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Ottawa’s most borrowed library books in 2017—Adult fiction, nonfiction and graphic novels

By Jessica Green on December 28, 2017

Jessica Green is a book addict and library card holder since the age of 3. She’s a librarian at the Ottawa Public Library and Apt613’s Librarian-in-Residence.

Looking for the freshest reads this holiday season? I have some lists for you based on the top books checked out this year at the Ottawa Public Library. Numbers were crunched, experts were consulted and databases double-checked to discover what Ottawa loves to read. The adult reads are in this post, with the top children and teen reads coming in a following post.

Adult Fiction

1. The Woman in Cabin 10Ruth Ware
2. The WhistlerJohn Grisham
3. The Witches of New YorkAmi McKay
4. Do Not Say We Have NothingMadeleine Thien
5. Small Great ThingsJodi Picoult
6. No Man's LandDavid Baldacci
7. Girl BeforeJP Delaney
8. The Best Kind of PeopleZoe Whittall
9. Into The WaterPaula Hawkins
10. My Not So Perfect LifeSophie Kinsella

You can see this list features books about the dark secrets ordinary people may be hiding, to literary award winners, to popular thrillers like The Woman in Cabin 10, The Girl Before and Into the Water. We can see that appearing on the shortlist for a major Canadian literary award can positively affect a book’s popularity, like with Do Not Say We Have Nothing and The Best Kind of People. Humour makes a brief appearance to round out the list, with My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella.

Adult Mystery

1. Wrong Side of GoodbyeMichael Connelly
2. Night SchoolLee Child
3. Garden of LamentationsDeborah Crombie
4. Rather Be the DevilIan Rankin
5. Never NeverJames Patterson
6. Heartbreak HotelJonathan Kellerman
7. Golden PreyJohn Sanford
8. Echoes in DeathJD Robb
9. Right Behind YouLisa Gardner
10. I See YouClare Mackintosh

This list has no real surprises as these are all well-established names in the mystery genre, with many superstars like Michael Connolly, JD Robb, and Ian Rankin. The numbers for these checkouts are pretty close to those on the Adult Fiction list, so it’s safe to say Ottawa adores mysteries just as much as the rest of fiction.

Adult Nonfiction

1. Born a Crime: Stories from a South African ChildhoodTrevor Noah
2. Astrophysics for People in a HurryNeil deGrasse Tyson
3. The Stranger in the Woods: the Extraordinary Story of the Last True HermitMichael Finkel
4. Scrappy Little NobodyAnna Kendrick
5. Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between)Lauren Graham
6. The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our MindsMichael Lewis
7. Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space RaceMargot Lee Shetterly
8. Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding JoySheryl Sandberg
9. The Princess DiaristCarrie Fisher
10. The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live WellMeik Wiking

This is a fascinating list of books. I was surprised to see this wide range of memoirs on this list but then I recalled that many had favourable reviews! I am pleased to see the Hidden Figures book as well as the latest from Neil deGrasse Tyson. I am also not surprised to see a book about hygge on the list as that was a major trend in 2017 and will likely continue well into 2018.

Adult Graphic Novels

1. Secret PathGord Downie
2. Big Mushy Happy Lump: A Sarah's Scribbles CollectionSarah Andersen
3. Yuge!: 30 Years of Doonesbury on TrumpGB Trudeau
4. Paper Girls 2Brian K. Vaughan
5. Star Wars Darth Vader: Vol. 4, End of GamesKieron Gillen
6. The Walking Dead: Vol. 26, Call to ArmsRobert Kirkman
7. Wolverine Old Man Logan: Vol. 1, BezerkerJeff Lemire
8. The Walking Dead: Vol. 27, The Whisper WarRobert Kirkman
9. Saga: Vol. 7Brian K. Vaughan
10. Star Wars: Vader DownJason Aaron

There are many comics here with movie or show tie-ins like the Walking Dead, Star Wars and Old Man Logan. We also have the perhaps too true observations on Trump over the years from the Doonesbury strip, as well as Saga, perhaps the greatest ongoing series currently being written, and a Sarah’s Scribbles collection, which are brilliant.

Looking for teen fiction and children’s books? The list continues here.