With the closing of 2020, people have turned to art and culture forms to get through this tumultuous year. Park City librarians gave an overview of the most viewed books over the past year.
While some people turned to escape for help during this unprecedented year, others wanted to embrace some of the hardships 2020 presented.
Not surprisingly, Kate Mapp, the adult services librarian at the Park City Library, said she has seen an increase in demand for print and electronic books, especially with the best-selling titles.
She said there were common themes in the types of books people were viewing.
“So it’s almost like we’re looking, as a community through our checkouts, to research, you know, humanity and how to overcome these challenges,” Mapp said.
Two of the most popular titles, she said, are Sapiens: a brief history of humanity by Yuval Noah Harari and Talking to strangers by Malcolm Gladwell
And librarian Katrina Kmak, who manages youth services, said young audiences are also interested in reading about current political issues – with a focus on racial injustice and police brutality.
“Speaking in particular for teenage books, you know, with Breonna Taylor and George Floyd and awareness of social injustice, and also, like the perfect storm of really good social justice books coming out and being published,” said Kmak. “I think this has been an area of interest for our community.”
She said that a book that resurfaced was Stamped: racism, anti-racism and you by Jason Renoylds. Another popular book from YA was The hate you give by Angie Thomas.
Adults who searched for escape literature turned to fictional books like The Dutch house by Ann Patchett, according to Mapp.
“And this is the story of a brother and a sister, and how their lives are linked through the Dutch house, throughout their life,” she said. “And the funny thing about this book is that the audiobook is narrated by Tom Hanks, so it’s kind of a fun treat.”
She saysThe star giver by Jojo Moyes was another most viewed book of 2020.
And for younger audiences, Kmak said graphic novels provide immersive and fun reading.
“I’ve found that choosing a graphic novel is also a great way to read a book pretty quickly and really get immersed in the beautiful illustrations and the story as well,” she said. “So that’s what has been a fun way to have a quick frantic reading. Plus, reading books aimed at a younger audience can sometimes lighten the mood a bit.”
For teens and tweens, she suggested The prince and the seamstress by Jen Wang, which is slated to hit theaters next year. And for the younger ones, Kmak suggested local author Shannon Hale, who wrote The true friends series.
Mapp said adult readers looking for local authors can turn to Ed Power, who wrote Dragons in the snow, a non-fiction book released earlier this year.
“This book won the National Outdoors Book Award this year. And it’s a great story,” Mapp said. “So rather than an instructional guide, on how to protect yourself in the mountains in the event of avalanche danger. Rather, it is more of a story about rescuers and forecasters and behind the scenes, the aspects of avalanches. “
She said readers who prefer fiction should check out Phyllis BarberThe desert between yous, who follows Sophia Hughes, hatter and third wife of a polygamist.
And this year, Kmak and Mapp suggest readers keep their eyes peeled for new books from established authors like Taylor Jenkins Reid, Kristen Hammer, and Ta-Nehisi Coates.