Most Popular Books of 2013

New Year's Day is well behind us now, and we've gathered statistics to compile our most popular books of 2013. The rankings reflect the most checkouts and hold requests during calendar year 2013, regardless of when the books were published.

Chicago's own Gillian Flynn tops the adult fiction list with Gone Girl. The dark thriller about a very twisted marriage certainly needs no introduction at this point, and a movie adaptation is currently slated to hit theaters this fall. Lower on the list, the unmasking of Robert Galbraith as J.K. Rowling (one of the few truly exciting moments in publishing this year) helped renew interest in Rowling's first book for adults, Casual Vacancy, as well as feed interest in her pseudonymous mystery, The Cuckoo's Calling. It's also interesting to see a 1920s classic, The Great Gatsby, on our top 20, due to the film adaptation, of course.


The big news on our adult nonfiction list is that our One Book, One Chicago selection for the year, The Warmth of Other Suns, was the most popular work of nonfiction. Wow! We'd certainly like to thank everyone who has been participating in this ongoing program, and we encourage you to check out this great book which has so much to say about Chicago history. Michael Hainey's Chicago-set book After Visiting Friends, a kind of real-life mystery about the death of the author's journalist father, also made the list, along with The Third Coast, Tomy Dyja's look at Chicago's cultural contributions to America. After a highly controversial New York Times book review, the book became an occasion for discussing Chicago's perennial "second city" anxieties anew.


The teen book list is topped by Marcus Zusak's beloved The Book Thief, a recent One Book, One Chicago selection that was made into a feature film which rolled into theaters at the end of the year. The list is also dominated by a trilogy of novels written by Chicago area novelist Veronica Roth. The trilogy, which begins with Divergent, is set in a near-future dystopian Chicago, so how could we resist?

The elementary book list is dominated by Wimpy Kid and Captain Underpants (including the latest, Captain Underpants and the Revolting Revenge of the Radioactive Robo-boxers), but kids also continued to love older books, including Wonder. The story of a boy with facial deformities, this novel has been championed by critics, parents and kids alike.

Overall, it's been another inspiring year of reading at Chicago Public Library.

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