From feminisation to infantilisation, with this depressing poll finding. Depressing - especially to find that force of evil, Roald Dahl, in second place - but all too predictable. Many, perhaps most, adults now read little or nothing of any significance after childhood, so their early reading will naturally loom large (and Blyton, whatever her shortcomings, was a horribly effective storyteller). Howeever, the sight of hordes of adults voraciously reading the latest Harry Potter suggests a deeper current of infantilisation. Too many people have simply forgotten - or, more likey, never learned - to read like adults. We have become, overall, less capable readers, as a glance at the kind of books that were published for a self-improving mass readership early in the 20th century confirms. Many or most titles on such lists as the early Everyman's Library would be quite impenetrable to the general reader of today - and even a hugely popular (in his day) novelist such as George Meredith would be regarded as all but unreadable (not that he'd make it into print in today's publishing climate).
Oh well - one good thing. Philip Pullman didn't make it into the top 50.