British Columbia

2016's most read books at the Vancouver Public Library

For those whose holiday traditions include stocking up on books, settling under a warm blanket and shutting out the world: This list is for you, friends.

Justin Trudeau, Ian Rankin, Elena Ferrante top the list of most checked-out authors this past year

Some of the most checked-out books at the Vancouver Public Library this year include memoirs, thrillers and classic novels.

For some, annual holiday traditions include carols, cookies and crafts.  

But for those of a literary persuasion, they may also involve stocking up on books and settling under a warm blanket.

This list is for you, friends. 

VPL's top 10 most checked-out fiction

  1. Even Dogs in the Wild Ian Rankin, 2015
  2. All the Light We Cannot SeeAnthony Doerr, 2014
  3. A Few of the Girls, Maeve Binchy, 2012
  4. Life After Life: A NovelKate Atkinson, 2013
  5. My Brilliant Friend: Childhood, AdolescenceElena Ferrante, 2013
  6. Speaking in BonesKathy Reichs, 2014
  7. The MartianAndy Weir, 2011
  8. The Order of ThingsGraham Hurley, 2015
  9. To Kill a MockingbirdHarper Lee, 1960
  10. A Tale for the Time BeingRuth Ozeki, 2013

VPL's top 10 most checked-out non-fiction

  1. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop TalkingSusan Cain, 2012
  2. What Colour is Your Parachute? Richard Bolles, revised annually
  3. The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North AmericaThomas King, 2013
  4. The Power of Habit: Why we do what we do in life and business, Charles Duhigg, 2012
  5. The Reason You Walk, Wab Kinew, 2015
  6. Common GroundJustin Trudeau, 2014
  7. Thinking, Fast and SlowDaniel Kahneman, 2011
  8. LPI Workbook: Eight Practice Tests for the Language Proficiency Index, 2009
  9. Fodor's Hawaii, 2016
  10. Fodor's Montreal & Quebec City, 2016

'Avid readers with literary tastes'

Sophie Middleton, Vancouver Public Library's acting manager of information services, says the lists reflect Vancouverites' interests and passions.

"We're avid readers with literary tastes and a passion for self-improvement in this crazy 21st century world," Middleton said.

"I think we're trying to make sense of the here and now and we're broadening our horizons."

Anthony Doerr's All the Light We Cannot See won the Pullitzer Prize in 2015 and continues to be one of the most checked-out books at the Vancouver Public Library.

Middleton also noticed that some books on the list were the first in a pair or series, like Life After Life, which was followed by A God in Ruins this past year, and the classic To Kill a Mockingbird, which was followed by the much-anticipated Go Set a Watchman in 2015. 

Others, she added, may just have a longer-spanning interest as people catch up to popular reads or as the books become more readily available through the library's online system. 

Some books on the list are clearly the product of media attention and public discussion, as is the case with Elena Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend, which currently has 118 people waiting to read it.

The Italian novel has been available at the library since 2012, but peaked in public discourse this year when a journalist claimed to reveal the author's true identity.

And as was the case last year, mystery continues to be a popular genre for Vancouverites. 

As for the non-fiction list, Middleton says it reflects a growing interest in the self-improvement genre as people search for "interesting ways to think about ourselves."

Personalized suggestions

If these lists aren't enough to inspire the tried and true literary mavens, Middleton says the library has options for you. 

Besides suggestions on its social media channels like Twitter and Facebook, librarians can also recommend books via email and in person.

But the library also offers another service — the creation of a personalized list of recommendations, including recommendations for friends and family.

"It's a great service and it's quite quick," Middleton said. 


Maryse Zeidler


Maryse Zeidler is a reporter for CBC News in Vancouver, covering news from across British Columbia. You can reach her at