A World of Beloved Books (According to Facebook)

In all six nations the company examined, a boy wizard leads the way.

A boy reads the final Harry Potter book at a store in Mumbai on the day of its global release. (Punit Paranjpe/Reuters)

What books have stayed with you?

It’s a simple but powerful question. Over the summer, it swept through Facebook, and hundreds of thousands of users listed 10 books that had moved them. “They do not have to be the ‘right’ books or great works of literature,” instructed the most popular version of the viral status game, “just ones that have affected you in some way.”

Back in September, Facebook tallied up the results of that status game worldwide. Its findings? The Harry Potter series, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Lord of the Rings, and Pride and Prejudice led the way. They were followed by none other than the Bible.

Since then, the game has gotten bigger, spreading to other countries and languages. In a new blog post, Facebook has unveiled which books are beloved in nations that have had 20,000 or more responses—that is, France, India, Italy, Mexico, Brazil, and the Philippines.

What did they find? In those six nations—as in the U.S. and U.K.-dominated first tally—the Boy Who Lives dominates. Readers in Mexico and Italy revere Gabriel Garcia Marquez, whose One Hundred Years of Solitude ranked only #38 in the first list. And readers in many places are fond of a Stephen King book that in English is known as It—but which, in French, becomes the equally concise Ça. (Also interesting: Except in India, the Deep South-focused To Kill a Mockingbird is nowhere to be found.)

The top-ten lists for the six countries are below; Facebook has the full list for each country on its site. I always enjoy data investigations like this: The stakes are low, and we tend to take the results with a grain of salt anyway. One list of “best” or “affecting” or “most popular” books is just as fallible as any other, and it should less dictate our future reading list than give us insight into what fellow readers are thinking about. For me, too, it brings up all the questions of what Facebook knows and can know—if its scientists can survey our (anonymized) statuses, what else might it do?

The statuses originally appeared in the languages given below; in two of the countries (India and the Philippines), Facebook surveyed only English-language statuses.


  1. The Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling
  2. Cent'anni di solitudine, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  3. Il ritratto di Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde
  4. Orgoglio e pregiudizio, Jane Austen
  5. Il signore degli anelli, J.R.R. Tolkien
  6. Il cacciatore di aquiloni, Khaled Hosseini
  7. Il nome della rosa, Umberto Eco
  8. Il piccolo principe, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
  9. Se questo è un uomo, Primo Levi
  10. Mille splendidi soli, Khaled Hosseini


  1. Cien años de soledad, Gabriel García Márquez
  2. El principito, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
  3. Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling
  4. El perfume, Patrick Süskind
  5. Aura, Carlos Fuentes
  6. El amor en los tiempos del cólera, Gabriel García Márquez
  7. Rayuela, Julio Cortázar
  8. El diario de Ana Frank, Ana Frank
  9. La tregua, Mario Benedetti
  10. It, Stephen King

The Philippines:

  1. The Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling
  2. The Fault in Our Stars, John Green
  3. The Hunger Games Trilogy, Suzanne Collins
  4. The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
  5. Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Albom
  6. The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom
  7. Divergent Trilogy, Veronica Roth
  8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky
  9. Looking for Alaska, John Green
  10. Percy Jackson Series, Rick Riordan


  1. Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling
  2. A Culpa é das Estrelas, John Green
  3. O Pequeno Príncipe, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
  4. A menina que roubava livros, Markus Zusak
  5. A Cabana, William P. Young
  6. O Caçador de Pipas, Khaled Hosseini
  7. Jogos Vorazes, Suzanne Collin
  8. A Seleção, Kiera Cass
  9. Coração de Tinta, Cornelia Funke
  10. Bíblia


  1. Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling
  2. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
  3. The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini
  4. A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini
  5. The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown
  6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
  7. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
  8. Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  9. Angels and Demons, Dan Brown
  10. The Fault in Our Stars, John Green


  1. Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling
  2. Le petit prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
  3. Ça, Stephen King
  4. Le seigneur des anneaux, J.R.R. Tolkien
  5. Les fleurs du mal, Charles Baudelaire
  6. 1984, George Orwell
  7. L'alchimiste, Paulo Coelho
  8. L'étranger, Albert Camus
  9. Les fourmis, Bernard Werber
  10. Le parfum, Patrick Süskind