What Books Are Popular at C&C and Why?
Library is a time that many C&C students enjoy. While around 30,000 books line the walls of the library, many have not been checked out in years, while other books may have lots of checkouts in a single year.
Here at the Roof Yard Rattler we were able to obtain a list of the 20 most checked out books in 2018 and found some interesting patterns. This list does not factor in people reading on Kindle, books that are not checked out, or books from home. But most of what is read on Kindle tends to be latter books in series or popular books with not enough copies of. So what is read on Kindle likely does not affect the popularity of some of the books on the list.
In 2018, the most checked out book was The Wild Robot Escapes with 28 checkouts. Written by Peter Brown, it is the sequel to The Wild Robot, which was the second most checked out book with 23 checkouts. The reason why the sequel was checked out more than the original may be because people had already read the original the year before. According to Sarah Webb, one of the librarians at C&C, the reason the two books are so popular is that The Wild Robot is such an original idea. It is about of a robot washing up on an island and becoming one with nature. “It’s really about how human can a computer be. She’s trying to be human. She can’t quite be human because she doesn’t have feelings.”
Many book series also have lots of checkouts. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was the third most checked out book in 2018 with 19 checkouts. But interestingly enough, Chamber of Secrets only had 13, meaning at least six people only read the first book.
Another series where the first book had more checkouts than the sequel is The Hunger Games with 15 checkouts. Its sequel, Catching Fire, had 13 checkouts meaning two people dropped the series after reading book one.
In addition, The Uglies has 14 checkouts, while none of its sequels appear on the list, meaning that at least two people dropped it after reading the first.
Yet another case of series being dropped after the first book is Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. The first book, The Bad Beginning, had 16 checkouts in 2018, but none of its sequels were found on the list. Although the fact that the series recently got a Netflix adaptation may have added to the books’ popularity among students last year.
Similarly, Rick Riordan’s The Lightning Thief, which is the first book in the Percy Jackson series had 13 checkouts. Somewhat less than the first book of its sequel series The Lost Hero: Heroes of Olympus, which had 16 checkouts.
The reason book series like these are popular is because they all are coming of age stories. In a coming of age story, the main character is either a teenager or about to be one when the book starts. But as the book or series progresses, the reader gets to watch the character grow up. As Sarah put it, “[They have] one foot in childhood and one foot in adulthood.” By the stories end the character, while the same in some ways, has matured in other ways. Coming of age stories also tend to stay popular since many of the students reading these books tend to be the same age as the main character. The character is extremely relatable, which undoubtedly boosts the popularity.
Also, historical fiction seems to be immensely popular among the C&C community. The I Survived books are one example of popular historical fiction. I Survived the Great Chicago Fire,1871 has 18 checkouts, making it the fourth most checked out book. Other I Survived books on the list include, I Survived the Nazi Invasions, 1944 and I Survived the Bombing of Pearl Harbor, both with 15 checkouts. I Survived The Shark Attacks of 1916 has 14 checkouts, and I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic, 1912 and I Survived Hurricane Katrina 2005 have 13 checkouts.
According to Sarah, the reason historical fiction is so popular is because, “[there is] drama and [the characters are in] high stakes situations, and you also get to learn about a time period.”
Besides the I Survived series, which holds 6 slots on the list, March is another book about history that is on the list. With 14 checkouts, March is the only non-fiction book on the list. So despite the fact that there are more nonfiction books in the library, fiction books seem to be vastly more popular.
Another popular genre seems to books with characters with disabilities. Books like Forget Me Not with 16 checkouts. In Forget Me Not, the main character has Turrets Syndrome. Similarly, in A Mango-Shaped Space, the main character in has synesthesia. Adding in the fact that in 2017, Wonder, was the most checked out book. It seems like books where main characters have disabilities are becoming increasingly popular. The reason books like these are so popular may be because the main character usually has to overcome huge challenges. Therefore books like these are inspiring to the reader. The books show the reader that if these characters can overcome their disabilities that one can try to overcome challenges in their life.
Many of the books on the list have some sort of theme that can appeal to a wide audience. Whether that theme be overcoming obstacles, coming of age, or man vs. nature, books with strong themes appeal to everyone. This means more people are likely to check them out and read them.