A Book for all Seasons (and bookshelves)

Recently, a group of friends (readers and non-readers) and  I were having conversation about books, and I asked they thought that there is a single book with such universal appeal that it would be found on the bookshelves in more than 75% of  homes with readers across the country (or world).  This question sparked a lively and humorous debate, and we came up with several potential titles.

We argued about including genres–cookbooks, reference books, religious books–and in the end decided that we’d permit religious and reference books, but the real goal was to name a specific book that transcends genres and could be found in greater than 7 out of 10 homes where books are owned.

I agreed to survey the biggest population of book lovers that I know–book bloggers–and ask them weigh in on our titles and offer up their own suggestions.  This is probably the least scientific survey of all time, but I thought it would be fun to see your answers.

Do you  have any of the following books on your shelves?

  1. DICTIONARY (This answer was our number 1 choice but received criticism because it’s technically a reference book.)
  3. THE DA VINCI CODE (It has mass appeal and even my non-reader friends had copies.)
  4. HARRY POTTER (any book in the series)
  5. TWILIGHT (any book in the series)
  6. DR. SEUSS book (any title) Green Eggs and Ham is on my bookshelf!

If you had to name the top two or three books you could find on book bloggers’ shelves, what would they be?


  • At 2010.09.19 13:16, bermudaonion (Kathy) said:

    I would bet the religious books would be the number one book world wide, after that, your guess is as good as mine.

    • At 2010.09.19 13:41, Jane Steen said:

      We have all the above on our bookshelves except the Da Vinci Code (I’ve got it on audiobook, though, so technically we have it too).

      As for my own guess, I’m hoping that book bloggers are a fairly literate lot so they have at least one Jane Austen (Pride & Prejudice perhaps?) at least one Dickens, and probably The Lord of the Rings.

      I would be deeply saddened by a book blogger who only had contemporary books on their shelves. The past has much to offer.
      .-= Jane Steen´s last blog ..Discourse in the Age of Look At Me =-.

      • At 2010.09.19 16:14, rhapsodyinbooks said:

        We have all of those except Twilight.

        My guess for top books on bloggers’ shelves would be the same as top books on anyone’s shelves: the dictionary, and the Bible.
        .-= rhapsodyinbooks´s last blog ..Winsome Media Tour Review of “Hiroshima in the Morning” by Rahna Reiko Rizzuto =-.

        • At 2010.09.19 17:04, Lahni said:

          I have all except The Da Vinci Code. I also have a few Austens, Dickens’ and all the LoTR books as Jane Steen suggested.
          .-= Lahni´s last blog ..Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy =-.

          • At 2010.09.19 20:56, Christy said:

            I have the dictionary, the Bible and the Harry Potter series. No Da Vinci, Dr. Seuss or Twilight. I do have a few Austens, two Dickens and the LOTR trilogy plus the Hobbit.
            .-= Christy´s last blog ..Middlemarch Review 2- A Parade of Characters =-.

            • At 2010.09.19 20:59, Stephanie said:

              I’ve got them all! I also have some Austen, Bronte and tons of unread books!
              .-= Stephanie´s last blog ..The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen =-.

              • At 2010.09.19 21:42, Gwen said:

                As usual, I am the odd woman out. I have none of the four. I could launch into a big explanation as to why, but I will spare thee the diatribe.

                I would bet that many bloggers have Mockingjay on their shelves about now. I just wish that more non-book bloggers had more books, any books, on their shelves:)
                .-= Gwen´s last blog ..A Bit About MeMe I Dodge the Question =-.

                • At 2010.09.20 09:31, Kerry said:

                  I have 4 dictionaries, I think, as well as The New Oxford Annotated Bible (which is more of a reference book version than a religious text version, and is from an undergrad class), and the Harry Potter series. No Dan Brown or Twilight in my house, though we do have 3 complete collections of Shakespeare’s works. 🙂
                  .-= Kerry´s last blog ..Book Review- The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson =-.

                  • At 2010.09.20 11:54, Meg said:

                    I definitely own several different dictionaries and the complete Harry Potter and Twilight series! Plus many Dr. Seuss books I’m hanging on to for my kids. But No Dan Brown in these here parts, either. And my mom has a Bible somewhere, so I guess go ahead and throw that one in there, too.

                    I’d also go out on a limb with others and say that most book bloggers have a copy of Pride & Prejudice somewhere in their stacks! Or maybe just Jane Austen, generally speaking. We probably have copies of some other classics — Little Women, Little House On The Prarie, etc. — and more “modern” classics, like A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, too. Maybe.
                    .-= Meg´s last blog ..Book review- ‘The Recessionistas’ by Alexandra Lebenthal =-.

                    • At 2010.09.22 09:04, Natalie said:

                      oooh! i forgot all about Little House. i love those books but don’t know where my childhood copies are. i’ll have to check at my parents’ house on my next visit.

                      • At 2010.09.20 12:23, Lisa Munley said:

                        I have all of them. And I bet most bloggers have The Hunger Games trilogy.
                        .-= Lisa Munley´s last blog ..Sunday Salon – September 19- 2010 =-.

                        • At 2010.09.22 09:03, Natalie said:

                          Yes, I thought many bloggers might have The Hunger Games books, Pride & Prejudice, and a few other classics. 🙂

                          • At 2010.09.20 23:48, bybee said:

                            I have a dictionary
                            2 religious books: the teachings of the Buddha and a small New Testament w/ Psalms — both of these are in Korean and English.
                            Most of the Harry Potters are here, but they aren’t mine…I’m keeping them for my son.
                            Twilight – I have a copy, but it’s in the giveaway bag.
                            .-= bybee´s last blog ..What- Ho =-.

                            • At 2010.09.20 23:51, Coffee and a Book Chick said:

                              I have 4 of them in my house — but I hope that people have more classics in their homes as well!

                              And the top books on a book blogger’s shelves? Hmm. That’s a good one. Maybe some Margaret Atwood? I can’t think of another universal one, though!
                              .-= Coffee and a Book Chick´s last blog ..Dead Politician Society- by Robin Spano =-.

                              • At 2010.09.23 10:27, Connie said:

                                I pretty much agree with everyone here in comment land 🙂 I have all of the above and then some. I own the first book The Hunger Games and downloaded the other two to my Kindle. Struggling through “Mockingjay” for some reason.

                                • At 2010.09.23 15:03, Jenners said:

                                  Love this question!!!!

                                  And I answer YES to all but the Twilight and DaVinci code books (I read them but swapped them out so I’m not sure that counts.)

                                  And actually, I don’t know if we have a dictionary anymore … we use the web if we need one!

                                  I bet the Bible selection is probably the most universal.
                                  .-= Jenners´s last blog ..Well- I Finally Did It! =-.

                                  • At 2010.09.24 21:24, Lisa said:

                                    Bible–check, dictionary-check, Dr. Seuss-check. Read The DaVinci Code but passed it as long as soon as everyone here had read it. Have not had any interest in Twilight. Harry Potter series–in my son’s room–check. As for what bloggers have–now that’s a tough one. There are so many books that are so popular in the book blogosphere. I’d have to agree that perhaps an Austen, maybe a Kingsolver and perhaps The Handmaid’s Tale.
                                    .-= Lisa´s last blog ..Friday Finds – My Mother She Killed Me- My Father He Ate Me =-.

                                    • At 2010.09.25 07:07, bybee said:

                                      Oh, I forgot about Little House, too…I have the whole series.
                                      .-= bybee´s last blog ..What- Ho =-.

                                      (Required, will not be published)

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