An Unscientific Survey of Books People Love Annoyingly and Books People Hate

Waxy pointed to a question on Metafilter asking What books do people proselytize about and said, “Someone needs to compile this into a list, ordered by mentions.” How could I not?

I took every book and author mentioned and compiled a list for both. If a book was listed with an author, this was counted as an entry for the book only. The Metafilter question asked for fiction books only, but this rule wasn’t really followed so I counted everything. I did this fast and any errors can be blamed on speed, Drew’s Cancer, or both. Finally, it becomes obvious quite quickly, that this list is more about books people don’t like, as opposed to books with fanatical fans. This is summed up best by commenter OhHenryPacey, “If this list proves anything it’s that assholes are assholes and will be assholes about just about anything or book you’d care to mention.” You can’t argue with logic like that.

Interesting findings:
-Ayn Rand blew away the competition in the author Category with 11 mentions, while The Celestine Prophecy edged out Harry Potter 8-6 in the Books category.
-There are 124 titles on the Books list and 56 Authors.
-People mentioned Jonathan Livingston Seagull 3 times, spelling the name 3 different ways.
-Twilight had 4 mentions, though I expect this to grow over time.
Kottke will be happy to note that while Infinite Jest is on the Books list 4 times, David Foster Wallace is not mentioned on the Authors list.
-Looking quickly, Ayn Rand inspires the most assholish proselytizing with a combined score of 16. But what do you expect with a name like Ayn.
-Seriously? The Wizard of Oz? You must not like anything.

Full list below:
Ayn Rand 11
Dan Brown 4
Tom Robbins 4
Herman Hesse 3
Hunter S. Thompson 3
Chuck Palahniuk 2
Daniel Quinn 2
Ernest Hemingway 2
Kurt Vonnegut 2
Michael Crichton 2
Robert A. Heinlein 2
Alice Waters
Anne Rice
C. S. Lewis
Carl Sagan
Carlos Castaneda
Charles Baudelaire
Charles Bukowski
Chris Ware
Chuck Klosterman
Danielle Steel
David Sedaris
Ford Maddox Ford
Friedrich Holderlin
Gore Vidal
Henry Miller
House of Leaves
Isaac Asimov
James Joyce
John Milton
Jonathan Safran Foer
Jonathan Swift
Jorge Louis Borges
L. Ron Hubbard
Malcolm Gladwell
Michael Pollan
Michel Houellebecq
Neal Stephenson
Neil Gaiman
Nicholas Sparks
Noam Chomsky
P.D. Ouspensky
Philip K Dick
Philip Pullman
Thomas Mann
Tom Clancy
Toni Morrison
TS Eliot
Vladimir Nabokov
William Carlos Williams
William Faulkner
William Shakespeare

The Celestine Prophecy 8
Harry Potter 6
Catcher in the Rye 4
Infinite Jest 4
Nthing 4
Twilight 4
Atlas Shrugged 3
Confederacy of Dunces 3
Gravity’s Rainbow 3
Jonathan Livingston Seagull 3
Lord of the Rings 3
The Stanger 3
1984 2
Chronicles of Narnia 2
Dune 2
Ender’s Game 2
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy 2
On the Road 2
Rubyfruit Jungle 2
Starship Troopers 2
Stranger In A Strange Land 2
Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs 2
The Alchemist 2
The Corrections 2
The Fountainhead 2
The Great Gatsby 2
The Jungle 2
The Long Tail 2
The Master and Margarita 2
The Secret 2
The Shack 2
The Woman’s Room 2
Ulysses 2
Who Moved My Cheese 2
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
A People’s History of The United States
A Remembrance of Things Past
Catch 22
Chicken Soup for the Soul
Crime and Punishment
Dharma Bums
Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Eat, Love, Pray
Elements of Style
Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas
Fight Club
Foucault’s Pendulum
Fuzzy Memories
Getting Things Done
Here Comes Everybody
Holy Blood, Holy Grail
House of Leaves
Illuminatus! series
Last Exit to Brooklyn
Les Miserables
Magic Mountain
Manhattan Transfer
Men are From Mars, Women Are From Venus
Mutant Message Down Under
Night Train to Lisbon
Nineteen-Eighty Four
Notes from the Underground
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Prozac Nation
Snow Crash
Story of O
T the Celestine Prophesy
The 4-Hour Work Week
The Art of War
The Beautiful Room is Empty
The Brothers Karamazov
The C Programming Language, by Kernighan & Ritchie
The Captain
Catcher in the Rye
The Confidence Man
The Crying of Lot 49
The DaVinci Code
The Deep Thoughts series
The Dice Man
The Education of Little Tree
The Elements of Style
The Extrordinary League of Gentlemen
The Foundation series
The Giver
The Giving Tree
The Gor series
The Grapes of Wrath
The Left Behind Series
The Little Prince
The Lovely Bones
The Metamorphosis
The Omnivore’s Dilemma
The Power of One
The Prophet
The Sun Also Rises
The Tao of Pooh
The Te of Piglet
The Teachings of Don Juan
The Tipping Point
The Trial
The Turner Diaries
The Warriors series
The Watchmen
The World According to Garp.
Thus Spoke Zarathustra
V for Victory
Vampire Lestat
Way of the Peaceful Warrior
What Color is Your Parachute?
White Teeth
Wizard of Oz
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

An Unscientific Survey of Books People Love Annoyingly and Books People Hate

0 thoughts on “An Unscientific Survey of Books People Love Annoyingly and Books People Hate

    1. aaron cohen says:

      I love that quotation. I saw it on Balloon Juice a couple weeks ago and wanted to basically steal the post. I barely refrained.


  1. aaron cohen says:

    Ha. Removing and hanging my head in ignorant shame. Thanks for letting me know. I hope someone eventually writes a book that people proselytize. I might do it myself. Book list as self-fulfilling prophecy.


  2. Interesting post idea.

    Ayn Rand’s philosophy is radical. As such, it elicits radical reactions of adoration and loathing. On young people it tends to create a disproportionate sense of righteousness and false duty. I know because I was one of them. Once the high of the first contact fades away, and the consequences of cutting yourself of from emotions start to surface, it can be turned into a healthy reminder of taking full responsibility for your destiny and making use of your skills to the best of your ability.

    There are some poisoning ideas sprinkled in Atlas Shrugged, but it doesn’t take away from the epic picture of rational human achievement it portraits. I’d say, handle with care and digest with awareness.


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