Our Picks for Best Books of 2019

In 2019 library readers favored fiction with mystery, suspense and thrillers topping checkouts. While check outs closely followed national trends, library staff and our Facebook friends highlighted many other reads. There is no one way to pick the best books of the year. Everyone has an opinion, and each list is a little different.

Staff Picks

Librarians monitor book reviews and blogs to see what titles are trending from multiple angles, including award winners, movie or TV adaptations, and smaller presses. Psychological suspense and Young Adult fiction are very popular, as are books about women’s experiences, own voices authors and memoirs. Although we (library staff) also have our personal favorite authors and genres that may not be as popular. Peruse this booklist of 2019 staff recommendations.

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Top Check Outs

The top 10 books checked out from the library that were released in 2019 reflect national bestseller trends, with books written by well-known authors and series that keep readers hooked. Books that have a big demand are often available as 14-Day Bestseller Express check outs. These books move faster because they cannot be renewed or put on hold and they only check out for two weeks. I call them lucky day books, because you might just get that hot title you’re on hold for as an express and skip past the line.

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The library has seen a big uptick in the number of digital audiobooks checked out.

The biggest barrier to reading for many people is just time. People love that they can listen to audiobooks while doing other activities.
Amber Bonnett | Digital Librarian
Amber Bonnett | Digital Librarian

Facebook Recommendations

Another way to see what your neighbors are reading is to follow the weekly “What are you reading” conversation on our Facebook page. A lot of big 2019 titles weren’t necessarily the books that checked out the most. Here are five 2019 books readers frequently commented on in 2019:

Our Facebook comments also show that many of us are catching up on what was hot the year before. Here are five titles published in 2018 that readers frequently commented on in 2019:

Below are a few of the monthly booklists I generate from our “What are you reading” Facebook conversations. As you’ll see from these lists our community has a wide variety of reading choices, which is fabulous!

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More Places to Find Reading Recommendations

You’ll find reading recommendations all year long in the library catalog, book blogs and our podcast. The blogs Lost in the Stacks, Fiction Five, Book Fix and What YA’ Reading provide reading suggestions on a variety of genres. The library’s podcast, The Bookmark, provides stellar staff picks in weekly 30-minute episodes. Miranda Ericsson, Chris Blocker and Autumn Friedli discuss books to add to your reading list with a different library guest each week.

Miranda Ericsson

Miranda is your Readers Librarian. She loves to talk books, and to connect readers with their next great reads. Her favorite reads are poetry, literary fiction, and speculative science fiction, and she's passionate about promoting literature written by Kansas authors. She works with library programs that support and engage writers in our community, so ask her for more information about the Local Writers Workshop and Great Writers Right Here author fair. Miranda also facilitates TALK book discussions, co-leads the BookBites book discussion group, and serves as a member of the library's 2Book Topeka team.