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25 May 2014 @ 12:51 pm
Data, data, data, data, data, data, data, data, Batman  
Okay, bad Teri for inserting that line of the Batman theme song into your heads. But it seems a perfect title given my posts of late and this post today as well. Book Riot posted an interesting piece lately about books that make readers feel dumb. Here is the link to the post: http://bookriot.com/2014/05/21/top-17-books-make-feel-dumb/. And here is the list of books:

Ulysses by James Joyce (71 votes)
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (43)
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (22)
Finnegans Wake by James Joyce (18)
Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon (17)
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (15)
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (15)
A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking (14)
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (14)
Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (14)
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien (13)
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (13)
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (12)
Moby-Dick by Herman Melville (11)
Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy O’Toole (10)
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (10)
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (10)


I love that they include the number of votes each book received. They even provide a link to the entire data set. In these times of throwing around facts and figures, it is refreshing to see someone be open about the "n" for the survey results. I appreciate the list, too. Some of my favorite books are here: Catch-22, Lord of the Rings, Gatsby. And some are titles that did not mean much to me as a reader: Scarlet Letter, Moby Dick.

Back to the data. Any time you see lists and conclusions and assertions about things, look at the data. Examine how it was collected and analyzed. Seek out the "n" (number of folks involved in the survey, etc.). See if the conclusions follow logically from the data. Watch the wording for hidden agendas. Analyze the questions asked, the answers provided from which folks had to select, the "charts" and what they really reflect. We need to be careful consumers, critical readers, questioning learners.
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