A Consensus Cloud of Books Everyone Should Read


Information is Beautiful’s David McCandless has compiled the results of more than 15 esteemed book polls, surveys, and lists in order to create a “consensus cloud” of the most frequently chosen titles across the board. The books contained in the cloud range from the products of Pulitzer Prize-winning authors to Oprah’s Bookclub picks, providing an assortment of novels from the English language canon to the books people actually read.

To Kill A Mockingbird seems to be the leader, with The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, One Hundred Years of Solitude, and Crime and Punishment not far behind. Catch-22 also is comparatively large, as is Pride and Prejudice and Anna Karenina. With the prominence of The Lord of the Rings, and His Dark Materials, we seem to be veering into fantasy, and with The Handmaid’s Tale, Fahrenheit 451, and two by George Orwell (1984 and Animal Farm), we notice the prominence of dystopian fiction.

What do you think? Is this a fair reading guide, or does it skew too much in one direction for your taste? Since McCandless used a number of British lists, do you think it unfairly favors our friends in the UK?