|Mrs Palfrey At The Claremont||9||6|
|A Month in the Country||8.5||3|
|The hare with amber eyes||8.25||1||1|
|Things Fall Apart||8.25||2||1|
|The Dark Room: A Novel||8|
|The Heart is a Lonely Hunter||7|
|The Garden of Evening Mists||6.75||1|
|These is My Words||6||1|
|A Long Way Down||6||1|
The table shows the books read by Try Books! in 2013 and their median scores, along with the number of times someone gave it their highest or lowest rating for the year (remember ties!) Previous analysis indicates that the median is a good enough indicator for our purposes.
Elizabeth Taylor and Mrs Palfrey At The Claremont are the clear winners here, while Knut Hamsun and Hunger were rather less successful.
|Palfrey||Ali, Judy, Suzannah||Howard, Stephanie|
|Other||Christine, Linda||Aruni, Dick, Jo, Jocelyn|
The table above classifies people according to whether Mrs Palfrey and Hunger were indeed their best and worst books respectively. As ever, this was complicated by not everyone having read (scored) every book, but Ali, Judy and Suzannah seem to be safely established as representatives of mainstream opinion.
It might be that the books which appear in both ‘Best’ and ‘Worst’ categories are good for provoking discussion, but in quite a few cases the dissenting opinion was actually submitted by email, and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter was very fruitful in provoking discussion, which you would hardly glean from the table.
Comparing this with the previous results suggests that the most popular books are those that people will engage with simply because they deal with human experience, even though as in If This Is A Man they don’t have to be fiction, while genre fiction (These Is My Words) and high-concept productions (A Long Way Down) don’t do very well.