Slate explores the cultural implications from Amazon’s list of the year’s best sellers (still being updated as we near the actual end of the year, so the positions fluctuate a bit). In the top ten, The Great Gatsby, shows that “We’ll tolerate the occasional work of actual literature as long as it’s super-short and there’s a movie.”
Are our British cousins any more high brow? Not according to the list from Nielson’s Book Scan (published in the Guardian), where not a single classic appears in the top 100, movie-related or not.
Their list is as influence by popular culture as ours. At #1 is My Autobiography by Alex Ferguson (he’s “the most important football man of the past 25 years,” according to the Guardian‘s own, not particularly admiring, review). The rest of the list is dotted with tv and movie tie-ins.
It seems the Brits are even more obsessed with their weight than we are. The Fast Diet is at #4 on their list, but only comes in at #70 on ours. And, shudder, at #8, there is a book called The Hairy Dieters by some guys formerly known as “The Hairy Bikers,” who seem to have gone through a Paula Deen-like conversion (minus the racial slurs) from a less-than-healthy lifestyle exemplified by their previous titles like The Hairy Bikers’ Perfect Pies (hope they wear hair nets).
Many other titles are recognizable; Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, which made its appearance in the UK in January, comes in at #3. Others, not so much; there’s British comedian/author David Walliams, who has 5 children’s titles on the list, including Gangsta Granny, adapted into a Christmas BBC TV special this year, but not yet available here. (The Guardian offers a deeper dive into the list).
Hope you enjoy making your own cultural comparisons.