A Year in Review: Wake County Favorite Reads for 2011

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Each year the Record enlists a Wake County librarian to compile a list of the most read (or at least checked out) books for the year from the library system.

Most Popular Adult Fiction
In 2011, Wake County residents continued to read some of the most popular books and authors from the past few years.  Hollywood pushed several along by producing a slew of blockbuster movie hits based on books. “The Help” was popular again and the gritty crime trilogy, “The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo,” soared into the top 5 most read books. Books two and three in the trilogy were not far behind with “The Girl Who Played With Fire” coming in at No. 7, and” The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest” at No. 11. Readers also continued to read some of popular fictions’ favorite authors, including Nicholas Sparks, John Grisham and David Badlacci.

1.  The Help by Kathryn Stockett.
Historical Fiction.  Mississippi. Great Book Club Read. Sophisticated Chick-lit.  Debut Novel.

2.  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. Translated by Reg Keeland.
Swedish.  Mystery. Thriller.  Almost Horror.  Debut Novel.  Book No. 1 in Millennium series.

3.  Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks.
Domestic Fiction. North Carolina. Cozy. Almost Romance.

4.  The Confession by John Grisham.
Mystery. Legal-thriller. Death penalty.

5.  Hell’s Corner by David Baldacci
Political fiction. Terrorist. Suspense. Action. Book No.  5 in Camel Club series.

Most Popular Adult Nonfiction
Hollywood didn’t stick to just fiction as Julia Roberts in “Eat, Pray, Love” put Elizabeth Gilbert’s 2006 memoir by the same title back in the top 5 most read nonfiction books for 2011. The author of “Seabiscuit,” Laura Hillenbrand has a new book, “Unbroken,” which came into the top five as well.

There were some nonfiction surprises as well. The Guinness Book of World Records 2011 was the most checked out nonfiction book this year, probably due to its undying popularity among young boys.  Another surprise: “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” a story about the genetic material of Ms. Lacks that was used to create the polio vaccine and the numerous experiments performed on African Americans.

1.  The Guinness Book of World Records 2011

2.  The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (2011)
Biography. Science writing. Journalistic.  Issue-oriented.

3.  Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
Biography. Inspirational. Army Air Forces. Japanese POW. Pacific front.

4.  Eat, Pray Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India, and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert
Memoir. Travelogue. Food writing. Midlife crisis.

5. Outliers: The story of success by Malcolm Gladwell
Business Writing. Thought-provoking. Human behavior. Modern Culture.

Most Popular Young Adult Fiction
“The Hunger Games” movie will be released in March 2012. The popularity of these books will probably only continue to rise as more and more adults guiltily venture over to the young adult section to check out this trilogy.  Wondering about the last “Harry Potter” movie that came out this summer?  “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” came in as the sixth popular young adult book in 2011.

Fantasy fans have had plenty to read though in 2012, as Rick Riordan as two new series.  “Heros of Olympus” follows a new set of students at Camp Half-Blood (following in the footsteps of “Percy Jackson and The Lightening Thief”), and “The Kane Chronicles,” where a brother and sister take on Egyptian deities.

1. Mockingjay by Suzanne CollinsBook No. 3 in Hunger Games series.  Science fiction. Dystopian. Action-packed.

2. Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
Action. Adventure. Fantasy. Greek and Roman gods.  Olympus.

3. The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsBook
No. 1 in Hunger Games series.  Science fiction. Dystopian. Action-packed.

4. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Book No. 2 in Hunger Games series.  Science fiction. Dystopian. Action-packed.

5. Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
Action. Adventure. Fantasy. Siblings. Egypt. Egyptology.

Megan Roberts is a librarian at Cameron Village Regional Library, and in her spare time enjoys reading young adult fantasy novels and British mysteries.


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