Books atop the 2017 library lending list include legal thrillers and a best seller

The top 2017 books at the Lexington Public Library include psychological suspense and wimpy kid tales, and a graphic novel.
The top 2017 books at the Lexington Public Library include psychological suspense and wimpy kid tales, and a graphic novel.

When Lexingtonians are in a reading mood, here’s what they like: J.D. Vance’s controversial “Hillbilly Elegy” and anything by John Grisham, David Baldacci and James Patterson.

Those are the book titles that topped the 2017 list released by the Lexington Public Library. The list includes both physical books and e-books downloaded by library patrons.

Then there are young adult titles, including “Ghosts” by Rains Telegemeier. For kids a bit younger, there are five volumes of the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series. There also is the children’s novel, “Wonder,” about a child who meets another one with facial anomalies. For the very young, there is “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” who, as we know, has to eat and eat for a transformative reason.

John Sandford’s “Golden Prey” makes an appearance, although by the 27th “prey” novel by the former newspaper feature writer, you might begin to suspect that most everyone in Minnesota has expired. Also on the list is “Y is for Yesterday,” the last Kinsey Milhone mystery by Louisville resident Sue Grafton, who died Dec. 27. Grafton’s family said Grafton, who had named the 25 Milhone novels from A through Y, didn’t have one for Z.

“Into the Water,” Paula Hawkins’ second novel after her breakout “Girl on a Train,” finished at No. 4. (Having read this novel, I can tell you that every character in it should be dumped into the water. Instead, read a Tana French novel; “Broken Harbor” is my favorite because the slip from sanity is subtle.)

The lone “literary” effort in the top 25 is “Commonwealth” by Ann Patchett, owner of Parnassus Books in Nashville. Patchett’s great gift, as in her previous best seller, “Bel Canto,” a love story set in the middle of a terrorist attack, is writing up the literary chain for those who normally read down. “Commonwealth” is about an extended family, an accidental death, feckless adults, and drifting and unpleasant children — just like any family gathering, really.

Doraine Bailey, a lactation consultant with the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department, is one of the public library’s top borrowers at the Village Branch.

The fiction titles aren’t what draw her. “Ninety-nine percent of what I read is nonfiction,” Bailey said.

At the beginning of 2017, she noticed that the branch had stocked up on cookbooks for plant-based eaters and was impressed.

“I thought, who start doing collections for this branch?” Bailey said. “More power to them. What I tend to get are cookbooks, health-related books, general nonfiction.”

She uses the library’s search-and-hold system to have titles at other branches, or those that are in high demand, brought to the Village Branch. She also has used interlibrary loans to acquire books from libraries in Connecticut, Delaware and Berea College.

Bailey said Lexingtonians need to know how to use the free library series “more broadly .... the fact that you can go online, or with a mobile app can search for things and download things and hop in.”

Ruth Bebrowsky and her husband, Charles, are frequent users of the Eastside branch. Ruth is 77; her husband, 80.

“I always followed Stephen King, and I think he’s gone off the rails lately,” Ruth Bebrowsky said. “I like a lot of different things. I like political books, geographies and autobiographies.”

Among fiction writers, she is partial to John Grisham “sometimes,” and Nelson DeMille. Charles Bebrowsky reads books on political science and finance, but he has been reading more fiction lately, including the intricately plotted thrillers of David Ignatius and Vince Flynn.

“I read a lot of history, too,” he said.

When Ruth Bebrowsky was growing up, “One of our entertainments was going to the library and picking something out. ... We learned to love the library early in our lives.”

Here are the Lexington Public Library’s top titles checked out for 2017, including physical copies and e-books, and the number of times they were checked out.

1. “Hillbilly Elegy” by J.D. Vance (839)

2. “Camino Island” by John Grisham (721)

3. “The Whistler” by John Grisham (557)

4. “Into the Water” by Paula Hawkins (553)

5. “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Double Down” by Jeff Kinney (519)

6. “The Late Show” by Michael Connelly (455)

7. “Ghosts” by Raina Telgemeier (436)

8. “Y is for Yesterday” by Sue Grafton (423)

9. “No Man’s Land” by David Baldacci (411)

10. “The Fix” by David Baldacci (409)

11. “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School” by Jeff Kinney (400)

12. “Night School: A Jack Reacher Novel” by Lee Child (397)

13. “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Greg Heffley’s Journal” (No. 1) by Jeff Kinney (383)

14. “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle (380)

15. “The Wrong Side of Goodbye” by Michael Connelly (360)

16. “Never Never” by James Patterson (359)

17. “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling (358)

18. “The Rooster Bar” by John Grisham (354)

19. “Cross the Line” by James Patterson (345)

20. “Golden Prey” by John Sandford (344)

21. “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul” by Jeff Kinney (341)

22. “16th Seduction” by James Patterson (339)

23. “Commonwealth” by Ann Patchett (335)

24. “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules” by Jeff Kinney (334)

25. “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio (332)

Fayette County top e-books for 2017

1. “Camino Island” by John Grisham (536)

2. “Into the Water” by Paula Hawkins (489)

3. “The Fix” by David Baldacci (437)

4. “Come Sundown” by Nora Roberts (338)

5. “16th Seduction: Women’s Murder Club” by James Patterson (264)

6. “The Late Show” by Michael Connelly (250)

7. “Y is for Yesterday” by Sue Grafton (249)

8. “The Identicals” by Elin Hilderbrand (226)

9. “Origin” by Dan Brown (220)

10. “Golden Prey” by John Sanford (202)

11. “One Perfect Lie” by Lisa Scottoline (201)

12. “The Girl Before” by J.P. Delaney (192)

13. “Right Behind You” by Lisa Gardner (191)

14. “The Arrangement” by Sarah Dunn (190)

15. “The Rooster Bar” by John Grisham (189)

16. “The Black Book” by James Patterson (187)

17. “Same Beach, Next Year” by Dorothea Benton Frank (183)

18. “Seeing Red” by Sandra Brown (177)

19. “My Not So Perfect Life” by Sophie Kinsella (172)

20. “Anything is Possible” by Elizabeth Strout (170)

21. “The Alice Network” by Kate Quinn (168)

22. “Before We were Yours” by Lisa Wingate (165)

23. “The Midnight Line: Jack Reacher Series” by Lee Child (159)

24. “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” by Gail Honeyman (154)

25. “All by Myself, Alone” by Mary Higgins Clark (149)

For comparison, here are the top 10 books in the New York Public Library System (includes all boroughs):

Top 10 books systemwide

1. “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates

2. “The Underground Railroad: A Novel” by Colson Whitehead

3. “Hillbilly Elegy” by J.D. Vance

4. “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins

5. “When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi

6. “The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” by Marie Kondo

7. “The Undoing Project: A Friendship that Changed Our Minds” by Michael Lewis

8. “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr

9. “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood

10. “Commonwealth: A Novel” by Ann Patchett

Cheryl Truman: 859-231-3202, @CherylTruman