Meme: Best-Selling Books of the Past 15 Years

The Christian Science Monitor has an article called “What Are Americans Really Reading?” by Marjorie Kehe about USA Today’s best-selling books of the past 15 years. The basic jist is that USA Today‘s list is the most realistic snapshot of what Americans really read, and that it is encouraging to those who’ve heard enough poo-pooing of American reading choices.

I of course see it as an opportunity to to create a meme.  Simply, go through the list and mark books I read in bold, books I want to read in italics, and books I started but never completed in strikethrough. Let’s see how I compare to the American reading public at large:

Rank Title Author
1 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone J.K. Rowling, art by Mary GrandPre
2 Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution Robert C. Atkins
3 The Da Vinci Code Dan Brown
4 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows J.K. Rowling, art by Mary GrandPre
5 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix J.K. Rowling, art by Mary GrandPre
6 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince J.K. Rowling, art by Mary GrandPre
7 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets J.K. Rowling, art by Mary GrandPre
8 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban J.K. Rowling, art by Mary GrandPre
9 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire J.K. Rowling, art by Mary GrandPre

10 Who Moved My Cheese? Spencer Johnson
11 The South Beach Diet Arthur Agatston
12 Tuesdays With Morrie Mitch Albom
13 Angels & Demons Dan Brown
14 What to Expect When You’re Expecting Heidi Murkoff, Arlene Eisenberg, Sandee Hathaway (this book is more of a reference and isn’t really designed for reading end-to-end, but I found other pregnancy/baby books more helpful)
15 The Purpose-Driven Life Rick Warren
16 The Five People You Meet in Heaven Mitch Albom
17 The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Stephen R. Covey
18 The Kite Runner Khaled Hosseini
19 Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus John Gray
20 The Secret Rhonda Byrne
21 Rich Dad, Poor Dad Robert T. Kiyosaki with Sharon L. Lechter
22 To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee
23 Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff … And It’s All Small Stuff Richard Carlson
24 The Secret Life of Bees Sue Monk Kidd
25 Eat, Pray, Love Elizabeth Gilbert
26 Twilight Stephenie Meyer
27 The Notebook Nicholas Sparks
28 The Memory Keeper’s Daughter Kim Edwards
29 The Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger
30 Memoirs of a Geisha Arthur Golden
31 A New Earth Eckhart Tolle
32 Oh, the Places You’ll Go! Dr. Seuss
33 The Four Agreements Don Miguel Ruiz
34 Angela’s Ashes Frank McCourt
35 The Lovely Bones Alice Sebold
36 Body-for-Life Bill Phillips, Michael D’Orso
37 New Moon Stephenie Meyer
38 Night Elie Wiesel, translations by Marion Wiesel and Stella Rodway
39 Chicken Soup for the Soul Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen
40 The Greatest Generation Tom Brokaw
41 Breaking Dawn Stephenie Meyer
42 The Celestine Prophecy James Redfield
43 Wicked Gregory Maguire
44 Good to Great Jim Collins
45 Eclipse Stephenie Meyer
46 Eragon Christopher Paolini
47 Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood Rebecca Wells
48 Your Best Life Now Joel Osteen
49 In the Kitchen With Rosie Rosie Daley
50 Simple Abundance Sarah Ban Breathnach
51 A Child Called It Dave Pelzer
52 A Million Little Pieces James Frey
53 The Testament John Grisham
54 Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Kimberly Kirberger
55 Deception Point Dan Brown
56 The Alchemist Paulo Coelho
57 Marley & Me John Grogan
58 Dr. Atkins’ New Carbohydrate Gram Counter Robert C. Atkins
59 Life of Pi Yann Martel
60 The Brethren John Grisham
61 The South Beach Diet Good Fats Good Carbs Guide Arthur Agatston
62 The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town John Grisham
63 For One More Day Mitch Albom
64 The Polar Express Chris Van Allsburg
65 The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald
66 The Last Lecture Randy Pausch, Jeffrey Zaslow
67 What to Expect the First Year Arlene Eisenberg, Heidi Murkoff, Sandee Hathaway
68 Love You Forever Robert Munsch, art by Sheila McGraw
69 Green Eggs and Ham Dr. Seuss
70 A Painted House John Grisham
71 The Rainmaker John Grisham
72 Skipping Christmas John Grisham
73 Cold Mountain Charles Frazier
74 The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-Time Mark Haddon

75 Life Strategies Phillip C. McGraw
76 Seabiscuit: An American Legend Laura Hillenbrand
77 The Summons John Grisham
78 Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil John Berendt
79 The Hobbit J.R.R. Tolkien

80 The Runaway Jury John Grisham
81 Goodnight Moon Board Book Margaret Wise Brown, art by Clement Hurd
82 The Perfect Storm Sebastian Junger

83 Snow Falling on Cedars David Guterson
84 The Giver Lois Lowry
85 Embraced by the Light Betty J. Eadie
86 The Chamber John Grisham
87 You: On A Diet Michael F. Roizen, Mehmet C. Oz
88 The Prayer of Jabez Bruce Wilkinson
89 Holes Louis Sachar
90 Digital Fortress Dan Brown
91 The Shack William P. Young
92 The Devil Wears Prada Lauren Weisberger
93 Water for Elephants Sara Gruen
94 A Thousand Splendid Suns Khaled Hosseini
95 The Seat of the Soul Gary Zukav
96 Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Jennifer Read Hawthorne, Marci Shimoff
97 The Partner John Grisham
98 Lord of the Flies William Golding
99 Eldest: Inheritance, Book II Christopher Paolini

100 The Broker John Grisham
101 The Street Lawyer John Grisham
102 A Series of Unfortunate Events No. 1: The Bad Beginning Lemony Snicket
103 The Poisonwood Bible Barbara Kingsolver
104 Into the Wild Jon Krakauer

105 The King of Torts John Grisham
106 The Tipping Point Malcolm Gladwell
107 The Horse Whisperer Nicholas Evans
108 Hannibal Thomas Harris
109 The Audacity of Hope Barack Obama
110 Running With Scissors Augusten Burroughs
111 The Glass Castle: A Memoir Jeannette Walls
112 My Sister’s Keeper Jodi Picoult
113 The Last Juror John Grisham
114 The Devil in the White City Erik Larson
115 Left Behind Tim LaHaye, Jerry B. Jenkins
116 America (The Book) Jon Stewart and The Writers of The Daily Show
117 The Red Tent Anita Diamant
118 John Adams David McCullough
119 The Christmas Box Richard Paul Evans
120 The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Ann Brashares
121 Sugar Busters! H. Leighton Steward, Sam S. Andrews, Morrison C. Bethea, Luis A. Balart
122 Blink Malcolm Gladwell
123 The Power of Now Eckhart Tolle
124 90 Minutes in Heaven: A True Story of Death and Life Don Piper, Cecil Murphey
125 The Fellowship of the Ring J.R.R. Tolkien
126 1776 David McCullough

127 The Bridges of Madison County Robert James Waller
128 Where the Heart Is Billie Letts
129 The Ultimate Weight Solution Phillip C. McGraw
130 Protein Power Michael R. Eades, Mary Dan Eades
131 Chicken Soup for the Mother’s Soul Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Jennifer Read Hawthorne, Marci Shimoff
132 Into Thin Air Jon Krakauer
133 Middlesex Jeffrey Eugenides
134 Three Cups of Tea Greg Mortenson, David Oliver Relin
135 You: The Owner’s Manual Michael F. Roizen, Mehmet C. Oz
136 1,000 Places to See Before You Die: A Traveler’s Life List Patricia Schultz
137 Self Matters Phillip C. McGraw
138 She’s Come Undone Wally Lamb
139 1984 George Orwell
140 The Chronicles of Narnia C.S. Lewis

141 The Millionaire Next Door Thomas J. Stanley, William D. Danko
142 The Other Boleyn Girl Philippa Gregory
143 The Zone Barry Sears, Bill Lawren
144 The Pilot’s Wife Anita Shreve
145 The Lost World Michael Crichton
146 Atonement Ian McEwan
147 He’s Just Not That Into You Greg Behrendt, Liz Tuccillo
148 Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury
149 The World Is Flat Thomas L. Friedman
150 Cross James Patterson

Not too many surprises in that list.  Lots of diet & self-help books, lots of Rowling & Grisham (but not as much Jodi Piccoult as I’d expected), and lots of classisc listerature for school.  Not too surprising that most of the books I read fell into the latter category, or that I’m geeky enough to have read some of them out of class.

So I’ve read 38 books on the list, abandoned 2, and only want to read 3 more. Not too shabby.