As the page turns on 2021, the Sawyer Free Library has compiled a list of some of the most popular books checked out this year by adults, teens, and children. Of the thousands of print, digital, and audiobooks that patrons borrowed, these were Gloucester’s favorites in 2021.
Gloucester seemingly read “around the world” when it came to their top Fiction books of 2021.
- The top book checked out by patrons was The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah, a historical fiction set in The Dust Bowl, the drought-stricken Southern Plains region, during the Great Depression.
- Next, the list crosses the ocean to an isolated island in West Ireland with the contemporary murder mystery novel The Guest List by Lucy Foley.
- Returning to the United States, the powerful novel, The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett, focuses on two twin sisters and issues of racial identity and bigotry in the segregated south.
- With the backdrop of the City of Lights, bestselling author Louise Penny tells the story of Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Quebec investigating a sinister plot in Quebec in her latest book, All the Devils Are Here.
- Isabel Allende’s novel, A Long Petal of the Sea, follows two of the thousands of Spaniards who emigrated to Chile after Franco and the Nationalists won the Spanish Civil War.
- Klara and the Sun, written by Japanese-born British novelist Kazuo Ishiguro is a beautiful science fiction romance set far away in a dystopian future.
Of Gloucester’s 25 most-read titles, only two are non-fiction, revealing Gloucester’s preference for a good story. But there were still many on the Top 100 list.
- The most popular non-fiction title of 2021 was Caste: The Origins of our Discontent by Isabel Wilkerson. Ten years after her acclaimed non-fiction book The Warmth of Other Suns, Wilkerson spoke to the struggles of 2021 in “Caste,” dissecting the not-so-subtle American caste system and the social stratification among race and class in the U.S.
- A Women of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy who Helped win WWII by Sonia Purnell. This compelling and well-researched biography of Virginia Goillot reveals her pivotal role in coordinating the Resistance in Europe.
- Niksen: Embracing the Dutch Art of Doing Nothing by Olga Mecking. Based on the premise that the Dutch are the happiest people globally, this wellness guide shares how to embrace idleness and explains how doing nothing can make us happier, more productive, and more creative.
- The final standout on the non-fiction list is Swimming to the Top of the Tide. Written by local author Patricia Hanlon, it chronicles four seasons of her daily immersion in New England’s Great Marsh.
Adults weren’t the only ones looking to learn and have a little literary fun this year. Children and young adults alike were browsing the Library’s shelves, in person and online, and to follow were some of their best-loved reads.
The Young Adult titles with the highest circulations were those on the school reading lists. These engaging books written for readers ages 12-18, include:
The Boy who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba, Angela Duckworth’s Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance and March: Book One, the first volume in a graphic novel trilogy about and by civil and human rights leader, John Lewis with Andrew Aydin. How-to books and self-help books were also popular with the Library’s younger patrons, as was Amanda Gorman’s book of poetry, The Hill We Climb.
Five of the top fifteen books for children of reading age were by Jeff Kinney and are titles in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series which encourages even reluctant readers to laugh at the antics of the irresistible main character Greg. Dav Pilkey’s Dog Man series fills two slots on the most popular list. Both titles of Zeeta Elliot’s magical series appeared: The Dragon Thief and Dragons in a Bag. The dragon theme continues on the island of Arcos in the popular Legends of the Sky books series by Liz Flanagan.
For those interested, complete lists of the Sawyer Free Library’s Most Borrowed Books in 2021, including Adult Mysteries, Graphic Novels, and Teen and Children’s Nonfiction titles, can be found at sawyerfreelibrary.org.
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 sawyerfreelibrary.org or call 978-325-5500.