Tuesday, March 17, 2009

World Book Day survey results

St Patrick's Day greetings to all.

Our Librarian, Tom McConville, writes:-

On Thursday 5 March, World Book Day, the Library asked the pupils of St Columba’s to vote for their favourite book. This voluntary annual poll is a snapshot of current opinions, conducted through the kind offices of the (ever-patient) English department. All and any books were eligible, from childhood favourites to today’s bestsellers, be they fact or fiction, poetry or drama, in English or any other language.

We achieved a respectable poll of 163 votes (many of the 6th form were already engaged in exams). In a remarkably wide-ranging selection, and a testimony to the very positive reading culture in the school, 105 individual authors were nominated and 125 separate books.

Analysts far more perceptive than the librarian may draw conclusions from these figures, but a brief overview suggests the following.
Twilight is Stephenie Meyer’s fabulously popular vampire/human romance, the first of a four-part series, and features Isabella Swan as its heroine, and vampire Edward Cullen as the love interest. Though the vote for it was almost exclusively female, the librarian knows that males borrow and read this book too. A feature of it is that though Edward is ‘dangerous’, for love for Bella he denies himself his full vampire instincts, and, as well as the heightened love story, honour, loyalty, friendship and courage are important, as they are in all good fantasy adventure. The recent film release no doubt boosted the vote, but the book, published in 2005 in the USA, and held here in the library here since March 2007, was seriously popular long before that.

[added 20.03.09 - read Jenny Turner's sharp and funny article on the Twilight phenomenon in the current edition of the London Review of Books.]

Other books which did well in the survey were Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner, S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders, Robert Muchamore's Maximum Security, Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, and Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. The favourite author, inevitably, was Stephanie Meyer, pursued by Anthony Horowitz. See the leading contenders' list here. Below, the second 'reverse side' of our World Book Day bookmarks, created by Wordle, in today's appropriate colour.

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