Which Books Do Americans Take on Vacation?

Our city-by-city breakdown uncovered some surprises

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Romance novels reign in Miami. Houstonians unwind with Fifty Shades of Grey. Angelenos go to the beach with Frankenstein. Those are the findings of our new study of summer reading preferences over the past decade, which revealed that the top overall genre was science fiction and fantasy. To learn how tastes in summer books differ across the country, we analyzed 218,000 reviews on the website Goodreads, identifying the most distinctively popular titles in 12 cities since 2007. (For example, Eat, Pray, Love was a hit everywhere, but it accounted for a larger share of summer reading in Washington, D.C. than it did nationwide.) Digital tools helped spur the new dominance of sci-fi and fantasy, according to Andrew Albanese, a senior writer for Publishers Weekly: “Where those genres might have been on a shelf at your local bookstore, now they are prominent online and on social media, and new titles can be pushed to readers.”

What was the most distinctively popular book in your city?

Hunger Games, United States (Courtesy Scholastic)
The Glass Castle, New York City (Courtesy Scribner)
Eat, Pray, Love, Washington, DC (Courtesy Penguin Random House)
Frankenstein, Los Angeles (Courtesy Penguin Random House)
Ender’s Game, San Francisco (Courtesy Macmillian)
Slaughterhouse-Five, Chicago (Courtesy Penguin Random House)
The Devil Wears Prada, Boston (Courtesy Penguin Random House)
Catching Fire, Atlanta (Courtesy Scholastic)
Divergent, Miami (Courtesy Harpercollins)
Fifty Shades of Grey, Houston (Courtesy Penguin Random House)
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Dallas (Courtesy Harpercollins)
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Phoenix (Courtesy Penguin Random House)
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, Minneapolis (Courtesy Penguin Random House)
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