The Most-Popular College Books

Degree Query:

College: two hundred people reading the same book. An obvious mistake. Two hundred people can read two hundred books.”

So wrote John Cage, composer, teacher, and lifelong student. And he had a point. If everybody in your class reads the same book, what hope is there of a chance encounter between two random texts?

Thanks to the Open Syllabus Project, you can now access the reading lists of more than 2,500 colleges around the country. Whatever subject you’re studying, it is now easy to diversify your reading without straying from reputable sources. Or, if you can’t enroll in college right now, create your own reading list for a bit of home-schooling.

Degree Query was curious what the landscape of American college books looks like. What are the texts that are informing tomorrow’s society? We used Open Syllabus to identify the most commonly assigned college books in every state, overall, and in five core subjects: Political Science, Business, Computer Science, Economics, and (of course) English Literature.