Full article in Telegraph.co.uk:
TOP 10 MOST INSPIRATIONAL READS
1. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee (1960)
2. The Bible
3. A Child Called It – Dave Pelzer (2001)
4. Men are from mars, Women are from Venus – John Gray (1993)
5. Diary of Anne Frank – Anne Frank (1947)
6. 1984 – George Orwell (1949)
7. A Long Walk to Freedom – Nelson Mandela (2002)
8. The Beach – Alex Garland (1994)
9. The Time Travellers Wife – Audrey Niffenegger (2005)
10. The Catcher in the Rye – J D Salinger (1951
I've read five of these: To Kill a Mockingbird (multiple times), Diary of Anne Frank, 1984, The Time Traveller's Wife and The Catcher in the Rye.
Mockingbird doesn't surprise me, though it's not the only book to address racial issues in the South. It's not the best, either. It just happens to be one of the more accessible ones. If you ask me, Faulkner's Intruder in the Dust leaves Mockingbird by the wayside. But fewer people have read Faulkner than Lee. Lee wrote a great book. Faulkner wrote a masterpiece.
What does surprise me is Mockingbird beat out the Bible. Interesting. Maybe it's all that smiting that makes people uncomfortable. That, and the inadvisability of all those fun things. Like lust, gluttony and coveting.
Anne Frank, 1984 … I can see those two. Anne Frank was a remarkable young woman who lived through a period of true horror. Well, she almost made it through. And 1984? Alive and well in 2009. That one will never be irrelevant.
But Time Traveller's Wife? and The Catcher in the Rye? No comprendo. TTW was partially set in my undergrad alma mater. Or at least it references it. That makes it interesting to me, but though it was a good read it didn't inspire me.
Catcher … I re-read that last year and was underwhelmed. So, so many coming of age books do it better. A Separate Peace, for one.
This seems like a popularity contest. It's the sort of list people come up with when they haven't read an awful lot of books but can name a few they know the populace considers classic. Well, save TTW. That one boggles me.
But it's a book list, and I like book lists. It's just a weird one.