This past year was full of drama and suspense, and so were the books Bronx residents gravitated towards at the borough’s public libraries.
The New York Public Library system released its annual most-read list for the entire city and each borough last week, and 2016’s biggest book citywide was The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins.
The suspense novel was adapted into a film this year and was filmed in the nearby Westchester suburbs it‘s set in.
“Our top check outs certainly reflect the varied tastes and interests of New Yorkers – a richness and diversity that makes New York City unique, and its communities special,” said Christopher Platt, NYPL’s chief branch library officer.
In the Bronx, as in Staten Island, it was the police drama NYPD Red 4 by prolific best-selling author James Patterson that took the top spot.
Patterson also occupies the number five spot with another novel, Private Paris.
The borough’s second-most checked out book was a review book, TASC: Test Assessing Secondary Completion: Strategies, Practice, & Review.
Go Set A Watchman, Harper Lee’s long awaited follow-up of To Kill A Mockingbird was number three, while Ta-nehisi Coates collection of essays on race in America, Between the World and Me, made the list at number six.
The number seven book was Killer Dolls by Nisa Santiago, while the eight and nine spots were held by two Danielle Steel novels, Undercover and Precious Gifts. The tenth spot was held by Vengeance: A Novel by the author Zane.
The library system also broke down the top books by branch.
At Morris Park, the most popular checkout was Jesus: A Pilgrimage by James Martin. At Pelham Parkway-Van Nest, LifePrints: ESL for Adults, an English as a second language guide by Janet Podnecky, was the most popular. On City Island, Harper’s Go Set a Watchman held the top spot.
At the Throg’s Neck Library on East Tremont, the top book was The Last Mile by David Baldacci. The newest of Baldacci’s novels features his popular protagonist Amos Decker, who is asked to investigate the murder of a convicted man’s parent when another person confesses to the crime.
Library manager Leida Torres said Baldacci’s book is among those read as part of the library’s adult book club.
“He’s been popular with the adults, along with James Patterson,” Torres said.
A book club meets at the library each month, and another book club just for seniors meets at the Fort Schuyler House, Torres said.
While physical books may be slowly losing ground to e-readers, Torres said the library was busier in 2016 than 2015, partly due to new programs.
“We’re trying to get parents and their children to come in and take part in some of our early literacy programs,” she said.
The library also offers popular one-on-one computer classes to help area residents with skills such as resume writing or learning to use programs such as Microsoft Excel or Word.
“They just have to make an appointment at the front desk,” she said.