Man reading a book sipping coffee
Saturday, December 21, 2019 Charleston County Library

CHARLESTON, S.C. – What are your neighbors reading? What’s popular across Charleston County? What books are we carrying around on our phones, on e-readers in our purses and backpacks? What books have spent more time on coffee and bedside tables than any other in our collection? We’ve been digging through the circulation records at Charleston County Public Library looking at the most widely circulated titles of 2019.

Many of the titles on this list you’ll certainly recognize, but there may be a surprise or two. Want to know a really interesting fact about this list? Turns out every title in our most circulated list, spot for spot, matches our most circulated fiction books. 

We've even made it easy to place a hold on one of these books you may have missed this year -- each title and cover is linked directly to Overdrive, and there are also links to the books, large print books, and audiobooks in our collection.

10. City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

Told from the perspective of an older woman as she looks back on her youth with both pleasure and regret (but mostly pleasure), City of Girls explores themes of female sexuality and promiscuity, as well as the idiosyncrasies of true love. In 1940, nineteen-year-old Vivian Morris has just been kicked out of Vassar College, owing to her lackluster freshman-year performance. Her affluent parents send her to Manhattan to live with her Aunt Peg, who owns a flamboyant, crumbling midtown theater called the Lily Playhouse. There Vivian is introduced to an entire cosmos of unconventional and charismatic characters, from the fun-chasing showgirls to a sexy male actor, a grand-dame actress, a lady-killer writer, and no-nonsense stage manager. But when Vivian makes a personal mistake that results in professional scandal, it turns her new world upside down in ways that it will take her years to fully understand. Ultimately, though, it leads her to a new understanding of the kind of life she craves - and the kind of freedom it takes to pursue it. It will also lead to the love of her life, a love that stands out from all the rest. Now eighty-nine years old and telling her story at last, Vivian recalls how the events of those years altered the course of her life - and the gusto and autonomy with which she approached it. "At some point in a woman's life, she just gets tired of being ashamed all the time," she muses. "After that, she is free to become whoever she truly is." Written with a powerful wisdom about human desire and connection, City of Girls is a love story like no other.

Put a hold on the physical book

Put a hold on the book on CD

 

9. Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

Nine people gather at a remote health resort. Some are here to lose weight, some are here to get a reboot on life, some are here for reasons they can't even admit to themselves. Amidst all of the luxury and pampering, the mindfulness and meditation, they know these ten days might involve some real work. But none of them could imagine just how challenging the next ten days are going to be.

Frances Welty, the formerly best-selling romantic novelist, arrives at Tranquillum House nursing a bad back, a broken heart, and an exquisitely painful paper cut. She's immediately intrigued by her fellow guests. Most of them don't look to be in need of a health resort at all. But the person that intrigues her most is the strange and charismatic owner/director of Tranquillum House. Could this person really have the answers Frances didn't even know she was seeking? Should Frances put aside her doubts and immerse herself in everything Tranquillum House has to offer - or should she run while she still can?

It's not long before every guest at Tranquillum House is asking exactly the same question.

Put a hold on the physical book

Need the large print? Click here

Put a hold on the book on CD

 

8. Run Away by Harlan Coben

You've lost your daughter. She's addicted to drugs and to an abusive boyfriend. And she's made it clear that she doesn't want to be found. Then, by chance, you see her playing guitar in Central Park. But she's not the girl you remember. This woman is living on the edge, frightened, and clearly in trouble. You don't stop to think. You approach her, beg her to come home. She runs. And you do the only thing a parent can do: you follow her into a dark and dangerous world you never knew existed. Before you know it, both your family and your life are on the line. And in order to protect your daughter from the evils of that world, you must face them head on.

Put a hold on the physical book

Need the large print version? Click here

Put a hold on the book on CD

 

7. Past Tense: A Jack Reacher Novel by Lee Child

Jack Reacher hits the pavement and sticks out his thumb. He plans to follow the sun on an epic trip across America, from Maine to California. He doesn't get far. On a country road deep in the New England woods, he sees a sign to a place he has never been: the town where his father was born. He thinks, What's one extra day? He takes the detour. At the same moment, in the same isolated area, a car breaks down. Two young Canadians had been on their way to New York City to sell a treasure. Now they're stranded at a lonely motel in the middle of nowhere. The owners seem almost too friendly. It's a strange place, but it's all there is.

The next morning, in the city clerk's office, Reacher asks about the old family home. He's told no one named Reacher ever lived in town. He's always known his father left and never returned, but now Reacher wonders, Was he ever there in the first place? As Reacher explores his father's life, and as the Canadians face lethal dangers, strands of different stories begin to merge. Then Reacher makes a shocking discovery: The present can be tough, but the past can be tense . . . and deadly.

Put a hold on the physical book

Need the large print version? Click here

Put a hold on the book on CD

 

6. Long Road To Mercy by David Baldacci

Atlee Pine, an FBI special agent assigned to the remote wilds of the western United States. Ever since her twin sister was abducted by a notorious serial killer at age five, Atlee has spent her life hunting down those who hurt others. And she's the best at it. She could be one of the Bureau's top criminal profilers, if she didn't prefer catching criminals in the vast wilderness of the West to climbing the career ladder in the D.C. office. Her chosen mission is a lonesome one--but that suits her just fine. Now, Atlee is called in to investigate the mutilated carcass of a mule found in the Grand Canyon--and hopefully, solve the disappearance of its rider. But this isn't the only recent disappearance. In fact, it may be just the first clue, the key to unraveling a rash of other similar missing persons cases in the canyon.

Put a hold on the physical book

Need the large print version? Click here

Put a hold on the book on CD

 

5. Queen Bee: A Novel by Dorathea Benton Frank

Immerse yourself in the enchanting world of New York Times bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank's Carolina Lowcountry in this evocative tale that returns at long last to her beloved Sullivan's Island. Beekeeper Holly McNee Kensen quietly lives in a world of her own on Sullivan's Island, tending her hives and working at the local island library. Holly calls her mother The Queen Bee because she's a demanding hulk of a woman.

Her mother, a devoted hypochondriac, might be unaware that she's quite ill but that doesn't stop her from tormenting Holly. To escape the drama, Holly's sister Leslie married and moved away, wanting little to do with island life. Holly's escape is to submerge herself in the lives of the two young boys next door and their widowed father, Archie. Her world is upended when the more flamboyant Leslie returns and both sisters, polar opposites, fixate on what's happening in their neighbor's home. Is Archie really in love with that awful ice queen of a woman? If Archie marries her, what will become of his little boys?

Restless Leslie is desperate for validation after her imploded marriage, squandering her favors on any and all takers. Their mother ups her game in an uproarious and theatrical downward spiral. Scandalized Holly is talking to her honey bees a mile a minute, as though they'll give her a solution to all the chaos. Maybe they will.

Queen Bee is a classic Lowcountry Tale--warm, wise and hilarious, it roars with humanity and a dropperful of whodunit added for good measure by an unseen hand. In her twentieth novel, Dorothea Benton Frank brings us back to her beloved island with an unforgettable story where the Lowcountry magic of the natural world collides with the beat of the human heart

Put a hold on the physical book

Need the large print version? Click here

Put a hold on the book on CD

 

4. Redemption by David Baldacci

Detective Amos Decker discovers that a mistake he made as a rookie detective may have led to deadly consequences in this compelling Memory Man thriller by #1 New York Times bestselling author David Baldacci. Decker is visiting his hometown of Burlington, Ohio, when he's approached by a man named Meryl Hawkins. Hawkins is a convicted murderer. In fact, he's the very first killer Decker ever put behind bars. But he's innocent, he claims. Now suffering from terminal cancer, it's his dying wish that Decker clear his name.

It's unthinkable. The case was open and shut, with rock solid forensic evidence. But when Hawkins turns up dead with a bullet in his head, even Decker begins to have doubts. Is it possible that he really did get it wrong, all those years ago?

Decker's determined to uncover the truth, no matter the personal cost. But solving a case this cold may be impossible, especially when it becomes clear that someone doesn't want the old case reopened. Someone who is willing to kill to keep the truth buried, and hide a decades-old secret that may have devastating repercussions.

Put a hold on the physical book

Need the large print version? Click here

Put a hold on the book on CD

 

3. The Reckoning by John Grisham

Pete Banning was Clanton, Mississippi's favorite son--a decorated World War II hero, the patriarch of a prominent family, a farmer, father, neighbor, and a faithful member of the Methodist church. Then one cool October morning he rose early, drove into town, and committed a shocking crime.  Pete's only statement about it--to the sheriff, to his lawyers, to the judge, to the jury, and to his family--was: "I have nothing to say." He was not afraid of death and was willing to take his motive to the grave.

In a major novel unlike anything he has written before, John Grisham takes us on an incredible journey, from the Jim Crow South to the jungles of the Philippines during World War II; from an insane asylum filled with secrets to the Clanton courtroom where Pete's defense attorney tries desperately to save him. 

Reminiscent of the finest tradition of Southern Gothic storytelling, The Reckoning would not be complete without Grisham's signature layers of legal suspense, and he delivers on every page.

Put a hold on the physical book

Need the large print version? Click here

Put a hold on the book on CD

 

2. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Alicia Berenson's life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London's most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.

Alicia's refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.

Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations--a search for the truth that threatens to consume him.

Put a hold on the physical book

Put a hold on the book on CD

 

1. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

For years, rumors of the "Marsh Girl" have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. She's barefoot and wild; unfit for polite society. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark.

But Kya is not what they say. Abandoned at age ten, she has survived on her own in the marsh that she calls home. A born naturalist with just one day of school, she takes life lessons from the land, learning from the false signals of fireflies the real way of this world. But while she could have lived in solitude forever, the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. Drawn to two young men from town, who are each intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new world--until the unthinkable happens. Owens juxtaposes an exquisite ode to the natural world against a heartbreaking coming of age story and a surprising murder investigation. Thought-provoking, wise, and deeply moving, Owens's debut novel reminds us that we are shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps

Put a hold on the physical book

Need the large print version? Click here

Put a hold on the book on CD