2011: A year in print

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Oldham County has an eclectic taste in adult fiction, according to Susan Eubank, Oldham County Public Library director.

Eubank compiled a list of the top circulated adult fiction and non-fiction books in 2011, including many from familiar authors. 

Haven’t read one yet? Check it out from one of the library’s three branches. Have an opinion about a book on — or not on — the list? Visit www.oldhamera.com and leave a comment.

Most checked out adult fiction:

“The Help” by Kathryn Stockett

Stockett’s wildly popular novel about black domestic servants working in white Southern households in the early 1960s was released in 2009 but enjoyed a resurgence in popularity this year due to the release of the cinematic version. The OCPL has the title available in hardback, paperback, ebook, large print and spoken word. 

“Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen

This bittersweet and reflective tale is character-driven by the romance of circus life in the Depression years. A surprising second favorite at both the Mahan and the Main libraries, this title is available in hardback, ebook, large print and spoken word.

“Sizzling Sixteen” and “Smokin’ Seventeen” by Janet Evanovich

Numbers 16 and 17 in the Stephanie Plum series about the adventures of a New Jersey bounty hunter are as popular as the first 15 have been. And since the release of Explosive Eighteen in November, 124 Oldham readers are on a waiting list. Watch for this one in your libraries as an “on-demand” title. 

“Postcard Killers” and “Toys” by James Patterson

Popular and prolific author Patterson scored big with these two titles as well as several others published this year including “10th Anniversary,” “Kill Alex Cross” and recently released “The Christmas Wedding,” a genre switch for Patterson. His “Maximum Ride” series for teens (young adult fiction) also scored big with “Angel.”

“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” by Stieg Larsson

Larsson’s gripping debut thriller about the decades-old disappearance of a teenage heiress exposes the darkness beneath Sweden’s sunny blond veneer and introduces us to the memorable Lisbeth Salander, a tattooed, antisocial computer hacker. The first in the Millennium series was released in 2008 but the success of all three titles written before the author was killed in an automobile accident have shown strong readership in Oldham County.

“House Rules” by Jodi Picoult

The prolific Picoult crafts a cunning whodunit that explores what it’s like to be not only a teenager with Asperger’s syndrome but also an autistic teen accused of murder. This intricately plotted psychological thriller is also popular with fans of courtroom drama.

“The Confession” by John Grisham

As everyone knows, Grisham is the king of courtroom drama and this title released in 2010 has shown a strong circulation all through 2011. The most recent Grisham novel, “The Litigators,” released in November, is another plot-driven thriller currently available in hardback, ebook and on-demand.

“The Best of Me” by Nicholas Sparks 

Twenty-five years after their high school romance ended, a man and woman who have gone their separate ways return to their North Carolina town for the funeral of a friend.

“Freedom” by Jonathan Franzen

In “Freedom,” American middle-class life is revealed as destructive by how muddled notions of entitlement and freedom are and how obliviously life and love are wasted. This is literary fiction at the highest level.

“Hell’s Corner” and “Zero Day” by David Baldacci

Thriller aficionados rejoiced at having this action-packed, conspiracy-laden, politically intriguing mystery to solve in 2011. “Zero Day,” just released in November, is another high-test thriller featuring combat veteran John Puller, an investigator for the Army’s Criminal Investigative Division, as he tries to solve the murder of an Army man and his Pentagon contractor wife in their isolated rural home. 

“Tough Customer” by Sandra Brown

Always popular with the library’s readers, Sandra Brown delivers with a suspenseful story with plenty of romance adding to the mix. 

Most checked-out adult non-fiction picks

  • “SEAL Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy SEAL Sniper” by Howard E. Wasdin and Stephen Templin
  • “The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference” by Malcolm Gladwell
  • “Are You There Vodka? It’s me, Chelsea” by Chelsea Handler
  • “Decision Points” by George Bush
  • “At Home: A Short History of Private Life” by Bill Bryson
  • “A Stolen Life” by Jaycee Lee Dugard
  • “Life” by Keith Richards
  • “How to Raise the Perfect Dog” by Cesar Milan
  • “I Beat the Odds : From Homelessness, To the Blind Side and Beyond” by Michael Oher
  • “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot
  • “Heaven Is For Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of his Trip to Heaven and Back” by Todd Burpo
  • “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand
  • “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson
  • “Back to Work” by Bill Clinton
  • “In The Garden of Beasts” by Erik Larson
  • “Bossypants” by Tina Fey
  • “The Swerve” by Stephen Greenblatt
  • “Killing Lincoln” by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard


These “top ten” circulated novels by no means satisfy all of Oldham County’s eclectic reads in adult fiction. Other favorites in 2011 included “The Affair,” a Jack Reacher novel by Lee Child; “Chasing Fire” and “The Next Always” by Nora Roberts; and “Folly Beach,” a southern romance by Dorothea Benton Frank. Clive Cussler, Robert B. Parker, Stuart Woods and John Sandford were also popular authors. Recently released favorites sure to be favorites into 2012 are: “V is for Vengeance” by Sue Grafton and “11/22/63” by Stephen King in which an English teacher travels back to 1958 by way of a time portal in a Maine diner. His assignment is to stop Lee Harvey Oswald.

Does the book drive the movie or vice-versa? Since four of the top ten books are either currently or coming out this month as major motion pictures it would seem so. Another very popular check-out for Oldham’s students this past summer is the classic “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. (It seems this title was on the prescribed school reading lists!)

Since so many bestsellers already have reserve lists of Oldham County Library’s customers waiting to check them out, the Library has started a new “on-demand” program. These are the top-requested titles in extra copies that cannot be put on a hold status. They have a one-week check-out and when they are returned they go out to the “on-demand” shelves for the next lucky customer who happens upon them. But these titles are only available at the library. Stop by your branch library and see what is available!