The Seattle Times Company

NWjobs | NWautos | NWhomes | NWsource | Free Classifieds |


Our network sites | Advanced

Originally published Sunday, December 12, 2010 at 7:00 PM

Comments (0)     E-mail E-mail article      Print Print      Share Share

Lit Life

10 books most-often borrowed from Seattle Public Library

"The Help," The Stieg Larsson "Girl" trilogy and "The Lacuna" are among the books that Seattleites request most from the public library.

Seattle Times book editor

Lit life |

The Seattle Times runs best-seller lists on our Sunday books page every week; one national list, another from a selected local bookstore. All good, but it got me to thinking; how about the best read books?

To mark the winding down of 2010, I asked the Seattle Public Library to come up with the most checked-out books of 2010. (Next week, I'll do the same with King County libraries.) Here they are, in order, as of the end of November:

1. "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett. This 2009 novel, about three ordinary women (two black, one white) whose lives converge and collide in 1960s Mississippi, has become a national best-selling sensation. Seattle readers agree.

2. "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" by Stieg Larsson. Part I in the late Swedish author's trilogy, in which anti-social computer hacker Lisbeth Salander, whose horrifying upbringing has made her a very tough nut, and crusading Swedish journalist Mikael Blomqvist unite to track down the perpetrator of some gruesome murders.

3. "The Girl Who Played with Fire" by Stieg Larsson. Part II of the trilogy, in which Salander, in hiding from the authorities, nonetheless assists Blomqvist in investigating human trafficking.

4. "The Lacuna" by Barbara Kingsolver. Kingsolver's 2009 novel tells the story of Harrison Williams Shepherd, a half-Mexican, half-American man who sees the 20th century unfold on both sides of the border. Real-life characters such as artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo figure in a plot rife with politics, history and life lessons.

5. "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" by Stieg Larsson. Part III of Larsson's trilogy. Salander and Blomquist unite again to root out systemic corruption, Salander pursuing justice via computer hacking from her hospital bed (if only Larsson were alive to watch the Wiki Leaks story unfold!).

6. "Wolf Hall" by Hilary Mantel. The Man Booker prizewinning novel of Henry VIII's earlier years, seen through the eyes of Thomas Cromwell, Henry's chief right-hand man.

7. "The Lost Symbol" by Dan Brown. Sequel to "The Da Vinci Code" — the further adventures of Robert Langdon.

8. "Outliers: The Story of Success" by Malcolm Gladwell. The New Yorker writer and pop sociologist/psychologist ponders what makes a successful person. Hard work? Talent? Luck?

9. "Food Rules: An Eater's Manual" by Michael Pollan. Pollan, author of "The Omnivore's Dilemma," returned with this slim volume about how to eat responsibly.


10. "I Stink!" by Kate McMullan, illustrated by Jim McMullan. For ages 4-8. The story of a rowdy garbage truck with a New York attitude.

Seven out of the next 10 books (numbers 11-20) were kids' books.

Speaking of well-read: Seattle Public Library issued 61,413 new library cards from Jan. 1 to Nov. 30. That's a total of 336,027 "borrowers," people who used their library cards at least once in the last two years. That's a lot of patrons for an institution that's heading into 2011 with an 8.5 reduction in its budget.

Mary Ann Gwinn: 206-464-2357 or

E-mail E-mail article      Print Print      Share Share

More Books

NEW - 10:24 AM
Shelf Talk | Medical Lectures + medical info: at your public library!

Gordon, Egan among PEN/Faulkner award nominees

Bristol Palin has book deal

Comics: Flaws aside, animated 'All-Star Superman' still fun

Case closed: Dick Tracy artist retires

More Books headlines...

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

No comments have been posted to this article.



AP Video

Entertainment | Top Video | World | Offbeat Video | Sci-Tech