Sawyer Free Library Unveils the Most Checked-Out Library Books of 2022

As the page turns on 2022, the Sawyer Free Library has compiled a list of some of the year’s most popular books, sharing the top checkouts for adults, teens, and children. Of the thousands of print, digital, and audiobooks patrons borrowed, these were Gloucester’s favorite books of 2022. 

“It’s not surprising that as we slowly regained our ability to leave our homes, our reading turned to reflect on the priorities and values of our time spent in quarantine. In 2022, Gloucester seemed to want to read stories about relationships, families, and the uncertainties of modern life,” said Beth Pocock, the Library’s Assistant Director. “The Sawyer Free Library takes great pride that our beloved community continually turns to us for unparalleled access to books, knowledge, and entertainment to feed their souls, brighten their spirits and enrich their lives.”

Top Adult Fiction

1. Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout

2. by Amor Towles

3. Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult 

4. Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty

5. The Judge’s List by John Grisham

6. The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

7. Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr

8. Never by Ken Follett

9. Our Country Friends by Gary Shteyngart

10. State of Terror by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Louise Penny

The most borrowed book was Elizabeth Strout’s Oh William!, with a story full of family secrets that eventually grows into an uplifting meditation on our humanity. Taking the second spot is The Lincoln Highway, Amor Towles follow-up to his blockbuster novel Gentleman from Moscow, a complex story about two brothers whom you’ll come to care as deeply about as you did Count Alexander Rostov. 

Another highlight on the list is Anthony Doerr’s celebrated novel, Cloud Cuckoo Land. A New York Times bestseller, National Book Award finalist, and Best Book of the Year by most major newspapers, Cloud Cuckoo Land follows five young dreamers through time and space from 1453 Constantinople to the future. 

The pandemic and its shared experience provided the underpinning for many of this year’s other favorites. In Wish You Were Here, Jodi Picoult tells a story about the pandemic shattering a well-planned life and providing a platform for rethinking priorities. A group of friends meeting in a country house to wait out the pandemic in isolation sets the stage for Gary Shteyngart’s book, Our Country Friends. Referred to by many as “The Great Pandemic Novel,” Shteyngart aptly captures the uncertainties of modern life we all felt so keenly during the pandemic. 

No list of Gloucester favorites is ever complete without a few good thrillers. One of this year’s most popular suspense writers, Liane Moriarty, adds Apples Never Fall to 2022’s list.  John Grisham’s latest legal thriller, The Judge’s List, and State of Terror, by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Louise Penny aptly fill two other suspenseful slots.

Top Adult Nonfiction

1. The Gloucester Notebook by T.S. Eliot, 1888-1965

2. The Dawn Of Everything: A New History Of Humanity by David Graeber

3. Caste: The Origins Of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson 

4. Death and Enchantment in a New England Ghost Town by Elyssa East

5. Words Like Loaded Pistols: Rhetoric From Aristotle To Obama by Sam Leith 

6. Happy, Healthy Minds: A children’s guide to emotional wellbeing by The School Life

7. The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story       

8. The Weekday Vegetarians by Jenny Rosenstrach

9. Quick + Simple: Simply Wonderful Meals With Surprisingly Little Effort by Jacques Pepin

The top ten non-fiction titles circulated at Sawyer Free in 2022 reveal the range of demographic groups that the Library serves. For those who love Gloucester’s history and lore, the top spot went to The Gloucester Notebook by T.S. Eliot, a collection of poems the 21-year-old Eliot first began to write at Harvard.  The number two spot in local history went to Dogtown: Death and Enchantment in a New England Ghost Town by Elyssa East.

Cape Ann’s long history of independent free-thinkers continues, with readers finding The Dawn of Everything and The 1619 Project appealing along with Caste The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson which remained on the list from last year. The books rewrite traditional history very differently in surprising and eye-opening ways. While many parents found a helpful tool with Happy, Healthy Minds, inspiring chefs looked for guidance from the likes of renowned cookbook author Jacques Pepin. And local students who made their way to the Sawyer Free Library for their summer reading materials found the most in demand book this summer was Words like Loaded Pistols: Rhetoric from Aristotle to Obama

From familiar series to popular new releases, the Sawyer Free Library’s younger patrons read a lot in 2022. Children and young adults were browsing the Library’s shelves at record rates, in person and online, and to follow were some of their best-loved reads. 

For younger readers, Dog Man master Dav Pilkey chewed up the top spot on the most popular children’s books list. Raina Telgemeier’s Ghosts and Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid graphic novel titles were also top reads this year. The Young Adult titles with the highest circulation were Welcome to the Dark House, the suspenseful story by Laurie Faria Stolarz, and Siege and Storm, the second book in Leigh Bardugo’s popular Shadow and Bone Trilogy and the compelling tale Spice & Wolf: Volume 1 by Isuna Hasekura.

Top Children/Teens Fiction

1. Dog Man: Fetch-22 by Dav Pilkey

2. Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

3. The Magic School Bus: Inside a Beehive by Joanna Cole

4. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules by Jeff Kinney

5. The Thank You Book by Mo Willems

6. The Babysitters Club: Kristy and the Snobs by Chan Chau

7. Welcome to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz

8. Beetle & the Hollowbones by Aliza Layne

9. Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

10. Spice & Wolf: Volume 1 by Isuna Hasekura

Find these and millions of other books through the Sawyer Free Library. Visit the Library in its new location at 21 Main Street in downtown Gloucester or, where its friendly and talented Librarians are always there to help you find a new book to read and so much more. 

Approximately 14,000 people currently possess Sawyer Free Library cards. Anyone who resides or attends school in Gloucester can obtain a Library card for free by applying in person, online, or by mail. For more information, visit or call 978-325-5500.