A new poll released today reveals that—shocker!—the Bible remains Americans' favorite book. It’s always a bit presumptuous to outline any kind of cultural DNA from a list, though foreign favorite lists can be useful as a measure of just how little literature makes it overseas. (How many Americans have read the most-beloved novel in Australia, Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet*?) But there are some interesting additions and some even more interesting omissions from this year’s list. Among those that have dropped off since the poll was last conducted in 2008: Stephen King’s The Stand, Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons; and, perhaps most significantly of all, Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.
Maybe it's the shitty movie adaptations. Maybe it's the terrible politicians who keep promoting it. Maybe it's just too old-fashioned for modern readers. But Atlas Shrugged losing its toehold on lists of influential books is great news for the future of America.
* Incidentally, I've read Cloudstreet and it's very good. Tim Winton is a terrific author who is seriously under-appreciated in America.