The Dymocks Top 101 survey is the largest of its kind in Australia and provides a unique snapshot of the nation’s reading habits.
Now in its 10th year, a record number of 141,485 votes were cast by booklovers for their favourite book of all time, a 15 per cent increase on last year.
Topping the list is multiple-award winner All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2015 and has gone on to sell over 200,000 copies in Australia.
After debuting on last year’s Top 101 at no. 21, All the Light We Cannot See narrowly beat The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, which previously held the top spot for three years running.
Ali Hammond, Dymocks National Category Manager, says that both of these books tell haunting stories of resistance during war time which seem to resonate with today’s readers.
“Both these books are word-of-mouth bestsellers and their popularity continues to grow. They are unique in that they appeal to such a wide range of readers and that you won’t hesitate in recommending them.”
Australian readers are big fans of home-grown talent. Twenty nine Australian books make the list, an increase of 31 per cent on last year.
“Half of the top 10 and nearly two thirds of the top 20 books are by Australian authors. It’s a real testament to the talent of our local writers,” adds Ali.
Highest ranking Aussie authors include Markus Zusak (The Book Thief at no. 2), M.L. Stedman (The Light Between the Oceans at no.5), Hannah Kent (Burial Rites at no. 6), Graeme Simsion (The Rosie Project at no.8), Anh Do (The Happiest Refugee at no. 9).
Ali Hammond says a clear trend in the Top 101 is powerful Australian female fiction.
Big Little Lies by The New York Times best-seller Liane Moriarty comes in at no. 17. Released three years ago, Dymocks has sold over 25,000 copies and it’s recently been made into a successful TV mini-series starring Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon.
With three books on the list this year Liane Moriarty has tapped into a passionate readership that won’t die down any time soon, says Ali.
Hannah Kent’s award-winning historical literature has also proved popular with booklovers. Burial Rites is at no.6 and The Good People at no. 19.
Film tie-ins remain popular with six of the top 10 books making the leap on to the big screen. The Girl on the Train jumped 32 places to come in at no. 3.
Sales of the book went through the roof last year with the much-hyped release of the movie. Ali Hammond says Paula Hawkins fans have a lot to look forward to this year with the release of her new novel Into the Water in May 2017.
“In 2016, for 48 out of 52 weeks there was at least one version of The Girl on the Train in the Fiction Bestseller chart so fans will be clamouring to get this new story,” adds Ali.
Me Before You by JoJo Moyes makes its debut at no. 7 this year, despite being released five years ago. The movie release last year gave it a huge boost.
“We’ve also recently seen a spike in sales of dystopian classic Nineteen Eighty-Four (no. 10) which has regained cultural currency since Trump’s inauguration,” reports Ali.
However, with a record 57 new books on the list it seems that recent reads have a clear advantage when it comes time to voting.
Two books making recent waves are The Dry by Jane Harper at no. 16 and Fight Like a Girl, Clementine Ford’s feminist rallying cry at no. 43. Aussie songwriter Holly Throsby’s compelling debut novel Goodwood is no. 90.
Seven authors have multiple entries on the list, most with two books, but blockbuster authors Liane Moriarty and JK Rowling (one under her pseudonym Robert Galbraith) both have three.
The list is split fairly evenly between male (54 books) and female authors (47 books) with 11 of the top 20 books written by women.
Adult titles make up 88 per cent of the list and children’s/young adult the remaining 12 per cent. The Harry Potter series is the highest children’s listing at no. 4, up two places from last year. For the first time poetry has made the list – Milk and Honey by Instagram sensation Rupi Kaur is no. 84.
“It’s wonderful to see the diverse reading interests of the Australian public reflected in the list,” says Ali.