Hollywood has been good to Paula Hawkins. Following the release of a movie adapted from her novel, The Girl on the Train, the book has become one of the most widely read books at US libraries this year.
A survey of 14 metropolitan libraries by Quartz shows that The Girl on the Train is the most checked-out book at eight of them, and the most checked-out work of fiction at 11.
There was also a strong Wimpy grip on children’s reading in 2016. Jeff Kinney’s series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, is the top book for kids in seven of the 12 cities that provided children’s breakouts.
Some books’ popularity were driven by library initiatives. For instance, the San Francisco Public Library’s “One City One Book” program encouraged its patrons to read Season of the Witch by David Talbot, shooting it to the top of its most popular book list.
Other books’ popularity are driven by adjacent corners of culture. Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton was the most borrowed nonfiction work in Baltimore. The book was the basis and inspiration for the Tony-award-winning play Hamilton.
Here are the top five books for each category at each library that responded to our requests:
The most popular fiction books of 2016
|5||The Nightingale, Kristin Hannah||NYPD Red 4, James Patterson||Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee||All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr||Alert, James Patterson||The Japanese Lover, Isabel Allende||Cross Justice, James Patterson||All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr||The Last Mile, David Baldacci||The Crossing, Michael Connelly||Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee||The Nightingale, Kristin Hannah||Fates and Furies, Lauren Groff|
The most popular nonfiction books of 2016
|5||Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, Susan Cain||Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology, Leah Remini||The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, Marie Kondo||Being Moral: Medicine and What Matters in the End, Atul Gawande||–||Rising Strong, Brené Brown||When Breath Becomes Air, Paul Kalanithi||The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, Marie Kondo||The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race, Jesmyn Ward||Waiting for Snow in Havana, Carlos MN Eire||–||Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up, Marie Kondo||Mindy Kaling, Why Not Me?|
The most popular children’s books of 2016
|5||Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Hard Luck, Jeff Kinney||The BFG, Roald Dahl||One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish, Dr. Seuss||Tales from a Not So Dorky Drama Queen, Rachel Renee Russell||Lego Ninjago, Masters of Spinjitzu, Tracey West||Waiting is not Easy!, Mo Willems||Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, JK Rowling||Diary of a Wimpy Kid. The Long Haul, Jeff Kinney||Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Dog Days, Jeff Kinney||Diary of a Wimpy Kid. The Ugly Truth, Jeff Kinney||–||I broke my trunk!, Mo Willems||–|
The number of times a book can be checked out is, of course, limited by the library’s inventory, the speed at which local patrons complete and return books, and the efficiency of library staff in recirculating the title.
The public libraries of Memphis, Philadelphia, San Jose, Houston, Chicago, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, and Phoenix did not provide Quartz with suitable rankings prior to publication.