After my initial question to the people I know about what their favourite books are, I decided to create a survey about classic literature to get a better understanding of what people have read.
I shared my survey with my friends and they shared it with people they know, my mum sent it around her work so I’d have responses from a variety of ages and backgrounds.
In the end I got 48 responses which I thought was a good mix.
I decided against asking for personal information such as age, gender, ethnicity, etc. on my survey because I wanted to gather general public opinion and didn’t want these categories to affect the way I saw the results. I wanted it to be based on people’s opinions and not judged by their age or gender.
I thought that almost all of these books were very well known so I was surprised at the difference between how many people had read them. I noticed that the ones that are the most read have all been on the school curriculum at some point. I studied Lord of the Flies and Of Mice and Men in school so I expected all respondents my age to tick them as they were mandatory for English GCSE.
I was surprised how few people said they’d read Moby Dick. It’s always been one I thought lots of people had read so I thought more of my respondents would have. This could be one to focus on because it’s one that I love immensely that few people, according to my results, have read.
There wasn’t a single book on my list that was unread which I thought interesting. Even the books I considered lesser known are still being read.
45.83% of respondents said they enjoyed all of the classics they had read and 52.08% said they enjoyed some of them. I think this is a promising statistic because it may mean that my target audience is more open to reading the books I’m making than I originally thought.
Not a single respondent said they enjoyed none of the books which means that if I create a variety of books, it is highly likely that the people I show them to will like at least one.
Many people say they don’t have the time to read more of these books. As this has come up as a common problem, it will be one of the ones I will try to find a solution to in my work. I think because we all live such busy lives and a lot of these books are very big, the more engaging a book is, the more likely you are to want to read it and get back to it ASAP.
Many people say they would like to read more so they are potential people I could reach with my work. I know, personally, when I see a book that I’ve been wanting for a while with a really nice cover or bind, it can be the tipping point to me buying it.
Having more time came up again in this question fairly often so it’s definitely going to be something to keep in mind during this project.
Almost everyone had a different idea on what made a book a classic. The three factors most said were good writing, a compelling story that can reach a wide audience and it’s still relevant. I think that it’s a mix of these and many more that make a book a classic, if it were these three factors alone, there would be a lot more books regarded as classics.
I left many books out of question 1 to see how many people would pick up on it and what they thought of the list I had created. The majority of books on the list were American or English and a lot of children’s literature was left out. I also left out things like Harry Potter that have only been called classics recently.
I think this worked very well because many respondents gave me a list of the ones I thought I’d left out and some of them I’d never even heard of. This helped to expand my definition of classics and made me realise that I will have to only focus on a few books.
There were a few respondents who didn’t think I’d missed any so they are people I could potentially reach with classics they haven’t heard of.
How to cut these books down to only a few is something I’m going to have to think carefully about. I need to think about why I want people to read these books and whether I should bring attention to the lesser know classics or classics that aren’t English or American.