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'Strumpet City' trumps '50 Shades' as top book 11.12.14

by Linda McGrory

IRISH readers had austerity on their minds last year with 'Strumpet City' the most borrowed book of adult fiction from public libraries nationally, new figures show.
But library users’ also opted for racy 'Fifty Shades of Grey' which made it onto the top ten most borrowed list for the first time here in 2013.
E.L James’ raunchy read, first published in 2011, was the fifth most borrowed adult fiction title at the country’s 336 public libraries last year which saw 17 million visits by members.
Donegal libraries recorded 335,000 visits last year (Read story here). Workers’ equality trumped eroticism, however, with the new edition of James Plunkett's 1969 historical novel 'Strumpet City', the most borrowed title among Irish adults.
'Strumpet City' with an introduction by journalist Fintan O’Toole, recounts the dramatic 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, compiled by the Public Lending Remuneration (PLR) service for the Local Government Management Agency, show that there were some 17 million visits to public libraries last year with some 19 million loans of books and non-book materials.
A PLR spokesperson said Irish fiction “remained dominant” with “22 Irish fiction titles making it into the top 100 last year”.
The figures reveal that the top five most popular books among Irish adults were ‘Strumpet City’ by James Plunkett (1); 'The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling (2); 'A Week in Winter' by Maeve Binchy (3); City of Bohane by Kevin Barry (4) and ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ by E.L. James (5).
US writer James Patterson was overall the most borrowed adult fiction author in Ireland last year with over 68,000 library loans.
Meanwhile, the PLR 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 overall.
Meanwhile, 'The Hunger Games' and 'Catching Fire' by Suzanne Collins came in at eighth and ninth place, respectively.
Among the top non fiction titles were ‘The Official Driver Theory Test’ (1); ‘Just Mary: My Memoir’ by Mary O’Rourke (2) and ‘Guinness World Records 2012 (3).
A total of €240,000 was paid out by PLR to 5,483 authors in respect of their Irish library loans last year.
Most Borrowed Adult Fiction Titles 2013

1 Strumpet City by James Plunkett

2 The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

3 A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy

4 City of Bohane by Kevin Barry

5 Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

6 The Racketeer by John Grisham

7 The Litigators by John Grisham

8 This Child of Mine by Sinead Moriarty

9 Inferno by Dan Brown

10 The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes

Most Borrowed Children’s Fiction Titles 2013

1 Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth by Jeff Kinney

2 Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

3 Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever by Jeff Kinney

4 Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw by Jeff Kinney

5 Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules by Jeff Kinney

6 Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel by Jeff Kinney

7 Save Pudding Wood by Nick Schon

8 The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

9 Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

10 Dog Days by Jeff Kinney

Most Borrowed Non-Fiction Titles 2013

1 The Official Driver Theory Test

2 Just Mary: My Memoir by Mary O'Rourke

3 Guinness World Records 2012

4 Guinness World Records 2013

5 Staring at Lakes by Michael Harding
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