AbeBooks' Reading Copy » Polls http://www.abebooks.com/blog AbeBooks book blog Wed, 23 Jul 2014 18:48:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 The 75 Greatest Living Female Authors http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/01/17/the-75-greatest-living-female-authors/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/01/17/the-75-greatest-living-female-authors/#comments Fri, 17 Jan 2014 23:43:59 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=20374 Late last year we asked you, our loyal customers and keen bibliophiles, to name the greatest living female author. We knew J.K. Rowling would lead the votes after the final count, which she did by a country mile, but it was intriguing to see who would be next.

In short, it was Canada who ran closest to the Harry Potter creator, with Margaret ‘Peggy’ Atwood at No. 2 and Alice Munro at three. American Toni Morrison was in fourth place.

Rowling, Atwood, Munro and Morrison garnered the vast majority of the votes between them and there was some distance between them and Joyce Carol Oates, who is followed by Harper Lee, Joan Didion and Zadie Smith. Hilary Mantel and Barbara Kingsolver round out the top 10. Lee makes the list with just a single book to her name, To Kill a Mockingbird published in 1960.

Customers could vote for any living female writer, regardless of genre or standing or her number of published works, so this list is broad and stretches from bestsellers you find by the supermarket checkout to Nobel Prize winners and authors whose books are studied in universities. A number of these authors have been writing for decades and we should applaud the likes of Atwood, Morrison, Munro, Oates, Ursula Le Guin, Penelope Lively and PD James for their ability to regularly produce books that people want to read.

The 75 Greatest Living Female Authors

1. J.K. Rowling – no introduction needed but she is also Robert Galbraith.

2. Margaret Atwood – Canadian icon known for Handmaid’s Tale, Edible Woman.

3. Alice Munro – another Canadian, queen of short stories and Nobel winner.

4. Toni Morrison – Nobel winner in 1993, BelovedThe Bluest Eye and more.

5. Joyce Carol Oates – more than 40 novels since the 1960s.

6. Harper Lee – a true one-hit wonder but what a one-hit wonder!

7. Joan Didion – non-fiction, fiction, screenplays. She can do it all.

8. Zadie Smith – the top-ranked non-Rowling Brit, White Teeth put her on the map.

9. Hilary Mantel – double Booker winner and undisputed queen of historical fiction.

10. Barbara Kingsolver – fiction and non-fiction, Poisonwood Bible and more.

11. Marilynne Robinson – won Pulitzer in 2004, written four outstanding novels.

12. Anne Rice – Gothic fiction and erotica, and lots of die-hard fans.

13. Louise Erdrich – 14 novels with The Round House winning a National Book Award.

14. Anne Tyler – 20 novels including The Accidental Tourist.

15. Jhumpa Lahiri – short stories and novels make her a rising star.

16. Ursula Le Guin – prolific author of science fiction and fantasy, a legend.

17. Annie Proulx – Best known for Shipping News and the Brokeback Mountain short story.

18. Connie Willis – Hugo awarding-winning science fiction.

19. Maya Angelou – seven autobiographies including I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

20. Rose Tremain – written 13 novels since the 1970s.

21. Isabel Allende – the pride of Chile but adored throughout South America.

22. Alice Walker – always remembered for The Color Purple from 1982.

23. Gillian Flynn – Only written three novels but Gone Girl was a bestseller.

24. Donna Tartt – slow but good, just three novels published in three decades.

25. Amy Tan – six novels exploring mother-daughter relationships.

25. Suzanne Collins – young and old are hungry for the Hunger Games trilogy.

26. Elizabeth GilbertEat, Pray, Love has sold and sold and sold.

27. Beverly Cleary – bestselling children’s books with vibrant characters like Ramona Quimby.

28. Geraldine Brooks – Australian journalist with four successful novels.

29. Tamora Pierce – loved by teenagers for her feminist-themed fantasy.

30. Diana Gabaldon – genre-crossing writer famous for the Outlander series.

31. P.D. James – the English crime writer who created Adam Dalgliesh.

32. Sarah Waters – carved her own niche of Victorian-Lesbian fiction.

33. Anne Enright – nurse-turned-novelist best known for The Gathering.

34. Anne Perry – prolific writer of historical detective fiction.

35. Jeanette Winterson – burst onto the scene with Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit.

36. Nadine Gordimer – South African writer known for her political activism.

37. Anna Quindlen – former journalist who writes fiction and non-fiction.

38. Maggie O’Farrell – Northern Irish author of six novels.

39. Eleanor Catton – Her second novel, The Luminaries, won the 2013 Man Booker Prize.

40. Pat Barker – best known for her Regeneration trilogy.

41. Karen Russell – her debut novel, Swamplandia!, was widely acclaimed.

42. Kathy Reichs – a much-loved crime writer and forensic scientist.

43. Ruth Ozeki – Canadian-American novelist known for Tale of the Time Being.

44. Sue Grafton – American detective novelist best known for the Kinsey Millhone series.

45. Edna O’Brien – Irish novelist, memoirist, playwright, poet and short story writer.

46. Miriam Toews – Canadian author with six books to her name.

47. Philippa Gregory – historical novelist famous for the Tudor series.

48. Louise Penny – another Canadian, who pens compelling mystery novels.

49. Ann Patchett – best known for Bel Canto and State of Wonder.

50. Kate AtkinsonLife after Life won the Costa Prize in the UK.

51. Nora Roberts – the No. 1 name in romance (also writes as J.D. Robb).

52. Mary Roach – writes non-fiction with titles like Bonk, Stiff and Spook.

53. Laura Hillenbrand – memorable non-fiction like Seabiscuit and Unbroken.

54. Stephenie Meyer – the Twilight author captured the teen market.

55. Emma Donoghue – seven novels since 1994 but Room is the most popular.

56. Janet Evanovich – sells oodles of Stephanie Plum mysteries.

57. Sue Monk Kidd – Her first novel, The Secret Life of Bees, got her noticed.

58. Judy Blume – someone who has sold 80 million books can’t be bad.

59. Diane Setterfield – this British author is best known for The Thirteenth Tale.

60. Tracy Chevalier – historical novelist with seven books.

61. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – one of Africa’s brightest star with four novels.

62. Penelope Lively – too many books to mention, won Booker in 1987.

63. Mary Higgins Clark – ex-air stewardess who became a bestselling suspense writer.

64. Naomi Klein – three major non-fiction books including No Logo.

65. Jennifer EganA Visit from the Goon Squad won the 2011 Pulitzer for Fiction.

66. Kristine Rusch – talented writer of science fiction, fantasy, mystery and romance.


67. Deborah Harkness – professor of history who has written three novels.

68. Tanith Lee – British writer of sci-fi, horror and fantasy. 90+ novels.

69. S.E. Hinton – she wrote The Outsiders in high school.

70. Ruth Rendell- mystery writer who created Chief Inspector Wexford.

71. Cheryl Strayed – she walked to redemption with Wild.

72. Margaret Weis – expert creator of fantasy worlds.

73. Meg Cabot – best known for the The Princess Diaries.

74. Jodi Picoult – over 20 books and more in the pipeline.

75. Danielle Steel – a woman who needs no introduction.

Notable female writers who did not make the top 75 include Mary Stewart, Donna Leon, AS Byatt, Margaret Drabble, Anita Brookner, PC Cast, Lois Lowry, Joanna Trollope, Jane Urquart, Kate DiCamillo, Kiran Desai, Diana Wynne-Jones and Patricia Cornwell.

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Forgotten classics http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2009/10/20/forgotten-classics/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2009/10/20/forgotten-classics/#comments Tue, 20 Oct 2009 16:33:55 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=7555 The BBC is taking a look at forgotten classics in literature on Radio Four’s Open Book program. They are interviewing 10 British and Irish authors, asking each to suggest the work which they feel is the most under appriciated. After each author has given their pitch the public will be asked to vote on the book they feel is the best example of a forgotten classic. The book which recieves the most votes will be dramatised by Radio Four for our collective listening pleasure.

Forgotten classic books nominees:
William Boyd chose The Polyglots by William Gerhardie
Susan Hill chose The Rector’s Daughter by F M Mayor
Hari Kunzru chose A Hero of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov
Ruth Rendell chose Many Dimensions by Charles Williams
Colm Toibin chose Esther Waters by George Moore
Beryl Bainbridge chose The Quest for Corvo by A J A Symons
Howard Jacobson chose Rasselas by Samuel Johnson
Val McDermid chose Carol by Patricia Highsmith
Michael Morpurgo chose The Snow Goose by Paul Gallico
Joanna Trollope chose Miss Mackenzie by Anthony Trollope

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Family Bookshelves Under Threat http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2009/10/20/booktrust-survey-results/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2009/10/20/booktrust-survey-results/#comments Tue, 20 Oct 2009 16:26:19 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=7586 The UK reading charity Booktrust has just released the results of its survey of over 3,000  children and parents.  While the results show that reading has become more popular with children,  one in 20 families have less than 10 books and only one in three parents read to their children each day. This is particularly sad since 96% of the children said they enjoyed reading and books.

More results from Booktrust’s press release:

• More dads reading with their children than in previous years: 40% increase since September 2008.
• 60% of children like to share a book with their parents/carers as it shows that they like to spend time with them.
• Households with girls have ten more children’s books than those with boys. One in every 20 family homes in
Britain today has fewer than ten books.
• Children enjoying reading more: 96% of all children surveyed say that they enjoy reading, peaking at 99% among
seven year olds and falling to 89% of 12 year olds (overall, this represents a year on year increase of 5%).
• 56% of all parents and carers (and almost half of all parents of 4-5 year olds [48%]) say their child spends more
time facing a screen, playing computer games and watching DVDs rather than reading.
• Parents and carers of boys are twice as likely not to read with them compared to those who have girls.
• Technology, home entertainment and work (through emails and home working) are impacting on book time.
While flexible working is supposed to enable a positive work-life balance, children are increasingly losing out.
• Bookshelves under threat in a third of British homes: one in three parents and carers (34%) say shelves are
increasingly being filled up with DVDs and computer games, especially in homes with older children (this is the
case in 41% of homes of 11-12 year olds).
• The UK’s all time favourite fictional character according to over 1,300 children is Harry Potter, followed by Horrid
Henry and Tracy Beaker. Action heroes Captain Underpants and Ben 10 relegate children’s classic Cinderella and
Peter Pan out of the top 10. Roald Dahl’s characters including Matilda, Charlie (from Charlie and the Chocolate
Factory) and the Fantastic Mr Fox make multiple entries in the top 20 all time favourite characters.

See the full results.

In an effort to encourage more reading, two free books programmes – Booktime and Booked Up – are giving away 2 million free books to schoolchildren across Britain.

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Mr Rochester Most Romantic Literary Character http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2009/10/13/mr-rochester-most-romantic-literary-character/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2009/10/13/mr-rochester-most-romantic-literary-character/#comments Tue, 13 Oct 2009 18:45:27 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=7454 He may be moody and not that handsome but Mr. Rochester from Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre was named the most romantic literary character in a Mills & Boon poll. I guess most people can overlook the insane wife locked up in a room thing.

Mr. Darcy of Pride and Prejudice fame, often a favourite, took third place while Bernard Cornwell’s character Richard Sharpe trumped him at second position.

The results of the survey were announced earlier today at the Cheltenham Literary festival. Apparently guests were served pink champagne by scantily-clad waiters. Interesting . . .

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100 Best Beach Books Ever – Cast Your Vote http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2009/07/16/100-best-beach-books-ever-cast-your-vote/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2009/07/16/100-best-beach-books-ever-cast-your-vote/#comments Thu, 16 Jul 2009 16:57:47 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=6115 NPR is asking its audience for help in naming the best beach books.

From the 600 nominations received, they’ve narrowed the choices to a mere 200 books.  You have ten votes to get your favourites on their final list of the best 100. Winners are to be announced on July 29 so you may want to rush on over to their site and vote now.

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Best of the National Book Awards – 60th anniversary celebration http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2009/07/07/best-of-the-national-book-awards-60th-anniversary-celebration/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2009/07/07/best-of-the-national-book-awards-60th-anniversary-celebration/#comments Tue, 07 Jul 2009 21:13:39 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=5982 gravitys-rainbowThe National Book Awards have acclaimed the finest writing in American literature for decades. To celebrate the 60th anniversary of these awards, the National Book Foundation has today launched a campaign to select the best book from the long list of fiction winners.

John Updike, Ralph Ellison, Thomas Pynchon, Don DeLillo, Susan Sontag, Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, Eudora Welty, John Cheever, William Faulkner, Cormac McCarthy, and E. Annie Proulx are just some of the amazing authors to have been honored over the years. Not a bad list!

shipping-newsThe National Book Awards began in 1950 when The Man With the Golden Arm by Nelson Algren was named America’s best piece of fiction from the previous year and today the Awards are the most important event on the US literary calendar.

AbeBooks is supporting the anniversary, so step back in time and revisit the full list of classic works of fiction honored by the National Book Awards.

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Books Need a Testosterone Boost http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2009/03/25/books-need-a-testosterone-boost/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2009/03/25/books-need-a-testosterone-boost/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2009 16:34:49 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=3870 Apparently, men don’t read as much as women do and one Guardian blogger says “publishers need to ‘re-masculate’ books if they want to get more men reading“.

Even male author Ian McEwan abandons his gender stating,   “when women stop reading, the novel will be dead“.

What gives credence to these observations is the results of a recent UK survey on reading habits.  48% of women surveyed fell into an Avid Reader category compared to only 26% of men.  Not to be insulting but 32% of men were classed as “Slow Worms” while only 18% of women were catagorized this way. (Slow Worms are people who read only one or two books a year but do so thoroughly.)

How can publishers attract more male readership? The Guardian blogger suggests one way may be to follow the example of the culinary world with its promotion of male chefs such as  Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver.

Read the full blog post.

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Oddest Title of the Year – Voting Ends Friday! http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2009/03/24/oddest-title-of-the-year-voting-ends-friday/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2009/03/24/oddest-title-of-the-year-voting-ends-friday/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2009 14:26:30 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=3830 baboonIf you haven’t yet voted on the Bookseller/Diagram Prize for Oddest Title of the Year there’s still time! The poll is open until Friday, March 27.

The nominees for the 2008 prize are:

  1. Baboon Metaphysics by  Dorothy L Cheney and Robert M Seyfarth
  2. Curbside Consultation of the Colon by Brooks D Cash
  3. The Large Sieve and its Applications by Emmanuel Kowalski
  4. Strip and Knit with Style by Mark Hordyszynski
  5. Techniques for Corrosion Monitoring by Lietai Yang
  6. The 2009-2014 World Outlook for 60-milligram Containers of Fromage Frais by Professor Philip M Parker

The Prize for Oddest Title of the Year began in 1978 at the Frankfurt Book Fair when publisher Bruce Robertson added it to the venue for entertainment value.  The next year,  Horace Bent, the diarist of British literary magazine The Bookseller organized the event.

You can cast your vote at http://www.thebookseller.com/

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What Should the Avid Reader Book Club Read in April? http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2009/03/12/what-should-the-avid-reader-book-club-read-in-april/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2009/03/12/what-should-the-avid-reader-book-club-read-in-april/#comments Thu, 12 Mar 2009 21:41:06 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=3575 We need your help in deciding what the Avid Reader Book Club will read during April!  Voting is simple – we have a poll open in our Community Forums where you can let us know your choice.

The choices were inspired by our recent feature, Top Ten Funniest Books According to the British.

The nominated books are:

A) Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jeromethree-men-boat-jerome
Jerome K. Jerome’s comic classic Three Men in a Boat (To say nothing of the Dog!) is unsinkable. One of the most widely read and beloved works of British fiction it has never fallen out of print since it first came out in 1889, but rather has been translated into many languages and even turned into a teleplay by Tom Stoppard.

The most ordinary circumstances turn hilarious as J., an idler who exhibits a “general disinclination to work of any kind,” and his friends journey up the Thames River. Getting into many scrapes along the way, the friends consider “assaulting a policeman” just to have “a night’s lodging in the station-house,” when they get lost, but ultimately reject the proposition, fearful that he would hit them back without locking them up. The real scene stealer, though, is Montmorency, a small fox terrier who appears to be “born with about four times as much original sin in [him] as other dogs are.”

B) My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell my-family-other-animals-durrell
When the unconventional Durrell family can no longer endure the damp, gray English climate, they do what any sensible family would do: sell their house and relocate to the sunny Greek isle of Corfu. My Family and Other Animals was intended to embrace the natural history of the island but ended up as a delightful account of Durrell’s family’s experiences, from the many eccentric hangers-on to the ceaseless procession of puppies, toads, scorpions, geckoes, ladybugs, glowworms, octopuses, bats, and butterflies into their home.

C) Thank You, Jeeves! by P.G. Wodehousethank-you-jeeves-wodehouse
Thank You, Jeeves is the first novel to feature the incomparable valet Jeeves and his hapless charge Bertie Wooster – and you’ve hardly started to turn the pages when he resigns over Bertie’s dedicated but somewhat untuneful playing of the banjo. In high dudgeon, Bertie disappears to the country as a guest of his chum Chuffy – only to find his peace shattered by the arrival of his ex-fiancée Pauline Stoker, her formidable father and the eminent loony-doctor Sir Roderick Glossop. When Chuffy falls in love with Pauline and Bertie seems to be caught in flagrante, a situation boils up which only Jeeves (whether employed or not) can simmer down…

Our poll is only open until Wednesday, March 18 so vote soon! We’ll announce the winning book shortly after that date.

Thanks for your help!

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Books Britons Lie About Having Read http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2009/03/05/books-britons-lie-about-having-read/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2009/03/05/books-britons-lie-about-having-read/#comments Thu, 05 Mar 2009 14:52:40 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=3354 orwell-1984

Collectible Nineteen Eighty-Four by Orwell - A Copy You Might Want to Keep on the Shelf Without Reading

In a UK survey of 1,342 on the World Book Day website , 65% of respondents admitted to saying they had read a book that they hadn’t.

The number one book they lied about was George Orwell’s Ninteen Eighty-Four (42% said they lied about having read it). Other top false reads include:

War and Peace by Tolstoy (31%)

Ulysses by James Joyce (25%)

The Bible (24%)

Other interesting tidbits that came out of the survey are:

48% of those surveyed admitted to reading a book purchased as a gift for someone else before giving it to the recipient.

61% said that they really enjoyed JK Rowling as an author and 32%, John Grisham.

14% confessed to writing in a library book. (GASP!)

A horrifying 62% admitted to dog-earing pages to save their place as opposed to using some form of bookmark!

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