Originally published Monday, December 5, 2011 at 5:00 AM

Lit Life

10 most-in-demand books at King County library

Does author Rick Riordan ever sleep? Not if King County library users can help it. Three of Riordan's books make KCLS' list of titles readers want most.

Seattle Times book editor

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Lit life

Most people know Seattle is a reading town, but some forget that the County of King is equally enthralled with books.

The King County Library System, which services 1.3 million patrons and won the prestigious Gale/Library Journal Award in June, circulates more items than any other library system in the country, according to Library Journal.

So, the question logically follows: What books did county library patrons love in 2011? Last week we ran a list of the 10 most popular books of 2011 among Seattle Public Library users; here's the same list for KCLS. Note the two lists are calculated differently — SPL uses checkouts, KCLS uses holds placed and time spent on holds lists.

Here are the county favorites:

1. "The Hunger Games" (Hunger Games series, Book 1) by Suzanne Collins. The first book in Collins' teen/young-adult trilogy, which portrays the cruel Hunger Games run by the repressive dictators of Panem, formerly the United States. Heroine Katniss agrees to play in the games, a cruel reality-TV competition, in her sister's place.

2. "Unbroken: a World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption" by Laura Hillenbrand. A true story of unbelievable hardship suffered by an American serviceman taken prisoner by the Japanese, and his postwar struggle to come to terms with his ordeal.

3. "Catching Fire" by Suzanne Collins. Book 2 in the Hunger Games trilogy. Katniss' victory stirs up rebellion against the repressive regime that created the Hunger Games.

4. "Son of Neptune" by Rick Riordan. Book 2 in Riordan's "The Heroes of Olympus" series. Riordan, an incredibly popular author among the 10-and-up crowd, writes a new story of his hero Percy Jackson, who acquires a passel of new friends who happen to be "demigods" and encounters all manner of difficulties in the ancient world.

5. "Bossypants" by Tina Fey. Not quite a memoir, this book by the creator of "30 Rock" is a "spiky blend of humor, introspection, critical thinking and Nora Ephron-isms for a new generation," said The New York Times.

6. "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett. The saga of three women in the 1960s, two black and one white, who confront the secrets and injustices of segregated Jackson, Miss.

7. "The Throne of Fire" by Rick Riordan. Also for the 10-and-up set: Book 2 of Riordan's Egyptian mythology series. My question: Does Rick Riordan ever sleep? Maybe he's a demigod himself.

8. "State of Wonder" by Ann Patchett. In Patchett's latest novel, a research scientist is sent to the Amazon jungle to track down her former mentor and gets entangled in multiple complications, personal and professional.

9. "Lost Hero" by Rick Riordan. Here he is again! Book 1 in the "Heroes of Olympus" series.

10. "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" by Amy Chua. A hypervigilant, hypercompetitive mom of Asian heritage bares her strategy for raising hypervigilant, hypercompetitive children. My personal nomination for Book I Most Wanted to Throw Across the Room.

By now you're wondering: What books did SPL and KCLS patrons have in common? Answer" "Unbroken" and "Bossypants" (Book 3 of the Hunger Games trilogy, "Mockingjay," was on the SPL list). My logical thought: there are a lot more teen readers in the county. If you have other thoughts, send them my way.

Mary Ann Gwinn: 206-464-2357 or On Twitter @gwinnma. Mary Ann Gwinn appears on Classical KING-FM's Arts Channel at

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