Check it out: the most popular library books of 2015, in Seattle and NYC – The Seattle Times

Lit Life

I’m always interested in our region’s reading habits, and one way to gauge them is to study up on the most-checked-out books for both the King County Library System and the Seattle Public Library. Listed below, hot off the proverbial press, are the most popular library books in both King County and Seattle during 2015.

What do these lists say about our regional reading habits? One way is to look at another well-read region, so for comparison’s sake, I have also included the most checked-out books for the New York Public Library System.

I have reached these conclusions:

1. King County and Seattle readers are more interested in narrative nonfiction than New York readers. Popular nonfiction titles in our region include Laura Hillenbrand’s“Unbroken,” the harrowing true story of an American serviceman who becomes a Japanese prisoner of war in World War II, Erik Larson’s “Dead Wake,” about the sinking of the Lusitania, author/physician Atul Gawande’s “Being Mortal,” a serious consideration of issues around the intersection of medicine and mortality, and Seattle author Daniel James Brown’s “The Boys in the Boat,” the true story of a triumphant University of Washington crew team in the depths of the Depression. There’s also the how-to book“The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo, and comedian Amy Poehler’s memoir “Yes, Please.”

There’s one work of nonfiction on the NYPL list: Lena Dunham’s essay collection “Not That Kind of Girl.” The rest are novels.

2. In King County, books with themes of hardship and catastrophe are popular, including “Unbroken” and “Dead Wake.” In both the city and the county, Bainbridge Island author Kristin Hannah’s novel “The Nightingale,”about the travails of two women in occupied France in World War II, is not what would you would call light reading.

3. I predict that by 2020, every single literate person in the Northwest will have read Brown’s “The Boys in the Boat,” and they will be glad that they did. This 2013 book, about the heroic UW crew team that vanquished their Nazi-picked opponents at the 1936 Olympics, has the makings of a true classic. Same for Anthony Doerr’sWorld War II novel, “All the Light We Cannot See, ” which came out in early 2014 but shows no signs of slacking among readers.

The lists of most-checked-out books represent print book circulation. For top 10 lists of e-books, go to this story at seattletimes.com/books.

How many books on these lists did you read last year? Send your comments to mgwinn@seattletimes.com.

King County

1. “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand

2. “Dead Wake” by Erik Larson

3. “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” by Atul Gawande

4. “The Boys in the Boat” by Daniel James Brown

5. “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo

6. “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah

7. “Gray Mountain” by John Grisham

8. “Go Set a Watchman” by Harper Lee

9. “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr

10. “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins

Seattle Public Library

1. “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins

2. “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr

3. “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo

4. “Being Mortal” by Atul Gawande

5. “Yes, Please” by Amy Poehler

6. “The Boys in the Boat” by Daniel James Brown

7. “Go Set a Watchman” by Harper Lee

8. “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel

9. “The Paying Guests” by Sarah Waters

10. “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah

New York Public Library

1. “Leaving Time” by Jodi Picoult

2. “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins

3. “Go Set a Watchman” by Harper Lee

4. “NYPD Red 3” by Marshall Karp and James Patterson

5. “Prodigal Son” by Danielle Steel

6. “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn

7. “Not That Kind of Girl” by Lena Dunham

8. “In the Unlikely Event” by Judy Blume

9. “The Paying Guests” by Sarah Waters

10. “Grey” by E.L. James

Top digital downloads (e-books) — King County Library System

1. “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins

2. “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr

3. “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn

4. “The Gold finch” by Donna Tartt

5. “The Martian” by Andy Weir

6. “Fifty Shades of Grey” by E.L. James

7. “Outlander” by Diana Gabaldon

8. “The Book Thief” by Marcus Zusak

9. “The Boys in the Boat” by Daniel James Brown

10. “The Maze Runner” by James Dashner

Top digital downloads (e-books) — Seattle Public Library

1. “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr

2. “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins

3. “The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt

4. “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn

5. “The Martian” by Andy Weir

6. “Go Set a Watchman” by Harper Lee

7. “The Cuckoo’s Calling” by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)

8. “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo

9. “Cloud Atlas” by David Mitchell

10. “The Book Thief” by Marcus Zusack

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