College Book Popularity: Thumbtyper Research

January 14, 2021

I am not sure how to interpret the information in “The Most Popular College Books.” First, there is a difference between reading a book and including the book on a list. How many thumbtypers have read De La Démocratie en Amérique? I remember seeing most of the students in my class in American history with those cheerful summaries available at the bookstore near the campus. There were a couple of people with the one volume abridged edition. Should I name the student who had the two volume edition in French? Nope, not making this write up about me.

A list is something easy to digest; for example, a list of Tesla models. The approach in the write up is to convert lists into wonky panels of thumbnails and narrative passages. If you have the time and thumbtypers’ skill at navigating most illegible icons, you will love this write up.

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Some of the data in the list is downright amazing. The potboiler “Story of an Hour” is “the most assigned work of literature.” Okay. A spin on an O. Henry story call “The Gift of the Magi.” But American literature’s best? Sure.

I worked on an advanced degree at a Jesuit college. Let me tell you that most of the graduate students I encountered had never read Nicomachean Ethics in any form. Today it’s moving up the popularity list. Believe it or not. Ethics: Definitely a hot topic today. Gee, I wonder why? Maybe the answer is in De La Démocratie en Amérique or “Story of an Hour.”

Stephen E Arnold, January 14, 2021

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