In 2011, a year when consumers unboxed millions of e-readers, fiction dominated even more of USA TODAY’s Best-Selling Books list. Colleague Carol Memmott and I reported today that 78% of the titles in the weekly book lists last year were fiction, up from 67% in 2007. The finding is one of several covered in our annual look at trends off the book list:
“People are interested in escape,” says Carol Fitzgerald of the Book Report Network, websites for book discussions. “In a number of pages, the story will open, evolve and close, and a lot of what’s going on in the world today is not like that. You’ve got this encapsulated escape that you can enjoy.”
We’ve posted the 100 top-selling titles of 2011 in a handy data table that includes the annual lists back to 2007.
The feeling came a few weeks ago as I drove along a back road near the Potomac River. I was in the lowlands, about to cross from Virginia to Maryland, driving alone during a day in which I’d purposely disconnected from email, Twitter and most things digital.
I think we see things differently on those days.
My car rounded a bend, and through the trees I could see the river. The scene was perfection: bare trees arrayed on a grassy plain, standing watch next to the Potomac. If I’d shot a photo, it would have brushed up against Ansel Adams in intent if not quality. It took my breath, and I gave thanks.
Soon I was on a bridge crossing the river and then into Maryland. But the scene stayed in mind as I drove toward my destination, the road now winding through rustic small towns that seemed to take me even farther from the office.
I’ve thought back on those minutes often as 2011 disappeared into time past. I’ve thought how I need many more of those minutes.