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Whitcoulls Top 100: Kiwis prefer young adult & classics

Whitcoulls Top 100 List reveals Kiwis prefer to read young adult and classic novels

To compile their Top 100 List for 2014, Whitcoulls again asked New Zealanders to vote for their favourite books and authors. And while classic novels continue to appeal to Kiwi readers, 2014 marks a significant new trend – the increasing popularity of novels for young adults.

Whitcoulls Head Book Buyer, Joan Mackenzie, believes that the reason young adult novels are becoming more widely read is that many parents are now reading the same books as their teens. Mackenzie says that this is “possibly driven by film versions of those books (The Hunger Games, Divergent series, for example) and of course, the John Green phenomenon with his mega bestselling novel, The Fault in Our Stars.”

Green’s novel claims the number one spot in this year’s Top 100 and Mackenzie believes that “the popular enthusiasm for it, combined with a wide-age range readership – and then the recent film – have propelled it into the top spot. Green’s first book Looking for Alaska also features strongly in the Top 100, coming in at number 28.

In second place is perennial favourite, Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief and in third position is Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings series. Tolkien’s series remains the single most popular book since Whitcoulls started compiling their Top 100 Books in 1996 and has now appeared in the top ten of that list for the eighteenth time; Tolkien ranks as New Zealanders tenth favourite author.

Another milestone in 2014 is the fact that it is the first time in the history of the Whitcoulls Top 100 that a New Zealand novel has made it into the top ten, with Eleanor Catton’s award-winning novel The Luminaries, storming on to the list to claim the number six spot.

”Almost 30 percent of the 2014 Top 100 List is different from 2013”, says Mackenzie, “which goes to show that the most loved books have hugely enduring appeal and resonate with readers for a very long time.” She went on to say that it is “interesting to see the classics feature so strongly – though Pride and Prejudice has been bumped out of the Top 10, coming in at number 11, which is down five places since last year.”

And while Catton’s novel has won approval with Kiwis, a number of books have dropped out of the Top 100 altogether, significantly The Edmonds Cookbook. This is the first time New Zealand’s ‘food bible’ has not made it in to the Whitcoulls Top 100 List.

Other interesting facts about the Top 100 List for 2014 include:

• The distinct lack of non-fiction spread across the Top 100; the top ranked non-fiction title is the Bible, which didn’t make it in to the top 20, positioned at number 23.

The 50 Shades of Grey series has slumped from 21st to 53rd place since 2013.

• Two New Zealand health specialists have made it in to the Top 100; Dr Libby Weaver with her book Beauty from the Inside Out at number 35 and Jason Shon Bennett’s Eat Less Live Long at number 87.

Mackenzie says that “overall, it is a really interesting mix of books and tells us that people are reading as much – and as well – as ever. And wonderful new books which really capture the public’s imagination can find a place alongside others which have been around for years.”

The Top 100 books are available now at Whitcoulls stores nationwide and available online at www.whitcoulls.co.nz.

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