Books: Tuesday Thingers: Most Popular Book?

June 17, 2008

TuesdayThingers!I participate in LibraryThing’s Tuesday Thingers group–a weekly blogging exercise. This week’s question:

Today’s Question: What’s the most popular book in your library? Have you read it? What did you think? How many users have it? What’s the most popular book you don’t have? How does a book’s popularity figure into your decisions about what to read?

Rather uninspiringly, it’s Tolkein’s The Hobbit (21357 other LibraryThing users have it in their libraries). I read it when I was about ten or eleven and distinctly remember not liking it terribly much. Wishing to give Tolkien a much-deserved do-over, I read Fellowship of the Ring in December of last year. I didn’t budge too much. While I like Tolkien’s attention to mythological heritage and imaginary geography, I’m not partial to the rampaging warfare nor the male-centric-ness of Middle Earth. I don’t see myself as a raging feminist, but seriously. The only female characters in Tolkien (at least, what I’ve read) seem to exist to wear diaphanous gowns and sing gently in vales.

The most popular books I don’t own are the entire Harry Potter series. Does not run up my proverbial alley whatsoever. I have read 18 of the 25 most popular books (and, remember, six of the top 25 are Harry Potter books).

A book’s popularity does not have a strong impact on my reading decisions. In fact, until I did a bit of click-research for this post, I didn’t even know where to find out what my popular books were.


  1. I hadn’t ever considered middle earth being so very male-centered. I guess it is, to an extent, but there is also Arwyn the Elf Princess of Rivendell, Galadriel the queen elf of Lothlorien, and Éowyn the princess of Rohan. They were all pretty strong female characters.

    Very interesting blog. I like the differences in our thinking. :-D

  2. LisaLynne says:

    > The only female characters in Tolkien (at least, what I’ve read) seem to exist to wear diaphanous gowns and sing gently in vales.

    Not treu – you forgot Eowyn! She rides into battle and slays the Witch-King of the Nazgul!

    Of course, she has to dress up as a guy to do it.

    We’ve got very similar opinions on this point, although I found reasons to love Tolkein anyway. YMMV.

  3. Lyza Gardner says:

    Oh, I realize I’m in the minority here!

    I thought Galadriel was somewhat interesting but kind of meek and delicate. But that was just my hit. I realize half the earth or however many people love these books cannot be wrong. I’m contrary like that.

  4. Kathleen says:

    I do see what you’re saying about weak females. Arwen doesn’t do much, although she gives up her immortality which does take guts. Eowyn as mentioned above does end up killing the Witch King. Galadriel actually was a kinslayer (meaning she killed other elves in a time of war)… I think that’s mentioned more in the prior books.

    But yeah, I remember being disappointed about the lack of strong girls :)

    I kinda felt that way about the HP books too…. while there were some good female characters, the main ones were overwhelming male.

  5. In regards to which books I have listed in LT that are most popular, I didn’t know where to look at first either. It took a little bit of searching.

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