Some of their graphics are really detailed and extensive, others are very simple. They are sometimes employed to make them for a specific reason. For example, the picture on this post is of the graphic they did to win a competition for helping people understand their blood tests in the USA. Potentially life-saving work.
One of their projects I came across recently is this beautiful representation of the books everyone should read. Go on, click the link, it'll open in a new window. (I don't want to post a picture of it here as the whole fabulous enterprise is funded by people buying their images, except the ones - as in this post - which they allow people to use for free.) On the face of it, it's quite simple - a word cloud of popular books. But the data analysis that has gone into the production is incredible.
Basically, they searched through tonnes of lists of books to put together the ones that come up most frequently - the definitive list, if you like. The more times a books appeared in their search, the bigger its name is in the cloud. So, by the looks of it, the book we all absolutely have to read above all others is To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Other big hitters are The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Crime and Punishment and One Hundred Years of Solitude.
I love that this list is one person's bias, or even a public vote, but pulls in information from so many sources. Of course nobody's going to like all those books, but it's fascinating to see the ones that come up time and time again. Their sources (full list on the graphic) include:
- UK most borrowed library books
- Desert Island Disc choices
- Oprah's book club
- Pulitzer Prize winners
- Booker Prize winners
- various polls and lists of must-read books produced by newspapers and others
I'm still creating my own list of must-read books, and I still need your help. If you have suggestion of a book I have to read before I die, pop it in the comments, or click on the Books tab at the top. Thanks!