What Philadelphia Read in 2020

By Jamie B. RSS Wed, December 30, 2020

The longest year ever is coming to a close. (Amen.) That means that it’s time to peruse some Best of 2020 book lists!

Across the web you can find tons of these kinds of lists. Two of my favorites are Book Riot’s Best Books of 2020, where they break it down into 11 genres, including everything from children’s to horror. I also like the Ultimate Best Books of 2020 List, created by Literature Hub, which takes some of the work out of it for you, by aggregating over 41 lists and selecting the ones mentioned the most.

Here at the Free Library, we can certainly debate the best books of 2020. (For the record, it was Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby, obvs.) But what cannot be argued with is cold, hard data. Somewhat separate from the question of what is the greatest, you may wonder: what did Philadelphians actually read in 2020? Which ebooks and audiobooks were checked out the most? The answers may surprise you.

The digital book checked out at the Free Library the most this year was Becoming, the memoir by First Lady Michelle Obama, which was checked out a whopping 3,108 times! The most popular kid’s title, circulating 2,080 times, was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in audiobook format. The top adult fiction book this year was The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, with 1,422 checkouts. And finally, taking first place for teen titles is Angie Thomas’s, The Hate U Give, which was borrowed 1,036 times. Fun fact: in 2017, Angie Thomas visited the Philadelphia City Institute Library as part of the Social Justice Symposium, and spoke with a group of teens there about how they can combat hate and the enduring legacy of rapper and author Tupac Shakur. Read on for a full list of the top ebooks & audiobooks checked out at the Free Library in 2020.


Fiction

  1. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (1,422)
  2. Twisted Twenty-Six by Janet Evanovich (1,282)
  3. Blue Moon by Lee Child (1,281)
  4. A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas (1,276)
  5. The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead (1,252)
  6. Long Road to Mercy by David Baldacci (1,229)
  7. The Night Fire by Michael Connelly (1,199)
  8. A Minute to Midnight by David Baldacci (1,183)
  9. Summer of ‘69 by Elin Hilderbrand (1,163)
  10. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan (1,144)


Nonfiction

  1. Becoming by Michelle Obama (3,108)
  2. So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo (2,706)
  3. White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo (2,344)
  4. The Year of Less by Cait Flanders (2,055)
  5. How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi (1,857)
  6. Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer (1,429)
  7. Between the World and Me (ebook) by Ta-Nehisi Coates (1,330)
  8. Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad (937)
  9. Between the World and Me (audiobook) by Ta-Nehisi Coates (908)
  10. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson (843)

 

Young Adult Fiction

  1. The Hate U Give (ebook) by Angie Thomas (1,036)
  2. The Hate U Give (audiobook) by Angie Thomas (1,027)
  3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (1,008)
  4. The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee (968)
  5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (758)
  6. We Were Liars by E. Lockheart (624)
  7. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green (569)
  8. Reverie by Ryan La Sala (553)
  9. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (542)
  10. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins (519)

 

Young Adult Nonfiction

  1. Funny, You Don’t Look Autistic (ebook) by Michael McCreary (685)
  2. Stamped—Racism, Antiracism, and You (ebook) by Jason Reynolds & Ibram X. Kendi (332)
  3. Stamped—Racism, Antiracism, and You (audiobook) by Jason Reynolds & Ibram X. Kendi (302)
  4. Funny, You Don’t Look Autistic (audiobook) by Michael McCreary (241)
  5. All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson (126)
  6. Night by Elie Wiesel (97)
  7. March, Book 1 by John Lewis (84) & Omnivore’s Dilemma: the Secrets Behind What You Eat by Michael Pollan (84) 
  8. Just Mercy: A True Story of the Fight for Justice by Bryan Stevenson (69)
  9. Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation by Anne Frank & David Polonsky (52)
  10. March, Book 2 by John Lewis (51)

 

Juvenile Fiction

  1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (audiobook) by J. K. Rowling (2,080)
  2. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (ebook) by J. K. Rowling (897)
  3. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’engle (791)
  4. Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling (779)
  5. Wonder by R. J. Palacio (664)
  6. The Giver by Lois Lowry (646)
  7. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling (621)
  8. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling (484)
  9. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling (384)
  10. Ali Cross by James Patterson (382)

 

Juvenile Nonfiction

  1. Brown Girl Dreaming (ebook) by Jacqueline Woodson (93)
  2. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli (84)
  3. This Book is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell (72)
  4. The Boy on the Wooden Box by Leon Layson (71)
  5. Brown Girl Dreaming (audiobook) by Jacqueline Woodson (69)
  6. Hidden Figures: Young Readers Edition by Margot Lee Shetterly (67)
  7. To the Moon! by Jodie Shepherd (59) 
  8. Forgotten Bones by Lois Miner Huey (56)
  9. Of Thee I Sing by Barack Obama (53)
  10. She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton (52)


Have you read any of the above titles? What’s the best book you’ve read this year? Let us know in the comments.

Thanks for using and supporting the Free Library, and here’s to a new year!


Leave this field empty

Add a Comment to What Philadelphia Read in 2020

Your email is kept private and will not be shown publicly