Whilst the other records he’s set gradually fall by the wayside, Da Vinci Code pedlar Dan Brown can at least be proud of his continued claim on one notable title: for the fourth year running, Brown is the most donated author to Oxfam shops across the UK. Of course, that’s probably just an Illuminati conspiracy to make it look like the general populace is realising there’s nothing of worth in his books beyond a single cheap thrill-filled reading and deciding it doesn’t want them clogging up its shelves, because Dan Brown gets too close to the truth, maaaan.
Then again, a look at the rest of the list puts that win (‘win’) in context, and suggests that readers generally give all sorts of crime/thriller/mystery novels a quick once-over before realising that, once again, insatiable curiosity got the better of them, leading to a brief loss of control swiftly followed by shamefacedly trying to dispose of the evidence. Joining Brown in the top five most-donated are fellow mystery men Ian Rankin (holding at number two), James Patterson (up five places to three from eight last year, presumably in accordance with the number of new ghostwriters he employed this year), Alexander McCall Smith (up one from five to four) and John Grisham (drawing with McCall Smith for fourth and, mind-bogglingly, charting for the first time).
The most-bought titles are also largely dominated by crime/thrillers/mysteries, with Stieg Larsson, Jo Nesbo and Lee Child joining J.K. Rowling and Terry Pratchett in the top five, so expect several of those names to crop up in next year’s most-donated list. Also, naturally, expect an appearance from EL James, another author currently benefitting from waves of curiosity soon to be followed by fits of shame, although pro tip: be very careful about buying second hand copies of the Fifty Shades trilogy. Maybe do your local Oxfam a favour and donate some anti-bacterial hand gel.