‘Strumpet City’ beats ‘Fifty Shades’ in library's 'most borrowed' list

Readers here had austerity on their minds last year with Strumpet City the most borrowed book of adult fiction from public libraries, figures show.

Library users’ bit on the side was Fifty Shades of Grey which made it onto the top 10 most borrowed list for the first time here in 2013.

EL James’s raunchy read, first published in 2011, was the fifth most borrowed adult fiction title at the country’s 336 public libraries last year.

However, workers’ equality trumped eroticism, with the new edition of James Plunkett’s 1969 historical novel Strumpet City the most borrowed title among Irish adults.

The novel, with an introduction by journalist Fintan O’Toole, recounts the events of Dublin’s 1913 Lockout.

It was nominated by libraries in the capital for their One City One Book scheme last year to mark the Lockout’s centenary.

The figures, by the Public Lending Remuneration service for the Local Government Management Agency, show there were 17m visits to public libraries last year with 19m loans of books and non-book materials.

A spokesperson said Irish fiction remained dominant with “22 Irish fiction titles making it into the top 100 last year”.

The top five most popular books among adults were:

  • Strumpet City by James Plunkett
  • The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling
  • A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy
  • City of Bohane by Kevin Barry
  • Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James

US writer James Patterson was overall the most borrowed adult fiction author in Ireland last year with more than 68,000 library loans.

Meanwhile, the figures show that children continue to be Ireland’s top borrowers.

Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth, was the most checked-out title with Kinney’s series also representing the top six books borrowed by children.

Meanwhile, The Hunger Games and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins came in at eighth and ninth place.

Among the top non-fiction titles were The Official Driver Theory Test; Just Mary: My Memoir by Mary O’Rourke and Guinness World Records 2012.

A total of €240,000 was paid by the Public Lending Remuneration service to 5,483 authors in respect of their Irish library loans last year.

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