Ottawa library releases Top 10 book requests from 2019

Special to WC Online

OTTAWA – Nobody knows what the good books are like a library card holder.

The Ottawa Public Library (OPL) has released its lists of the Top 10 most borrowed books for adults, teens and kids.

“As the year comes to an end, what better way to look back on 2019 than by reviewing the OPL’s most requested books,” OPL staff released in a statement today. “We have put together the Top 10 adult, teen and children books requested between Jan. 1 and Dec. 1, 2019, along with a few observations from OPL librarians. We hope you will enjoy seeing what your fellow Ottawans are most interested in reading, and we hope these titles will inspire your reading list for the new year. Happy reading.”

Adult (This list also reflects the most requested books of 2019 overall)

  1. Becoming, by Michelle Obama
  2. Educated: A Memoir, by Tara Westover
  3. Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens
  4. Washington Black: A Novel, by Esi Edugyan
  5. 12 Rules For Life: An Antidote to Chaos, by Jordan B. Peterson
  6. Normal People: A Novel, by Sally Rooney
  7. The Tattooist of Auschwitz: A Novel, by Heather Morris
  8. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by Yuval Noah Harari
  9. The Huntress: A Novel, by Kate Quinn
  10. The Lost Girl of Paris, by Pam Jenoff

“It is interesting to note that the top five titles in this list were published in 2018 and have maintained their popularity throughout 2019,” the OPL said. “We suspect they will remain popular well into 2020.”

The high ranking of Washington Black represents the “Giller Effect,” times two in this case, since this is powerhouse Esi Edugyan’s second win.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens is an interesting case,” the OPL said. “This first book by an unknown author started to gain popularity after Reese Witherspoon chose it for her book club and bought the film rights.”

The effect of celebrity endorsement and word-of-mouth recommendations kept growing for this book – OPL started out with four print copies and now has more than 100 due to the volume of requests.

“We expect to see this pattern again in 2020 with the 2019 Giller prize winner, Reproduction by Ian Williams, for which popular demand is already growing,” the OPL said.

Notably, half of the titles in this list are non-fiction, and the other half are historical fiction of which three focus on the Second World War. The lone contemporary novel, Normal People by Sally Rooney is a literary hit capturing the millennial zeitgeist that will likely stay or even grow in popularity as the television adaptation comes out next spring.


  1. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, by Jenny Han
  2. The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas
  3. Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi
  4. On the Come Up, by Angie Thomas
  5. Five Feet Apart, by Rachael Lippincott
  6. This Sun Is Also A Star, by Nicola Yoon
  7. King of Scars, by Leigh Bardugo
  8. Children of Virtue and Vengeance, by Tomi Adeyemi
  9. Two Can Keep a Secret, by Karen M. McManus
  10. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

Here are a couple of anecdotes about the Teen list. 1) Four of these titles were nominated in the Best Young Adult Fiction category for the 2019 Goodreads Choice Awards: On the Come Up, Five Feet Apart, King of Scars and Two Can Keep a Secret. 2) The top two titles were made into very successful films in 2018, undoubtedly driving the books’ popularity.


  1. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Wrecking Ball, by Jeff Kinney
  2. The Tyrant’s Tomb, by Rick Riordan
  3. The Poison Jungle, by Tui Sutherland
  4. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Meltdown, by Jeff Kinney
  5. The Hive Queen, by Tui Sutherland
  6. Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Best Friend Forever, by Rachel Renée Russell
  7. Keeper of the Lost Cities: Legacy, by Shannon Messenger
  8. Diary of An Awesome Friendly Kid: Rowley Jefferson’s Journal, by Jeff Kinney
  9. Ali Cross, by James Patterson
  10. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, by J. K. Rowling

“Interestingly, all these titles are novels as opposed to picture books or non-fiction,” the OPL said. “Also noteworthy is that they are all part of a series which is indicative of how popular series are – kids get hooked and keep on reading.”

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