2012 was a great year for reading library books! The library loaned out well over 5 million items – books, CDs, DVDs, audiobooks, eBooks – to thousands upon thousands of Winnipeg Public Library members. That’s a lot of borrowing, and reading, and listening! But which books were enjoyed the most by you, the reading public? If the “top circulating adult books” list is any indication, you really, really like thrillers, mysteries, and historical dramas.
Here is a quick survey of the most borrowed adult books. (The top children’s books borrowed in 2012 may be highlighted in a later blog post; stay tuned.)
1. Taking the top spot is Suzanne Collins’ 2008 gripping, dystopian young adult novel The Hunger Games, which inspired the popular movie. It’s written in the voice of a brave 16-year-old girl who gets entangled in the deadliest reality TV show of the future. Hold onto your seats.
2. Securing second place is John Grisham’s 2011 legal thriller The Litigators. (Grisham really is getting the hang of it; this is his 25th novel.) This one is about a tiny Chicago law firm attempting to strike it rich with a class action lawsuit against a major drug company.
3. Kathryn Stockett’s 2009 The Help is in third place. Originally a summer sleeper hit, the book is a fascinating historical novel portraying the lives of African-American maids working in upper class white households in Mississippi during the 1960s. (The movie is excellent too.)
4. Janet Evanovich’s bestseller Explosive Eighteen is next in fourth place. The premise: “Before bounty hunter Stephanie Plum can even step foot off Flight 127, she’s knee deep in trouble. Her dream vacation turned into a nightmare. Her seat mate never returned to the plane after a layover. Now he’s dead and everybody is looking for a photograph he was supposed to be carrying. Only one person has seen the missing photo: Stephanie Plum. Now she’s the target.” A tale of murder and intrigue; pour yourself a drink.
5. Sue Grafton’s V is for Vengeance settles for fifth (or Vth?) place. A dangerous story featuring a dead woman with a murky past, a professional shoplifting ring working for the mob, a ruthless wandering husband, a dirty cop, a lonely widower, and a single determined private detective.
6. David Baldacci’s Zero Day is in sixth. This is apparently a “wild ride,” a “nifty, paranoid thriller disguised as a murder mystery.” A lone American army special agent takes on the toughest crimes facing the country.
7. Michael Connelly’s The Drop holds the seventh position. I enjoy Connelly’s wry and raw take on crime stories from the Los Angeles basin featuring clever detective Harry Bosch. This one features a serial killer case and a political conspiracy that goes way back into the dark history of the venerable LAPD.
8 & 9. Prolific writer James Patterson takes both eighth and ninth places! Kill Alex Cross is a thriller with detective Alex Cross hoping to solve two troublesome crimes – the poisoning of the water supply and the president’s kidnapped children. Guilty Wives seems downright light in comparison, at first. Four women friends go on vacation and have a good time… until they’re arrested and forced to fight for their own survival.
10. Nicholas Sparks’ The Best of Me rounds out the top 10 borrowed books at Winnipeg Public Library in 2012. The book spins out the story of two small-town former high school sweethearts who meet in mid-life, and have to confront the choices they’ve made. So crime stories have finally given way to one about love and growing older? Hmm, what does that say about us readers…?
Places 11 – 50 on the list, briefly speaking, contain more thrillers by James Patterson, John Grisham and David Baldacci; the Stieg Larsson ‘Dragon Tattoo’ trilogy; and biographical comedy by Tina Fey (Bossypants). My personal favourites on the list include Stephen King’s time travel thriller (1963-11-22), the biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, and the latest novel by Jeffrey Eugenides (The Marriage Plot). What seems most surprising is the book at #49: Harper Lee’s enduring tale of justice and loyalty first published back in 1960, To Kill a Mockingbird. We seem to love classics amidst our crime thrillers and historical dramas too. That’s classy.