbit. It's almost like a children's story. I would recommend you give it a try! (Although it isn't worth your time if you decide you don't like it once you've started, not enough time for all the books out there.)

- medieval bookworm

Anonymous said...

Welcome :) Glad you could join us! I totally recommend "The Hobbit". There are a ton of details and characters, but Tolkien has such a way with words that I was drawn in immediately :)

Julie said...

I read The Hobbit while in high school and could barely force myself through it. Thats not to say that I wouldn't enjoy it now, my tastes have changed quite a bit since then. But still, I can't recommend it.

Anonymous said...

The Harry Potter books appealed to me, but I had to drag myself through The Hobbit, and never read the rest of LOTR. I have the same contradictory issues you have -- maybe HP was kinder/gentler in the beginning, or had more human-like characters? I've wondered about this apparen discrepancy in my reading taste!

Michele said...

Meghan, Julie, Kbookreviews & Sheistoofondofbooks - Thanks for the input on the Hobbit. I think I will put it on the list of things I will read sometime but it may take awhile until it gets to the top! LOL Thanks for stopping by!

Julie said...

The book I share with the most other librarythingers (other than Harry Potter) is Freakenomics by Stephen Levitt. Funny that a book about Economics would be so popular (8859 other readers).

My least popular is Ever Wonder Why? by Thomas Sowell, another book about economics. Those are the only two econ books on my list!

The Levitt book was quirky, fun, interesting, but the Sowell book really made you think. That man is a genius!!