As it’s World Book Day — and none of us wanted to dress up — we decided to find out what Team UQ’s favourite books were. We also asked what people are currently reading because we wanted to see if anyone said their favourite book was The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire while currently reading Kim Kardashian’s memoirs. As you’d expect from a diverse, multilingual team — who also, they’ve asked me to say, are intelligent, good looking and mostly single — there was a pretty good variety of books (full disclosure: we didn’t let anyone say Harry Potter or Twilight). Most people picked novels, although there was some renaissance drama, short stories and twentieth-century poetry in the mix, as well as some non-fiction. Mary, our Marketing Manager, initially picked a book about marketing, but was told to go away and choose something that wasn’t just sitting on her desk.
Because we wouldn’t be UniQuest if we didn’t try and extract some data from any given situation, we’re happy to report that we picked more books first published in the 2010s than from any other decade (22.5%), with the noughties coming second on that count (20%). Nobody picked a book published earlier than 1915 for their favourite (Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham, chosen by Rachel, our MD), and there are only three books (7.5% of the total) published earlier than the 1970s in our current reading. We like to think this shows that we’re a modern, forward-looking company, but it might be just that we all travel quite a bit and just grab books from the ‘Current Bestsellers’ shelf at airports and train stations. But it’s probably the former.
Other than English, Italian was the most popular language (7.5% of our picks were by Italian authors), although given the number of Italians at UniQuest, this isn’t surprising! There were also two books (5% of the total) in Cyrillic script, because Kseniya speaks (and reads) Russian. She acts like this isn’t a big deal, but we’re all secretly very impressed.
With such a small sample size, there wasn’t much overlap in terms of top authors or books. However, Stephen King got into the list twice, which shows that we’re very much like the rest of the world, as did John Steinbeck, because two people picked Of Mice and Men (one of whom freely admitted that they hadn’t read any other book since their GCSEs!). In terms of non-fiction, which made up 10% of the total, biographies, diaries and memoirs were the only genres we picked, which again suggests that we’re fairly representative of the population at large.
The best thing about doing this was the fact that quite a few people went home and picked up books they’d got halfway through reading and never finished. Plus, we’ve now had two days of people having conversations about books in the office. We’re all about education at UniQuest, so as far as we’re concerned getting people reading is part of our mission statement!
If you’d like to find out more about World Book Day, check out the World Book Day website. Maybe next year we’ll get round to dressing up…