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Strong women, religious fiction are among popular reads

Jessi Brown holds up a copy of Janet Evanovich's "Four to Score," the adult fiction title most borrowed at the Huntington City-Township Pulbic Library in 2008.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published April 2, 2009

What are we reading?

Depends on where we live.

In Huntington, we're enamored of Stephanie Plum, "a bounty hunter with attitude."

In Markle, we'd rather settle down with a thriller.

"There is a big difference in what is read in Huntington and what is read in Markle," says Huntington City-Township Public Library Director Kathy Holst as she flips through a list of the most-checked-out books for 2008.

"Four to Score," the fourth book in the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich, topped the adult fiction list for the Huntington library. Evanovich also had two other books on the top 10 list - "Seven Up," the seventh book in the Plum series and number three on the Huntington adult fiction list; and "Two for the Dough," the second Plum book and fifth on the Huntington library's list.

"It's definitely chick flick mystery," Holst says of the Plum series. "She's a bondsman, a woman capable of doing all."

The most frequently adult fiction book checked out at the Markle library last year was "Tailspin," the 12th book in Catherine Coulter's series of FBI suspense thrillers.
And while that book made the top of the list in Markle, Holst says Markle's interests really lie elsewhere.

"Markle is really big on religious fiction," she says. Religious fiction is also popular in Huntington, she says, but nothing from that genre made the top 10 list at the library's main branch.

In the non-fiction arena, Holst says, Huntington adults delve into the medical field, while adults in Markle check out books about dog training, quilt making and recipes.

The adult non-fiction book most checked out in Huntington in 2008 was "Clean & Green: The Complete Guide," while Markle patrons favored "Guinness World Records."

"Just a slight difference in reading tastes," Holst says.

Holst points out one change in Markle - a newly-found preference for books over videos.

"Previous to our consolidation, Markle's circulation was primarily in video format, videos or DVDs," she says. "Not any more. Books have overtaken DVDs."

However, she says, people with a Huntington or Markle library card can check out items from either library, so it's impossible to tell who's borrowing what from where although it's assumed that cardholders use the branch closest to where they live.

A CD version of "The Complete Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes" was checked out 63 times - more times than any other single item at either library - but Holst says that's not indicative of a sudden resurgence of popularity for the Scottish detective.

"That was a ‘Battle of the Books' book," Holst says, referring to a contest in which students are quizzed on their familiarity with specific books. "What that tells me is that those kids listened to it on CD."

In the young adult section, the most frequently checked out book of fiction was "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants," by Ann Brashares in Huntington; and, in Markle, "High School Musical: All Access."

In non-fiction, Huntington's young adults kept checking out "Star Wars Attack of the Cones: The Visual Dictionary." In Markle, the top young adult non-fiction book was the "Garfield Fat Cat" three-pack.

Over in the juvenile fiction area, the most frequently checked out book at the Huntington library for 2008 was "Lucinda's Secret," part of the Spiderwick Chronicles series detailing a trio of children's adventures in a magical world.

In Markle, the top juvenile fiction book was "Wacky Wednesday" by Theo. LeSeig (better known as Dr. Seuss).

As for non-fiction, young readers in Huntington wanted to know about numbers ("Math Matters"), while those in Markle preferred to read about bugs ("Where do Ants Live?")

Here are the five most frequently checked out adult fiction and non-fiction books of 2008 at the Huntington and Markle libraries.

Huntington, adult fiction:
1 - "Four to Score," Janet Evanovich.
2 - "The Wedding," Nicholas Sparks.
3 - "Seven Up," Evanovich.
4 - "When Joy Came to Stay," Karen Kingsbury.
5 - "Two for the Sough," Evanovich.

Markle, adult fiction:
1 - "Tailspin," Catherine Coulter.
2 - "The Host," Stephenie Meyer.
3 - "Where Are You Now?" Mary Higgins Clark.
4 - "Tribute," Nora Roberts.
5 - "Twenty Wishes," Debbie Macomber.

Huntington, adult non-fiction:
1 - "Clean & Green: The Complete Guide to Non-Toxic and Environmentally Safe Housekeeping," by Annie Berthold-Bond.
2 - "The Stone Cold Truth," Steve Austin.
3 - "Mayo Clinic Heart Book," Michael McGoon.
4 - "The Green Book of Household Hints: Keeping an Efficient and Ecologically Sound Home," by Marjorie Harris.
5 - "The Complete Dog Book," by the American Kennel Club staff.

Markle, adult non-fiction:
1 - "Guinness World Records."
2 -"Symptoms: Their Causes & Cures : How to Understand and Treat 265 Health Concerns," from Prevention Magazine.
3 - "Garfield Older & Wider," Jim Davis.
4 - "How to Train Your Dog," by J. Palmer.
5 - "Haunted Ohio IV," by Chris Woodyard.