“Because sometimes things happen to people …”

By Toby Manhire In Books, The Internaut

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31st May, 2013 Leave a Comment

The behemoth of book sellers, Amazon.com offers a host of lists reflecting the popularity of its titles. The newest of its charts detail the passages highlighted by US owners of the Kindle e-book reader.

Little surprise that the book in which most words are highlighted overall is the Holy Bible.

More interesting is second place: the biography of Apple founder Steve Jobs.

But when it comes to the passages themselves, the most highlighted of all comes from Catching Fire, the second book of the Hunger Games series:

Because sometimes things happen to people and they’re not equipped to deal with them.

Indeed, 26 of the top 50 are drawn from Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games series for young adults, suggesting, writes Noreen Malone in The New Republic, that “Americans are mostly obsessed with teenagers and dystopias”.

The rest of the top 50 is almost entirely self-help titles and 19th-century classics. Why?

Bestsellers will naturally have the greatest number of underlines, and there are certain kinds of bestsellers that are more likely to be read digitally. These include books aimed at teenagers that a massive number of adults have embraced (potentially embarrassing), books in the public domain (free), and self-help books (potentially embarrassing). Taken together, they suggest that your average Kindle reader is a creature caught in permanent adolescence, but yearning to improve. Oh, and he’s cheap.

 

The top 10 highlighted passages on Kindle

 

1

Because sometimes things happen to people and they’re not equipped to deal with them.

Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games) by Suzanne Collins (highlighted by 17,784 users)

2

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (9260)

3

The rules of the Hunger Games are simple. In punishment for the uprising, each of the twelve districts must provide one girl and one boy, called tributes, to participate. The twenty-four tributes will be imprisoned in a vast outdoor arena that could hold anything from a burning desert to a frozen wasteland. Over a period of several weeks, the competitors must fight to the death. The last tribute standing wins.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (9031)

4

It takes ten times as long to put yourself back together as it does to fall apart.

Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games) by Suzanne Collins (8833)

5

“I just want to spend every possible minute of the rest of my life with you,” Peeta replies.

Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games) by Suzanne Collins (8500)

6

“I wish I could freeze this moment, right here, right now, and live in it forever,” he says.

Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games) by Suzanne Collins (8473)

7                                                   

Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (8437)

8

Life in District 12 isn’t really so different from life in the arena. At some point, you have to stop running and turn around and face whoever wants you dead.

Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games) by Suzanne Collins (8223)

9

“Having an eye for beauty isn’t the same thing as a weakness,” Peeta points out. “Except possibly when it comes to you.”

Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games) by Suzanne Collins (7900)

10

I am not pretty. I am not beautiful. I am as radiant as the sun.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (7519)

 

See also: the Banana slice and the Amazon review hall of fame

More by Toby Manhire

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