Borrowers’ favourite books revealed

Shetland Library has unveiled its “most borrowed” list of 2015 and the two top authors are no surprise.

Ann Cleeves heads the adult fiction list for the eighth year in a row, while Jeff Kinney’s Wimpy Kid books dominate the junior fiction chart for the fourth year running.

Ann Cleeves on set
Ann Cleeves’ Shetland novels remain popular.

The ongoing popularity of crime fiction is clear – Glasgow crime author Alex Gray has six books in the top 10, and also lending well are other “Shetland Noir” visiting authors Stuart Macbride, Arne Dahl and Yrsa Sigurdardottir.

Adult non-fiction is dominated by cookery books, especially “Bake-Off” related titles. Among peerie readers, it has been a big year for The Gruffalo and he heads the picture book category.

Meanwhile, Millie Vigor’s Shetland novels are still lending very well as large print books, and Andy Weir’s The Martian is the top sci-fi book, probably tying in with the film being a big hit at Mareel.

Connections between books and films are strong in many of the lists. The most popular young adult books have nearly all been made into popular films, the top three being The Maze Runner, The Hunger Games and Divergent.

The library’s two highest-lending DVDs, Before I got to Sleep and Gone Girl started life as blockbuster novels.

Library manager Karen Fraser said: “Books pique interest in film, and vice versa. Just lately we’ve had Carol shown locally; there was Sunset Song before Christmas and the film of Emma Donoghue’s Room is coming soon.

“Folk often want to read or re-read the book when the film comes out. Readers are usually interested in how the film of a favourite book has turned out.

“So much good television is coming from books too – Game of Thrones and Shetland to name two very obvious ones. Maybe War and Peace will make our most-borrowed list next year?”

The local publishing scene is still busy and local books loaned well in 2015. Top spot goes to the library’s own publication – Safely Wounded, a book of Shetland wartime letters edited by Angus Johnson and Isabel Sinclair.

The book was produced in partnership with Shetland Museum and Archives, as was Ian Tait’s Blockade which makes number three in the chart.

The two First World War books are separated by Malachy Tallack’s Sixty Degrees North which got great national recognition as the Radio 4 Book of the Week.

Shetland Food and Cooking by Marian Armitage.
Shetland Food and Cooking by Marian Armitage.

Marian Armitage’s Shetland Food and Cooking is also doing very well at joint third, and three of Marsali Taylor’s Cass Lynch crime series chart in the top 10.

The library introduced eAudio (talking books online) a year ago and the most popular authors in this category include David Nicholls, Sue Townsend and Hilary Mantel.

The eMagazines are lending well too – Woman’s Own, Amateur Photographer and Auto Express top the list. Half the eBook chart consists of Shetland-related titles – books by Marsali Taylor, Ann Cleeves and Millie Vigor as well as the Lonely Planet Shetland guide book and Witchcraft Trials in Orkney and Shetland.

Fraser added: “People are enjoying our online services but most lending is still of traditional physical books, and will be for a long time to come.

“Book reservations are free and can be done very simply online, so we will get the books you want as quickly as possible.”


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