Books

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood is the #1 most borrowed library book in Canada in 2020

The list was compiled using BookNet Canada's LibraryData, which collects circulation data from libraries across Canada.
Margaret Atwood holds The Testaments during a book launch in 2019. (Dylan Martinez/Reuters)

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood was the most borrowed library book in Canada in 2020, according to BookNet Canada.

BookNet Canada is a non-profit organization that tracks Canadian book sales and library circulation.

The list was compiled using BookNet Canada's LibraryData, which collects circulation data from libraries across Canada.

The Testaments is set 15 years after the events of The Handmaid's Tale and includes the "explosive testaments" of three women. The book answers questions on the inner-workings of Gilead, the oppressive dystopia where Offred, the novel's original narrator, was stripped of her freedoms and forced to be a handmaid for powerful men.

The novel co-won the 2019 Booker Prize and broke Canadian sales records when it was published in September 2019.

Atwood has been publishing poetry, fiction and nonfiction since the 1960s. Her acclaimed books include The Handmaid's TaleAlias GraceOryx and Crake and The Edible Woman. Her latest book is the poetry collection Dearly.

The top nonfiction title was Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell.

Talking to Strangers explores how we interact with people we don't know, and the impact of the assumptions we bring to these conversations. As with his previous books, Malcolm Gladwell uses anecdotes and a narrative voice to examine how societal structures shape human behaviour, including decision-making and the spread of ideas. 

Gladwell is the author of several books, including BlinkOutliers and The Tipping Point.

The top children's book was The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Michael Martchenko. 2020 marked the 40th anniversary of the classic picture book.

The full top 10 is:

  1. The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
  2. A Better Man by Louise Penny
  3. Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell
  4. The Innocents by Michael Crummey
  5. Akin by Emma Donoghue
  6. Many Rivers to Cross by Peter Robinson
  7. From the Ashes by Jesse Thistle
  8. Reproduction by Ian Williams
  9. Elevator Pitch by Linwood Barclay
  10. Someone We Know by Shari Lapena

You can see the top 10 lists for fiction, nonfiction and kids on the BookNet Canada website.

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