The Most Popular Books of 2016

According to the Milwaukeeans borrowing and purchasing habits.

We were curious to learn just what Milwaukeeans were reading in 2016 so we reached out to the helpful folks at the Milwaukee Public Library. We asked about the most borrowed books of the year and they delivered. We also looked at what shoppers at Boswell Book Company purchased. Owner Daniel Goldin regularly reports on bestsellers, and he had already posted the nonfiction bestseller list for all of 2016, in addition to the annual fiction list, and children’s list for your reading pleasure. We can (loosely) deduce from these many local bookworms were most captivated by Matthew Desmond’s Evicted, which told a depressing tale of Milwaukee’s low-income renters, The Atlantic writer Ta-nehisi Coates’ National Book Award-winning work styled as a letter to his son, and tips from Marie Kondo on home organization. Here at Milwaukee Magazine, staff favorites included Susan Faludi’s In the Darkroom, Svetlana Alexievich’s Voices from Chernobyl, Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex and Desmond’s Evicted. Take a gander at the MPL’s most-borrowed list, including the book that took the top spot by a wide margin, Paula Hawkin’s The Girl on the Train.

What was your favorite read of the year? Leave it in the comments. 

Adult only
Author Title Times book has been checked out  
Hawkins, Paula The Girl on the Train 1409  
Coates, Ta-nehisi Between the World and Me 742  
Kondo, Marie The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese art of decluttering and organizing 642  
Moyes, Jojo Me Before You 544  
Hannah, Kristin The Nightingale 537  
Grisham, John Rogue Lawyer 526  
Evanovich, Janet Tricky Twenty-Two 488  
Patterson, James Cross Justice 482  
Kondo, Marie Spark Joy: An illustrated master class on the art of organizing and tidying up 480  
Kalanithi, Paul When Breath Becomes Air 466  



Adult & Children’s
Author Title Times book has been checked out  
Hawkins, Paula The Girl on the Train 1409  
Kinney, Jeff Diary of A Wimpy Kid: Old school 10 1321  
Kinney, Jeff Diary of a Wimpy Kid: 9 The Long Haul 980  
Kinney, Jeff Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck 8 857  
Kinney, Jeff Diary of a wimpy kid : the ugly truth 5 827  
Kinney, Jeff Diary of a wimpy kid : Rodrick rules 2 803  
Kinney, Jeff Dog Days 769  
Kinney, Jeff The Third Wheel 748  
Kinney, Jeff Diary of a wimpy kid : Greg Heffley’s journal 743  
Rowling, J. K Harry Potter and the sorcerer’s stone 742  



Claire Hanan worked at the magazine as an editor from 2012-2017. She edited the Culture section and wrote stories about all sorts of topics, including the arts, fashion, politics and more. In 2016, she was a finalist for best profile writing at the City and Regional Magazine Awards for her story "In A Flash." In 2014, she won the the Milwaukee Press gold award for best public service story for editing "Handle With Care," a service package about aging in Milwaukee. Before all this, she attended the University of Missouri's School of Journalism and New York University's Summer Publishing Institute.