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Most popular books at Long Island libraries in 2019

Reese Witherspoon, left, and Delia Owens, author of

Reese Witherspoon, left, and Delia Owens, author of "Where the Crawdads Sing." Credit: Putnam

"Where the Crawdads Sing" hit all the right notes with Long Island readers. In both Nassau and Suffolk county libraries, Delia Owens' saga of a girl living with her alcoholic father during the 1950s and '60s in a marsh on the coast of North Carolina, was the most checked-out hardcover book in 2019 according to data from the Nassau County Library System and the Suffolk Cooperative Library System.
It also didn't hurt that "Crawdads" got a boost from actress Reese Witherspoon, who is producing a film version, after she picked it for her Hello Sunshine Book Club in 2018.

"That was a popular book club title, so that pushed the circulation up," said Mamie Eng, director of Henry Waldinger Memorial Library in Valley Stream. "Our book club readers are really avid readers. So once they embraced it, it became a book that was talked about every month at all the libraries."

Added Ian Smith, reference librarian at Wantagh Public Library: "I could have told you in a heartbeat that would have been No. 1."

Coming in at No. 2 in both Nassau and Suffolk was Tara Westover's "Educated: A Memoir," about her upbringing in a survivalist family and how she eventually earned a Ph.D. from Cambridge University. "Again, that was another book that was heavily talked about on the island," Eng said. "The education issue is at the forefront of people's minds. We spend a lot of our tax money on school taxes."

The most popular author in both counties was easily David Baldacci, who had two titles on each list — "Redemption" (No. 8 in Nassau, No. 5 in Suffolk) and "Long Road to Mercy" (7 in Nassau, 10 in Suffolk). "James Patterson publishes so many books that his audience is a little more dispersed. Some people like one series he’s writing but not another," she said. "Baldacci is not as polarizing as Patterson. He doesn’t stray, so readers know what they’re going to get."

While Michelle Obama's memoir "Becoming" ranked at No. 5 in Nassau, it was noticeably absent from the Suffolk Top 10. "You think of Nassau as more Republican than Suffolk, o that’s surprising," said Dennis Fabiszak, executive director of East Hampton Library. Obama's book did better among digital titles in Suffolk, placing fifth on the list of checked out e-books and No. 1 among digital audiobooks.

THE 10 MOST CHECKED OUT LIBRARY BOOKS OF 2019

NASSAU COUNTY

1. "Where the Crawdads Sing" by Delia Owens

2. "Educated: A Memoir" by Tara Westover

3. "Nine Perfect Strangers" by Liane Moriarty

4. "The Reckoning" by John Grisham

5. "Becoming" by Michelle Obama

6. "A Spark of Light" by Jodi Picoult

7. "Long Road to Mercy" by David Baldacci

8. "Redemption" by David Baldacci

9. "The Silent Patient" by Alex Michaelides

10. "The Tattooist of Auschwitz" by Heather Morris

SUFFOLK COUNTY

1. "Where the Crawdads Sing" by Delia Owens

2. "Educated: A Memoir" by Tara Westover

3. "The Silent Patient" by Alex Michaelides

4. "The Tattooist of Auschwitz" by Heather Morris

5. "Redemption" by David Baldacci

6. "Nine Perfect Strangers" by Liane Moriarty

7. "The Chef" by James Patterson and Max DiLallo

8. "The Reckoning" by John Grisham

9. "Run Away" by Harlan Coben

10. "Long Road to Mercy" by David Baldacci

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