Best Books 2019

This Year’s Most Popular Books in Canada’s Libraries

This Year’s Most Popular Books in Canada’s Libraries

December has come and with it long lists of “the best of…” Top pets, top games, stop streaming; you name it, there’s a list for it. The Toronto Public Library’s (TPL’s) list of its most popular books in 2019 is one list that’s worthy of a gander among book lovers.

To form the list, TPL calculated the number of times a book was borrowed, then added the number of people on hold as of November 28, 2019. The resulting score told TPL which books were most borrowed, and also most wanted.
TPL also drew a few “unscientific” conclusions about the reading habits of Torontonians:

It was a strong year for Canadian literature.

Esi Edugyan’s Giller-winning novel, Washington Black, blew up TPL’s holds lists at the beginning of the year. Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments (which shared a Man Booker Prize with Bernardine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other), did the same in the fall. And A Better Man, the latest in Louise Penny’s wildly popular Chief Inspector Gamache series, drew a lot of attention in the summer. Perhaps most interestingly of all, Miriam Toews’s challenging, experimental Women Talking made the top ten.

It was a strong year for female writers.

Of TPL’s top ten most popular books, eight of them were written by women, and two by men. Furthermore, the top two books for both adults and teens were written by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour) female authors.

Fiction was more popular than nonfiction.

And literary fiction was the most popular kind of fiction. Unlike last year, which was all about thrillers and politics, this year is all about personal stories driven by character and voice. The list has five literary novels, three mystery/thrillers, and two memoirs.

U.S. politics are still capturing Canadians’ attention.

Last year,  one of our top-circulating books was the explosively popular Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, by Michael Wolff. This year, it was former First Lady Michelle Obama’s memoir, Becoming. Clearly, Canada is still riveted by goings-on south of the border.

And now, THE LIST…

  1. Becoming by Michelle Obama – 5,860
  2. Washington Black by Esi Edugyan – 4,997
  3. Educated by Tara Westover – 4,043
  4. Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny – 3,732
  5. The Reckoning by John Grisham – 3,418
  6. The Testaments by Margaret Atwood – 3,292
  7. Women Talking by Miriam Toews – 3,204
  8. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens – 3,172
  9. Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly – 3,116
  10. Normal People by Sally Rooney – 3,076

Source: Toronto Public Library

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