As with most sectors in 2020, it was an unusual year for Victoria’s largest library; with dozens of events cancelled due the pandemic, many people took up a new hobby of reading.
While the public library closed physical locations during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, circulation of digital items increased by more than 92%.
With that said, Greater Victoria Public Library has released a list of their most popular books of 2020, which includes many books published in previous years.
This year’s lists features the top 10 across four categories: adult fiction, adult non-fiction, children’s and teens books. These are borrowed and currently on-hold in regular, large print and audiobooks, either in digital or physical book formats.
Several titles saw renewed popularity as they were easily accessible online, with numerous or unlimited copies available on GVPL’s website.
The top fiction book of 2020 also made the 2019 list: ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’, published in 2018 and written by American author Delia Owens.
Four of the titles in the top ten were written by Canadian Authors: Margaret Atwood, Emily St. John Mandel and Louise Penny; the only author with two books in the top ten.
Memoirs remained popular on the non-fiction list, with Michelle Obama’s memoir ‘Becoming’ the Adult Non-Fiction list.
The titles for children and teens were dominated by trilogies and series and many older books were amongst the top ten in each category.
The oldest book in any of the GVPL top ten lists was at number five on the children’s list, Louisa May Alcott’s ‘Little Women’ published in 1868/69. Markus Zusak’s 2005 classic, ‘The Book Thief’ topped the teen list for 2020.
“We know that Greater Victorians love to read and learn,” says GVPL CEO Maureen Sawa. “I’m so pleased that the library was able to help our community find some solace through reading during this challenging year.”
Without further ado, here are the top 10 in each category:
1. ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ by Delia Owens
2. ‘Blue Moon’ by Lee Child
3. ‘The Night Fire’ by Michael Connelly
4. ‘The Testaments’ by Margaret Atwood
5. ‘The Dutch House’ by Ann Patchett
6. ‘All the Devils are Here’ by Louise Penny
7. ‘American Dirt’ by Jeanine Cummins
8. ‘The Glass Hotel’ by Emily St. John Mandel
9. ‘Agent Running in the Field’ by John Le Carré
10. ‘A Better Man’ by Louise Penny
1. ‘Becoming’ by Michelle Obama
2. Talking to Strangers: What we should know about the people we don’t know’ by Malcolm Gladwell
3. ‘A Promised Land’ by Barack Obama
4. ‘The Body: A Guide for Occupants’ by Bill Bryson
5. ‘Untamed’ by Glennon Doyle
6. ‘Braiding Sweetgrass’ by Robin Wall Kimmerer
7. ‘Educated: A Memoir’ by Tara Westover
8. ‘Atomic habits: tiny changes, remarkable results: an easy & proven way to build good habits & break bad ones’ by James Clear
9. ‘From the Ashes: My story of being Métis, homeless, and finding my way’ by Jesse Thistle
10. ‘Catch and Kill: Lies, spies, and a conspiracy to protect predators’ by Farrow, Ronan,
Kids (each series only appears once)
1. ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’, plus others from the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
2. ‘Guts’ by Raina by Telgemeier
3. ‘Wrecking Ball’, plus others from the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney
4. ‘Minecraft Guide to Farming’ by Alex Wiltshire
5. ‘Little Women’ by Louisa May Alcott
6. ‘The Good Egg’ by Jory John and Pete Oswald
7. ‘Matilda’ by Roald Dahl
8. ‘Anne of Green Gables’ by L. M. Montgomery
9. ‘Waiting is not easy!’ by Mo Willems
10. ‘Bad Kitty Goes to the Vet’ by Nick Bruel
Teen (each series only appears once)
1. ‘The Book Thief’ by Markus Zusak
2. ‘The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’ by Suzanne Collins
3. ‘The Hate u Give’ by Angie Thomas
4. ‘The Secret Commonwealth’ by Philip Pullman
5. ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’, plus others from the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
6. ‘The Queen of Nothing’ by Holly Black
7. ‘Children of Blood and Bone’ by Tomi Adeyemi
8. ‘The Giver’ by Lois Lowry
9. ‘One of Us is Next’ by Karen M. McManus
10. ‘Throne of Glass’ by Sarah J. Maas