A book, it’s been said, is a dream that you hold in your hand. French philosopher René Descartes described it as a conversation with the world’s finest minds.
And while some may argue that those lofty observations are not particularly applicable to some of what passes as writing in 2020, a quick review of what Sooke residents are reading seems to indicate that the region’s bookworms are a pretty erudite bunch.
The Vancouver Island Regional Library Sooke branch reported that the top circulating book for 2019 was a standard mystery by Ian Rankin titled In a House of Lies, but things quickly take a turn to more serious works when the next few most popular books are considered.
At second place was Educated by Tara Westover, and third Kate Morton’s The Clockmaker’s Daughter.
The most read books in the library tell only a part of the story, Nathalie Jones, the Sooke librarian, said.
“Large print books and children’s’ books are always popular and we get a lot of people coming in with their children to pick out a new favourite for the week,” she said.
“People come in for a whole variety of books that range from environmental non-fiction to cookbooks and everything in between.”
Sooke library offers more than just traditional books.
Ebooks, made available through the library, are available on apps like Libby. That’s an ebook reader and audiobook player that can be accessed through the library and offers more than 17,000 titles.
“We also offer DVDs to our clients for those who want to sit back and watch a film,” Jones said. Twenty-two per cent of all check-outs from the library were for DVDs.
Last year, the library’s two most popular films were The Shape of Water in which a human develops a romantic relationship with a fish-like creature, and Meg in which a different sort of fish spends two hours trying to devour any human it encounters.
“People have all kinds of tastes in what they read, watch, or listen to, but the important thing is that they are still coming to the library to explore all sorts of different stories,” Jones said.
As for Jones, her personal favourite read for last year was Normal People by Sally Rooney and Frankly in Love by David Yoon.
“I also listened to a lot of audio books last year and my favourite was Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. It’s a first book for Bardugo and it was fantastic,” she said.
The staff at the Sooke library are always willing to offer suggestions and a list of favourite books for people trying to find their own next literary treasure.
“For anyone who hasn’t visited the library for a while, we invite you to come in and take a look. I’ll guarantee that you’ll find something that interests you and maybe even a few surprises,” Jones said.