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What topped Facebook's 'books that stayed with you' meme around the world?

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James H. Collins/AP

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A few months ago, Facebook status updates began popping up with user's lists of "10 books that have stayed with you," and in early September computational scientists at Facebook released some numbers looking at which books made the most top 10 lists.

The initial data analysis looked at over 130,000 status updates from the last two weeks of August. Yesterday, Facebook posted an updated analysis of the meme looking at the most popular top 10 books from users in other, mostly non-English-language, countries.

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Lada Adamic and Pinkesh Patel, both data scientists at Facebook, said they used the same analysis technique they'd used in September to determine the books that appeared most frequently in user top 10 lists.

For their earlier analysis, Mr. Adamic and Mr. Patel wrote that they "only looked at the English-language version [of the meme], which was dominated by status updates from the US and UK. Since then, the meme has continued to grow, allowing us to examine several additional languages."

Their latest analysis looks at the most popular books in lists from countries where over 20,000 posts were made: four foreign language countries (Italy, Mexico, Brazil, and France) and two additional English-language countries (India and the Philippines).

Many of the books were the same. "Harry Potter" still dominated many of the lists – thanks in part to the data-skewing tendency of users to list multiple Potter books from the seven-book series – but there were also some local favorites.

For Italy, "Harry Potter" topped the list, but Gabriel Garcia Marquez's "100 Years of Solitude" came in second and Oscar Wilde's "The Picture of Dorian Gray" came in third. The one Italian author on the list was Umberto Eco with his novel "The Name of the Rose."

Mr. Marquez was even more popular in Mexico, with "100 Years" topping the list and "Love In The Time of Cholera" coming in sixth. Several other Spanish-language authors also made the top 10, including Carlos Fuentes (with "Aura") and Julio Cortazar (with "Rayuela"). Users in France also named several French-language authors, including Albert Camus for "The Stranger" and Antoine de Saint-Exupery for "Le petit prince," a popular children's book that also appeared on the top 10 lists for Italy, Mexico, the Philippines, and Brazil.

Despite the presence of a few foreign-language authors, most of the lists were still dominated – as with the September analysis – by English fantasy, young adult, and thriller writers, including Suzanne Collins' "Hunger Games" books, the young adult bestseller "The Fault In Our Stars" by John Green, and various thrillers from Dan Brown, including "The Da Vinci Code" and "Angels and Demons."


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