What were you reading last year – Most checked-out books from the New Hanover County library – StarNewsOnline.com

Library records show that “The Girl on the Train” was checked out 1,096 times last year, much more often than any other title. The extent of the popular novel’s lead was rather surprising, said Margaret Miles, technical services supervisor for the county library system.

In all, more than 1.1 million books, CDs, DVDs, magazines and other materials were checked out from New Hanover County libraries in 2015. Another 250,798 e-books and other items were downloaded online, while the library system’s website site had more than 210,000 database searches. Library branches recorded more than 1.2 million visits by individuals during the course of the year.

The popularity of circulating books in the library’s collection closely followed commercial best-seller lists for the year, Miles noted. Novels by David Baldacci, Harlan Coben, Anne Tyler, James Patterson and John Grisham dominated the adult fiction category.

“Go Set a Watchman,” the controversial second novel by “To Kill a Mockingbird” author Harper Lee, was checked out 571 times by area readers.

“Dead Wake,” Erik Larson’s account of the 1915 sinking of the passenger liner Lusitania, was the most popular adult nonfiction title, with 213 check-outs. Following were Bill O’Reilly’s “Killing Patton” (119 check-outs), Chris Kyle’s “American Sniper” (106) and “The Boys in the Boat,” Daniel James Brown’s account of the U.S. rowing team at the 1936 Olympics (98).

“It’s sort of a circular phenomenon,” Miles said. “Books become best sellers because they’re popular, then they become popular because they’re best sellers.”

To explore the most checked-out books back to 2012, go to www.StarNewsOnline.com/librarybooks.

Jeff Kinney’s “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” books dominated the juvenile titles, holding six of the top 10 spots. “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul” was most checked out in the children’s category, with 273 check-outs, closely followed by J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” with 241.

Titles on North Carolina’s 2015-16 Elementary Battle of the Books list, such as Jacqueline Davis’s “The Lemonade War” and Katherine Applegate’s “The One and Only Ivan,” ranked among the most checked out, Miles noted.

“Brown Girl Dreaming,” Jacqueline Woodson’s National Book Award-winning memoir, was No. 1 on the juvenile nonfiction list, with 111 checkouts. Close behind it, though, were perennial favorites by poet Shel Silverstein and multiple titles about dinosaurs.

“Nothing is cooler than dinosaurs,” Miles noted. “Nothing.”

Dystopian science fiction sagas continued to dominate young adult reading. James Dashner’s “The Maze Runner” led in this category with 216 check-outs, followed by titles from Veronica Roth’s “Divergent” series and Suzanne Collins’ “Mockingjay.” An exception was John Green’s “The Fault in Our Stars”; although published in 1990, Green’s teen romance novel netted 198 check-outs in 2015 after a film version was released in 2014.

Top circulating magazines were People (188 check-outs), Real Simple (178), O:The Oprah Magazine (174) and Southern Living (135).

“The Girl on the Train” was the most checked-out e-book, with 276 downloads through the library system. Gillian Flynn’s 2012 best seller “Gone Girl” followed with 226 e-book downloads, and Anthony Doerr’s Pulitzer Prize winner “All the Light We Cannot See,” came in third with 218.

Episodes of “Downton Abbey” were by far the most popular DVDs, with 943 check-outs, followed by DVDs of “The Magic Tree House” TV series, with 344 checkouts.

New Hanover County’s check-outs closely followed the circulation patterns of other library systems across the state, Miles said.

Contact Ben Steelman at 910-343-2208 or Ben.Steelman@StarNewsOnline.com.