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AMERICAN MOSAIC - January 4, 2002: Top books, movies and music of 2001 - 2002-01-03


Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC — VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.


This is Doug Johnson. On our program today, we tell about the most popular books, movies and recordings of the year Two-Thousand-One.

Top Books of 2001


The newspaper USA Today recently listed the most popular books of last year in the United States. It creates the list from information about the number of books sold during the year. Bob Doughty tells us about a few of them.


Three of the top five books on the list are stories for children about a boy named Harry Potter. These books were at the top of the list last year, too ... and the year before that. They are “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” and “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.” They were written by British writer Joanne Rowling [ROE-ling].

On his eleventh birthday, Harry Potter learns that he has magical powers. He goes away to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. All the books tell about the adventures of Harry and his friends at the Hogwarts School. Harry is usually in danger. He is threatened by the evil Lord Voldemort.

Joanne Rowling has published four Harry Potter books so far. The fifth one is expected to arrive in bookstores later this year.

USA Today says the second most popular book of the year was “Who Moved My Cheese?” It was written by Spencer Johnson. The book gives advice about how people can deal with changes in their lives.

The newspaper says the third ost popular book in the United States last year was “The Prayer of Jabez” (JAY-bez). It was written by an American Christian religious leader, Bruce Wilkinson.

In the Old Testament of the Bible, Jabez was a tribal leader whose prayer was answered by God. Mister Wilkinson says in the book that the prayer of Jabez can help everyone who uses it. And he gives examples of how the prayer has helped him in life.

Other religious leaders have criticized the book. But they also say it is meant to help people do good. They say that praying each day will improve peoples’ lives.

Top Movies of 2001


At the end of the year, the American movie industry reports about the most popular movies of the year. The three most popular movies last year were made for children. But many adults also enjoyed them.

The movie that earned the most money in ticket sales in the United States last year was “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” It has earned more than two-hundred-ninety-four-million dollars since it opened in November.

The movie is based on the international best selling book of the same name by British writer Joanne Rowling. It tells the same story as the first book in the Harry Potter series. Harry learns he has magical powers and spends his first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

As the movie was opening in November, its actors were beginning to film a movie based on the second book in the series, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.” It will open next November. It will be interesting to see if the second movie is as popular as the first one.

The second most popular movie of last year in the United States is called “Shrek”. “Shrek” earned more than two-hundred-sixty-seven-million dollars since it opened in May.“Shrek” is a computer-animated movie about a huge, ugly, green man who saves the life and wins the love of a princess. Critics say both children and their parents liked the lesson of the movie -- that what a person thinks and feels are more important than what he or she looks like.

The third most popular movie of the year in the United States was another computer-animated movie, “Monsters, Inc.” It earned more than two-hundred-thirty-six-million dollars last year. It tells a story about two creatures whose job is to scare children. But their movie adventure teaches the monsters that laughter is more powerful than fear.

Top Recordings of 2001


Each December, Billboard magazine lists the most popular albums, records and performers of the year. Jim Tedder tells us about a few of them.


Billboard magazine says the top record album of Two-Thousand-One was a surprise to everyone. It was the Beatles’ greatest hits collection, called “One.” The magazine says this is the first time in the history of their record-keeping that the Beatles had the most popular album of the year.

“One” includes twenty-seven Beatles songs that were number one hits when they were first released. Among them is a song written and sung by George Harrison, who died last month. It is called “Something.”


Billboard says the top country album of the year was also a “Greatest Hits” collection. It is by country singer Tim McGraw. Here he sings “My Next Thirty Years.”


Billboard says the top jazz album of the year was “The Look of Love” by Diana Krall. The magazine also says Diana Krall was the number one jazz album artist for the third year. We leave you now with a song from “The Look of Love” album. It is called “Dancing in the Dark.”



This is Doug Johnson . I hope you enjoyed our program today. And I hope you will join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC — VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.

This AMERICAN MOSAIC program was written by Nancy Steinbach. Our studio engineer was Tom Verba. And our producer was Paul Thompson.