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Check it out: Wichita's most popular library books for 2023

On the list of most-checked-out books from the Wichita Public Library, author Dav Pilkey dominated the children's book category in 2023. Among adult readers, "Fourth Wing" by Rebecca Yarros and "Spare" by Prince Harry were at the top.

The most borrowed nonfiction book from the Wichita Public Library in 2023 was Prince Harry’s memoir, “Spare.” The most popular fiction book was "Desert Star" by Michael Connelly. The most popular e- or audiobook was "Fourth Wing" by Rebecca Yarros. And nine of the 10 most checked-out children's books were by middle-grade author Dav Pilkey.

WICHITA, Kansas — Wichita readers clamored for celebrity memoirs, commercial fiction and books made popular on TikTok in 2023.

That’s according to the Wichita Public Library’s annual rundown of the print books, e-books and audiobooks most borrowed by patrons. The library compiles lists each year for adult fiction, nonfiction, children’s books and electronic materials.

Wichita’s No. 1 most borrowed nonfiction book in 2023 was Prince Harry’s memoir, “Spare,” which was a record-breaking commercial success when it was released last January.

Wichita libraries logged 950 checkouts for “Spare,” in both print and e-book format. The memoir was also the most borrowed nonfiction e-book nationally in 2023 on the library app Libby.

Other celebrity memoirs on Wichita’s top 10 included “I’m Glad My Mom Died” by Jennette McCurdy, “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?” by Roz Chast (also Wichita’s 2023 Big Read selection), and “Becoming Free Indeed: My Story of Disentangling Faith from Fear” by Jinger Duggar Vuolo.

The fantasy/romance novel “Fourth Wing” by Rebecca Yarros became a viral phenomenon on TikTok — also known as BookTok — last year. It was the No. 1 most requested e-book and audiobook among Wichita library patrons.

Wichita’s print fiction list was dominated by commercially successful authors. Michael Connelly topped the list with “Desert Star,” the latest installment in his detective Harry Bosch series. Others in the top 10 included John Grisham, David Baldacci, Louise Penny and Colleen Hoover.

And Wichita’s list of most popular children’s books, with one exception, is all Dav Pilkey. (“You will notice a theme,” said librarian Sarah Kittrell.)

Pilkey’s popular “Dog Man” series for middle-grade readers took the top five spots in Wichita’s 10 most checked-out books for children. Include Pilkey’s “Cat Kid Comic Club,” and he has nine of the top 10 spots. Only J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” which came in at No. 8, prevented a Pilkey sweep in 2023.

Here are the Wichita public library’s most checked-out books for 2023, by category:

Print Fiction

  1. Desert Star by Michael Connelly (247 checkouts)
  2. (tie) Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus (238 checkouts); The Boys from Biloxi by John Grisham (238 checkouts)
  3. Long Shadows by David Baldacci (220 checkouts)
  4. A World of Curiosities by Louise Penn (219 checkouts)
  5. It Starts With Us by Colleen Hoover (212 checkouts)
  6. Going Rogue: Rise and Shine Twenty-Nine by Janet Evanovich (211 checkouts)
  7. Storm Watch by C.J. Box (195 checkouts)
  8. Mad Honey by Jennifer Finney Boylan and Jodi Picoult (189 checkouts)
  9. It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover (184 checkouts)

Print Nonfiction

  1. Spare by Prince Harry (382 checkouts)
  2. Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue (332 checkouts)
  3. I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy (246 checkouts)
  4. Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast (155 checkouts)
  5. Becoming Free Indeed: My Story of Disentangling Faith From Fear by Jinger Duggar Vuolo (92 checkouts)
  6. Hungry Girl Simply Comfort: Feel-Good Favorites For Your Slow Cooker & Air Fryer by Lisa Lillien (91 checkouts)
  7. (tie) Secret Kansas: a Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure by Roxie Yonkey (90 checkouts); The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny, and Murder by David Grann (90 checkouts)
  8. (tie) Guinness World Records (89 checkouts); Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann (89 checkouts)

Children's Books

  1. Dog Man #6: Brawl of the Wild by Dav Pilkey (196 checkouts)
  2. Dog Man #3: A Tale of Two Kitties by Dav Pilkey (191 checkouts)
  3. Dog Man #1 by Dav Pilkey (182 checkouts)
  4. Dog Man #4: Dog Man and Cat Kid by Dav Pilkey (178 checkouts)
  5. Dog Man #5: Mothering Heights by Dav Pilkey (169 checkouts)
  6. Cat Kid Comic Club #4: Collaborations by Dav Pilkey (168 checkouts)
  7. Dog Man #5: Lord of the Fleas by Dav Pilkey (166 checkouts)
  8. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (162 checkouts)
  9. Cat Kid Comic Club #1 by Dav Pilkey (156 checkouts)
  10. Dog Man #2: Unleashed by Dav Pilkey (153 checkouts)

E-Materials (e-books and audiobooks)

  1. Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros (891 checkouts)
  2. It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover (774 checkouts)
  3. You Shouldn’t Have Come Here by Jeneva Rose (714 checkouts)
  4. Girl, Forgotten by Karin Slaughter (701 checkouts)
  5. It Starts With Us by Colleen Hoover (589 checkouts)
  6. Spare by Prince Harry (568 checkouts)
  7. The Locked Door by Freida McFadden (565 checkouts)
  8. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (561 checkouts)
  9. Verity by Colleen Hoover (525 checkouts)
  10. Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast (511 checkouts)

Suzanne Perez reports on education for KMUW in Wichita and the Kansas News Service. You can follow her on Twitter @SuzPerezICT.

The Kansas News Service is a collaboration of KMUW, KCUR, Kansas Public Radio and High Plains Public Radio focused on health, the social determinants of health and their connection to public policy.

Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished by news media at no cost with proper attribution and a link to ksnewsservice.org.

Suzanne Perez is a longtime journalist covering education and general news for KMUW and the Kansas News Service. Suzanne reviews new books for KMUW and is the co-host with Beth Golay of the Books & Whatnot podcast. Follow her on Twitter @SuzPerezICT.
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