How Do Evanston Residents’ Reading Habits Compare to the Country?

Ever wonder what sets Evanston, IL apart from the rest of the nation?  While other parts of the country go gaga over one book or another, can the same be said for our little corner of the world?  Curious, I decided to do some comparisons between the top selling books according to Publishers Weekly this week vs. the books in our library system that have the highest patron demand.  The results may surprise you.  First off, the nation:

Top Fiction Sellers in America Right Now

1. The Whistler by John Grisham

2. Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks

3. Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

4. A Baxter Family Christmas by Karen Kingsbury

5. Escape Clause by John Sandford

6. Order to Kill by Vince Flynn

7. Sex, Lies & Serious Money by Stuart Woods

8. The Blood Mirror by Brent Weeks

9. The Obsidian Chamber by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child

10. Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

And now, here are the top fiction titles at Evanston Public Library based entirely on holds placed on titles at this moment in time.

Top Fiction Titles at Evanston Public Library

1. Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

2. The Whistler by John Grisham

3. The Trespasser by Tana French

4. Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple

5. Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

6. Night School by Lee Child

7. The Mothers by Brit Bennett

8. The Wangs Vs. the World by Jade Chang

9. Turbo Twenty-Three by Janet Evanovich

10. No Man’s Land by David Baldacci

So a couple thoughts on this comparison.  First and foremost, you’ll see that A Baxter Family Christmas is heavily sought after in the rest of the country.  I’ll purchase Christmas fiction for that reason, but I can tell you that when I’m weeding dead fiction (fiction that hasn’t circulated once in over 3 years) Christmas books clog my list.  Nobody in Evanston really looks forward to them.

Second of all, The Blood Mirror?  Really?  Did not see that one coming.

Third, the Evanston books don’t really have as many cult authors or series on them as the national list.  Read into that what you will.

And on the nonfiction side of the equation . . .

Top Non-Fiction Sellers in America Right Now

1. Cooking for Jeffrey: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten

2. The Magnolia Story by Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines

3. Killing the Rising Sun: How America Vanquished World War II Japan by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard

4. Shaken: Discovering Your True Identity in the Midst of Life’s Storms by Tim Tebow and A.J. Gregory

5. Appetites: A Cookbook by Anthony Bourdain

6. Jesus Always: Embracing Joy in His Presence by Sarah Young

7. Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

8. The Broken Way: A Daring Path Into the Abundant Life by Ann Voskamp

9. 100 Days of Real Food: Fast & Fabulous: The Easy and Delicious Way to Cut Out Processed Food by Lisa Leake

10. Filthy Rich: A Powerful Billionaire, the Sex Scandal That Undid Him, and All the Justice that Money Can Buy by James Patterson, John Connolly, and Tim Malloy

 

How does Evanston compare?  Well, here are out top nonfiction titles with the most holds:

Top Non-Fiction Titles at Evanston Public Library

1. Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance

2. Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

3. Upstream: Selected Essays by Mary Oliver

4. Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived Joyous Life by William Burnett

5. Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders by Joshua Foer

6. Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right by Arlie Russell Hochschild

7. Cooking for Jeffrey: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten

8. Filthy Rich: A Powerful Billionaire, the Sex Scandal That Undid Him, and All the Justice that Money Can Buy by James Patterson, John Connolly, and Tim Malloy

9. Killing the Rising Sun: How American Vanquished World War II Japan by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard

10. In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice From Over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs by Grace Bonney

Looking at these titles, I can see a couple things right off the bat.  Religious titles, while they do well at EPL, are not the most requested books here.  O’Reilly’s books really do circulate on a regular basis.  Also, inspirational title do well but aren’t what we might call circ-busters.

Now interestingly enough, there’s another way to look at our popular books.  We could look at the titles that circulated the most at EPL this week.  These lists aren’t perfect, since they’re reliant on the number of copies we have and not necessarily demand, but I think you’ll find them an interesting alternative way to look at what’s popular at EPL.

Fiction Titles That Circulated the Most This Week:

1. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

2. The Nest by Cynthia Sweeney

3. My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

4. The Girls by Emma Cline

5. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

6. Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

7. My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

8. Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

9. Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

10. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

 

Nonfiction Titles That Circulated the Most This Week:

1. The Rainbow Comes and Goes by Anderson Cooper

2. Gratitude by Oliver Sacks

3. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two by Jack Thorne

4. The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson

5. It Gets Worse by Shane Dawson

6. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

7. White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg

8. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

9. Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter by Kate Clifford Larson

10. Furiously Happy by Jenni Lawson

 

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