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Mixing food and romance at the library

ROMANCE novels and cookery books were among the top books borrowed from Clare libraries in 2013, according to details released by Clare County Library this week.

Almost 545,000 items were borrowed from Clare County Library in 2013 but while there is an increase in demand for electronic resources, 92% of the items borrowed were physical books.

In the adult non-fiction section, Rachel Allen’s cookery books claimed four of the spots on the list of the 10 most popular non-fiction books borrowed from the county library in 2013. As further evidence of the increased popularity of home cooking, two other cookery books, Avoca Café Cookbook 2 and Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals, also made the top 10 list.

As has been a pattern for many years, The Official Driver Theory Test – Questions and Answers topped the most popular list.

Memoirs were also popular this year and among the ones most in demand was those by retired politician Mary O’Rourke and author Michael Harding. World Football Records 2013 was the 10th most popular non-fiction book of 2013 in Clare libraries.

Meanwhile, in the adult fiction section, books by Irish romance writers Sheila O’Flanagan, Patricia Scanlan, Cathy Kelly, Marian Keyes and Róisín Meaney continue to generate huge demand among fiction readers.

In 2013, Hilary Mantel’s multi-award winning Wolf Hall was beaten to the top spot on the fiction list by Sheila O’Flanagan’s Better Together. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, described as “a word of mouth bestseller”, claimed the number five spot on the list.

“This psychological thriller has been very popular with readers and especially book clubs worldwide. A John Grisham book regularly features on the list of the most popular fiction books among readers in Clare County Library and 2013 was no exception, with The Racketeer claiming the number 10 spot,” said Carrie Stafford of Clare County Library.

Lee Child fans eagerly awaited the 17th Jack Reacher novel A Wanted Man and there was renewed interest from readers in James Plunkett’s Strumpet City, due to the publicity around the centenary of the 1913 Lockout.

On the children’s most borrowed list, books and film join forces, with Clare young people borrowing 263,000 books from the library in 2013.

“Almost all of the top 10 children’s books have gone on to inspire movies or TV serials, which in turn increases the popularity of the original books. The adaptation of books for the big screen always sees a surge in demand for these titles, which the library service is more than happy to meet. The same is true of the top issuing books for teenagers,” Ms Stafford added.

According to library staff, the top issuing children’s book of 2013 in the county library branches was guaranteed to be a title in the phenomenally popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney.

Book Two in the series, Roderick Rules, took the first place position on the top issuing books for children in the past year.

“Books written in diary format are becoming increasingly popular, with many writers taking note and writing books in a style that appeals to today’s social media-savvy children. Instant conversation directed exclusively at the reader, with text broken attractively into small chunks, is an appealing approach and is also less daunting for reluctant readers. Lined pages, pen and ink sketches and cartoons work together to make the books seem like actual diaries or journals,” Ms Stafford said.

Irish authors who have emulated this format in the few years include Anna Carey in her latest instalment of the award-winning series about Rebecca Raftery, Rebecca Rocks and Marita Conlon McKenna in her moving story, Love Lucie.

Three other books by Jeff Kinney in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Last Straw; The Diary of a Wimpy Kid (the first book in the series) and Dog Days, feature second, third and fourth on the top 10 list.

Horrid Henry’s Holiday shares joint fifth position, with The Guinness World Records 2013. Created by Francesca Simon and illustrated by Tony Ross, the first Horrid Henry book was written and published in 1984, with new titles appearing every year since then, as well as several collections, activity books and joke books.

Jacqueline Wilson has held top position for many years now in the bestselling book charts for children and teenagers and her latest title, My Secret Diary, was sixth in the list of Clare County Library’s most borrowed books.

Renowned for and sometimes questioned about her exploration of controversial issues in her books for children, this prolific writer and recent Children’s Laureate remains hugely popular among child and teenage readers.

Horrid Henry and the Bogey Babysitter, Horrid Henry’s Underpants and Horrid Henry’s Christmas Cracker take seventh, eighth and ninth positions respectively, followed by The Match Annual 2013 at number 10.

For teenagers, Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games was the runaway success of 2013. The popularity of all three books in the series, which came in at first, second and third places in the most borrowed books in the young adult category, was undoubtedly due to the success of the film released in 2012.

Consistent with previous years’ results, other authors featuring high on the most popular books for teens included Darren Shan and Jacqueline Wilson.

About Austin Hobbs

Austin Hobbs

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