The Top Top Ten List Combined BYU–Idaho Faculty Surveys from 2007 & 2013
1. The Lord of the Rings, by J. R. R. Tolkien 2. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee 3. Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor E. Frankl 4. Les Misérables, by Victor Hugo 5. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen 6. Jesus the Christ, by James E. Talmage 7. The Hiding Place, by Corrie Ten Boom 8. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain 9. Mere Christianity, by C. S. Lewis 10. The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne
1 Favorite Authors These are the top ten authors, ranked according to the total number of people who mentioned them. As you can see, there were two ties! FYI: There were 104 faculty members who participated in the studies.
1. C. S. Lewis (25) 2. J. R. R. Tolkien (24) 3. Harper Lee (21) 4. Charles Dickens (20) 5. Jane Austen (19) 6. Victor Hugo (18) 7. Viktor Frankl (17) 8. William Shakespeare (16) 9. Corrie ten Boom (13) James E. Talmage (13) 10. John Steinbeck (12) Mark Twain (12)
Most Works Cited These are the authors who had the most works cited. We have included the number of books after each author’s name. In the case of ties, we have listed the authors alphabetically. Oh, we excluded series and collected works, as that simply made tallying the responses impossible!
C. S. Lewis (8) Tom Clancy (7) Louis L’Amour (7) Stephen R. Covey (6) Charles Dickens (6) William Shakespeare (6) Og Mandino (5) James A. Michener (5) John Steinbeck (5) J. R. R. Tolkien (5)
2 One Hit Wonders These are books that were mentioned by only one person in the either the 2007 or 2013 survey—and in the top-ranked slot! We have put them in alphabetical order.
The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time, by Jonathan Weiner Beyond Culture, by Edward Twitchell Hall The Bridge of San Luis Rey, by Thornton Wilder Catch-22, by Joseph Heller The Chosen, by Chaim Potok The Chronicles of Prydain, by Lloyd Alexander The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America, by Erik Larson Drawing on the Powers of Heaven, by Grant Von Harrison Hamlet’s Mill: An Essay Investigating the Origins of Human Knowledge and Its Transmission Through Myth, by Giorgio De Santillana and Hertha Von Dechend I and Thou, by Martin Buber Influencer: The Power to Change Anything, by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, by LeGrand Richards The Missing Piece Meets the Big O, by Shel Silverstein Mr. Bear Squash-You-All-Flat, by Morrell Gipson On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, by Charles Darwin Paradigms: The Business of Discovering the Future, by Joel A. Barker Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life, by Thich Nhat Hanh Persuasion, by Jane Austen The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett Please Understand Me: Character and Temperament Types, by David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates The Prince, by Niccolo Machiavelli Reaper Man, by Terry Pratchett The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, by Nicholas Carr Tom Corbett, Space Cadet Adventures, by Carey Rockwell
3 Women’s Top Ten Here are top ten lists separated by sex. FYI: 44 women and 60 men participated in the surveys.
1. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee 2. Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor E. Frankl 3. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen 4. Les Misérables, by Victor Hugo 5. The Hiding Place, by Corrie ten Boom 6. Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte 7. Jesus the Christ, by James E. Talmage 8. Beloved, by Toni Morrison 9. Mere Christianity, by C. S. Lewis The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck 10. The Lord of the Rings, by J. R. R. Tolkien The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Men’s Top Ten 1. The Lord of the Rings, by J. R. R. Tolkien 2. Les Misérables, by Victor Hugo Paradise Lost, by John Milton 3. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain 4. Jesus the Christ, by James E. Talmage 5. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee 6. Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor E. Frankl 7. King Lear, by William Shakespeare 8. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values, by Robert M. Pirsig 9. Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, by Herman Melville 10. Mere Christianity, by C. S. Lewis Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoevsky Walden, by Henry David Thoreau
4 Top Fifty (well, Fifty-one!) In 2005, when we celebrated the 200th anniversary of Joseph Smith’s birth, the BYU Magazine honored the Prophet’s legacy. In the fall issue, there was an article written by John S. Tanner, the Academic Vice President of BYU, which considered the life of the prophet and the importance of learning by study and also by faith. Here is a brief excerpt:
The Prophet taught the early Saints to gather up knowledge and books and bring them to Zion. I am moved every time I visit the Seventies Hall in Nauvoo, which houses a library containing copies of some of the books collected and studied by early LDS missionaries so that they might “be prepared in all things.” The Prophet himself contributed 50 books to establish an early lending library. “In view of the losses the Prophet suffered during the Missouri persecutions,” wrote one historian, “one cannot help but marvel at the library he had gathered since then.” By the time of the exodus, the Seventies Library contained 675 volumes; this was “taken west to become the nucleus of the first library in Utah and reportedly the first one west of the Missouri River.” Having hauled heavy books from place to place during my days as a poor graduate student, I am moved by the thought that the pioneers lugged books across the plains, along with plows and bedding. In the words of one writer:
Behind them they would leave the beautiful city. . . . But in their wagons, packed away with their essential tools and seed grain, were their beloved books, the tools and seed grain for the future schools and libraries of Utah.
As a group, we identified about 750 books that we have loved—which is a bit more than the number of books in the Seventies Hall. Still, we thought it would be fun to make a list of the top 50 as a tribute to Joseph Smith. (Actually, there was a tie at the final spot, so the list has 51.) These are in ranked order, ignoring the ties.
1. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, by J. R. R. Tolkien 2. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee 3. Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor E. Frankl 4. Les Misérables, by Victor Hugo 5. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen 6. Jesus the Christ, by James E. Talmage 7. The Hiding Place, by Corrie ten Boom 8. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain 9. Mere Christianity, by C. S. Lewis 10. The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne 11. Paradise Lost, by John Milton 12. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck 13. King Lear, by William Shakespeare 14. The Chronicles of Narnia, by C. S. Lewis 15. The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas 16. Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte 17. The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoevsky 18. The Screwtape Letters, by C. S. Lewis 19. A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens 20. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
5 21. Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson, by Mitch Albom 22. The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien 23. Leadership and Self-deception: Getting Out of the Box, by The Arbinger Institute 24. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values, by Robert M. Pirsig 25. Hamlet, by William Shakespeare 26. Moby-Dick, by Herman Melville 27. Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens 28. A Disciple’s Life: The Biography of Neal A. Maxwell, by Bruce C. Hafen 29. Walden, by Henry David Thoreau 30. Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes 31. Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card 32. Anne of Green Gables, by Lucy Maud Montgomery 33. Tess of the d’Urbervilles, by Thomas Hardy 34. The Divine Comedy, by Dante Alighieri 35. Death Comes for the Archbishop, by Willa Cather 36. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, by Stephen R. Covey 37. David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens 38. A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens 39. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, by Annie Dillard 40. Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoevsky 41. My Ántonia, by Willa Cather 42. The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway 43. Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage, by Alfred Lansing 44. 1776, by David McCullough 45. Life of Heber C. Kimball, by Orson F. Whitney 46. The Agony and the Ecstasy: A Biographical Novel of Michelangelo, by Irving Stone 47. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini 48. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel García Márquez 49. The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson, by Emily Dickinson 50. Dandelion Wine, by Ray Bradbury 51. Angle of Repose, by Wallace Stegner