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May 1st, 2014

America’s Favorite Books

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by David Rogers

America's Favorite Books

America’s favorite book is the Bible.

A new Harris Poll asked more than 2,000 adults in the U.S. to name their favorite book, and the Bible came in number one across all different demographics. Number two overall is “Gone with the Wind” by Margaret Mitchell, followed by the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.

These top two spots remain the same from the previous Harris Poll asking the same question back in 2008. Rowling’s series, however, has moved up one spot in those eight years, switching places with the Lord of the Ring Series by J.R.R. Tolkien, which now comes in at number four. Rounding out the top five is the classic Harper Lee novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Of the remaining five books, only “The Catcher in the Rye,” by J.D. Salinger, appeared on the list in both 2008 and 2014 (it jumped from number 10 in 2008 to number seven this year). “Moby Dick,” “Little Women,” “The Grapes of Wrath” and “The Great Gatsby” are all new to the list this year.

Those that didn’t make the cut this year

What books dropped off the list this year? “The Stand” (Stephen King), “Atlas Shrugged” (Ayn Rand) and two books by Dan Brown: “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels and Demons.” While 2008 was just after the height of Dan Brown-mania in the U.S., the absence of both books on this year’s list may say a bit about the staying power of the author’s works.

In addition to overall book preferences, the poll also reported the favorites according to a variety of demographics. While the Bible was the favorite across all demographics, the next-favorite proved interesting in many categories.

For example, men prefer the Lord of the Rings series while women prefer “Gone with the Wind.” Age matters, too (as you may expect): Millennials like Harry Potter, Gen X’ers prefer the Lord of the Rings, and everyone over 49 likes “Gone with the Wind” the best.

Just a couple more categories that have interesting results:

Republicans, Democrats and Independents all choose “Gone with the Wind.” So do those identifying as Conservatives and Moderates. Liberals, however, choose the Harry Potter series. Finally, those with post-Graduate degrees like the Lord of the Rings series, while every other educational classification (high school or less, some college and college graduate) report “Gone with the Wind” as their favorite.