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.

Adult Book Bingo at the Sawyer Free Library

Get in on the summer fun at the Sawyer Free Library with ADULT SUMMER READING 2021: BOOK BINGO!

From now until September 1, 2021, those 18 and older can keep track of the books they read on the Sawyer Free Library’s downloadable custom bingo card by writing the title and author in the matching square.

Each completed horizontal, vertical or diagonal line enters you into a raffle to win $25, $50, or $75 Cape Ann Gift Certificates.

Thanks to the generous support of The Friends of the Sawyer Free Library, program participation is free, and registration is now open for this and all family summer reading programs. Check out all the fun activities, events and reading challenges for children and teens too!

Sawyer Free Library’s summer operating hours are Monday through Friday, 10 am to 5 pm, Thursday 12 – 7:00 pm, and Saturday 10:00 am to 1 pm and 24/7 at

For more information about the “Summer at the Sawyer Free Library,” or to register for programs, visit: or call 978-325-5501.

Boston Red Sox’s Wally Making Books Come Alive with Sawyer Free Library on Wednesday, June 30 at 2pm

Join the Sawyer Free Library for a virtual story time with Wally & Tessie from the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday, June 30 at 2:00 pm and explore stories in a new and exciting way!

The mascots of the Boston Red Sox, Wally and Tessie the Green Monsters, will encourage and inspire us to get reading and have fun! Register here and a zoom link will be sent out prior to the program.

For more information, visit

Wally and Tessie from the Boston Red Sox

Sawyer Free Library Program “What She’s Reading” Shares Women Leaders of Gloucester’s Must Read Books for Women’s History Month

In celebration Women’s History Month, the Sawyer Free Library asked several of Gloucester’s cultural, civic, and community women leaders to share books that they love or have inspired them, written by fellow women. The results are a mix of close to 100 titles, including classics, new discoveries, and more. To see the full list of What She’s Reading at Recommended books are available at Sawyer Free Library or are easily ordered from libraries in their consortium.  

Illustration by Jane Mount

Mark your calendar, the Sawyer Free Library is hosting a virtual screening of the documentary “Left on Pearl” presented by The 888 Women’s History Project on Saturday, March 20 from 2-4pm. This special viewing will be followed by a panel discussion with the filmmakers, Susan Rivo and Iftach Shavit. “Left on Pearl,” tells the inspiring story of the highly significant but little-known event of the 10-day occupation of the Harvard-owned 888 Memorial Drive by grassroots feminist organizers during a 1971 International Women’s Day protest. With contemporary interviews, archival photos, and TV news footage, this lively documentary follows the movement as women vocalized the necessity of equal pay and access to child care, birth control, and many of the hopes, triumphs, conflicts, and tensions of Second Wave feminism.  Registration through Library website for this event is required. 

For more information about these programs and other Women History Month activities at the Sawyer Free Library visit:

The Book Fair at The Glance!

Saturday, June 29 & Sunday, June 30

Second Glance Thrift Store | 2 Pond Road, Gloucester

Untitled Design(3)

Second Glance Thrift Store presents The Book Fair at The Glance with a wide variety of reading choices. Come shop from a selection of high-quality books pulled from premium inventory and saved for this special two-day blowout event. Thousands of titles are available at this book bonanza with something for everyone.

The Book Fair at The Glance on Facebook

Saturday from 9 am to 7 pm and Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm. All proceeds benefit The Open Door.

The mission of The Open Door is to alleviate the impact of hunger in our community. We use practical strategies to connect people to good food, to advocate on behalf of those in need, and to engage others in the work of building food security. The Open Door serves residents of Gloucester, Rockport, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Essex, Ipswich, Topsfield, Boxford, Rowley, Hamilton, and Wenham.

To find out more about The Open Door or donate online, visit FOODPANTRY.ORG.

Unfolding Histories: Cape Ann Before 1900 A special exhibition opening this spring at the Cape Ann Museum On view March 31, 2018 – Sept. 9, 2018


(Left to right) Logbook from the Schooner Lark, 1799, Cape Ann Museum; Daguerreotype of Abigail Trask and her friend, late 1840s, Manchester Historical Museum; Old Farmer’s Almanac, 1839, Sandy Bay Historical Society and Museums;  Certificate from teacher for Amanda Babson, January 1823, Cape Ann Museum.

In the first major exhibition to bring together historical and archival material from nine Cape Ann institutions, Unfolding Histories: Cape Ann Before 1900 illuminates the area’s wide-ranging stories from Native American life to the first European settlers in the 1640s, the temperance movement, African American history and civil rights, women’s history, the advent of railroad and mass transportation as well as work, literary, and cultural life during Cape Ann’s early years.

As the region prepares for the 400th anniversary of the first English settlement on Cape Ann in 2023, the Cape Ann Museum seeks to highlight significant historical materials from its own collection as well as those from historical societies in the region for this exhibition.

Lenders to Unfolding Histories include: Annisquam Historical Society, Cape Ann Museum, Essex Historical Society and Shipbuilding Museum, Essex Town Hall, Gloucester’s City Hall, Gloucester Lyceum & Sawyer Free Library, Manchester Historical Museum, Sargent House Museum, and Sandy Bay Historical Society and Museums.

Organized thematically, Unfolding Histories lets the documents tell the history of Cape Ann including some often neglected experiences and perspectives. The exhibition is designed to appeal to both scholars, looking to deepen their understanding of life for the disenfranchised in colonial America and the early Republic, as well as for local residents looking to appreciate the many factors that have shaped the place. Archival records depict the political and social structures of the nation before its founding up to 1900 and offer informative, enriching windows into the region that became a haven for some of America’s most renowned artists and writers.

“From the start, exhibition planners realized that getting everyday people excited about fragile scraps of paper and hard-to-read penmanship would be no easy task,” says Martha Oaks, Cape Ann Museum’s Curator. “As such, it was decided early on that the exhibition would be organized around broad themes that tell untold stories, uncover hidden histories, and highlight experiences of everyday people on Cape Ann. Ten themes were selected: African American history, charity and welfare, education, Native American history, literary imagination, religion, temperance, transportation, wartime, and women’s history.”

Guest curator for Unfolding Histories is Dr. Molly O’Hagan Hardy, Director for Digital and Book History Initiatives at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester. A full color catalog, written by Dr. Hardy, will accompany the exhibition.

For more information about the exhibition and related programming, please visit the Museum’s website

The League of Women Voters of Cape Ann presents A Woman’s Place Is at the Top: The Life of Mountaineering Suffragist, Annie Smith Peck

Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017

6:30 pm at the Rockport Library

Annie Smith Peck is one of the most accomplished women of the twentieth century that you may have never heard of. Peck was a scholar, educator, writer, lecturer, mountain climber, suff­ragist, and political activist. She was a feminist and an independent thinker who refused to let gender stereotypes stand in her way.

Join author Hannah Kimberley as she describes her research of Peck’s original letters, artifacts, and ephemera, and brings to life the Queen of the Climbers.

NAA Photo Lot 24

This event is free and open to the public. Books will be for sale at the library, and Hannah Kimberley will be available for book signing.