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The top titles at the Winnipeg Public Library in 2020

Print and digital collection available to all Winnipeg residents with a free library card

January 18, 2021

Stacks of Books

From celebrity book club picks and a presidential couple, to a wizard and a Wimpy Kid, Winnipeg Public Library’s list of most popular books of 2020 has something for everyone.

Malcolm Gladwell’s powerful examination of our interactions with strangers and why they often go wrong in “Talking to Strangers” made it one of the top print adult fiction titles for Winnipeg library users.

Where the Crawdads Sing
It was announced in 2020 that “Where the Crawdads Sing” would be turned into a feature film.

Other top print adult fiction titles last year included Reese Witherspoon’s book club pick “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens. Despite being released in 2018, the title was also one of the most frequently checked out eBooks and audiobooks of 2020. “Five Wives” by Joan Thomas not only won the Governor General's Award for Fiction, but also a spot on many readers’ holds list.

While only released on November 17, 2020, former American President Barack Obama’s book “A Promised Land” tops the list of most popular print non-fiction books. Former first lady Michelle Obama’s book “Becoming” was also one of the most popular titles among Winnipeg library users on a variety of platforms for the second year in a row.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
First released in 1997, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone” is still one of the most popular juvenile titles.

Readers are still escaping into the fantasy world of Harry Potter. Four different titles from the J.K. Rowling series made the list of most popular juvenile titles, in both French and English. 

Harry Potter isn’t the only book series that really resonated with younger readers last year. Titles from Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Big Nate series, Dog Man Series, and the Percy Jackson series were also well read in 2020.

If you don’t have a library card, you can apply for one through the library’s website.  There is no cost for Winnipeg residents to sign up for a card. The card grant you access to the digital library filled with eBooksAudiobooks, and eMagazines, as well as streaming music and movies. It surpassed 1 million downloads by Winnipeg library users in 2020.

If you are looking for some inspiration for what books to read this year, here are the lists of the most popular titles at the Winnipeg Public Library:

Print titles

Adult Fiction:

  • Talking to Strangers - Malcolm Gladwell
  • Five Wives - Joan Thomas
  • Where the Crawdads Sing - Delia Owens
  • Testaments - Margaret Atwood
  • Guardians - John Grisham


  • A Promised Land - Barack Obama
  • Becoming - Michelle Obama
  • Untamed - Glennon Doyle
  • Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents - Isabel Wilkerson

Juvenile fiction:

  • Dog Man. For Whom the Ball Rolls - Dav Pilkey
  • Wrecking Ball - Jeff Kinney
  • The Last Straw - Jeff Kinney
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Greg Heffley’s Journal - Jeff Kinney
  • The Getaway - Jeff Kinney

Digital titles on Winnipeg Public Library on OverDrive

Adult eBooks:

  • Where the Crawdads Sing - Delia Owens
  • Little Fires Everywhere - Celeste Ng
  • Nine Perfect Strangers - Liane Moriarty
  • Blue Moon (Jack Reacher) - Lee Child
  • Becoming - Michelle Obama

Adult audiobooks:

  • Becoming - Michelle Obama
  • Where the Crawdads Sing - Delia Owens
  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life - Mark Manson
  • Little Fires Everywhere - Celeste Ng
  • Untamed - Glennon Doyle

Juvenile ebooks:

  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone - J.K. Rowling
  • Ali Cross, Book 1 - James Patterson
  • The Ninjabread Man - C.J. Leigh
  • The Giver, Book 1 - Lois Lowry
  • Pray for a Fire Drill - Lincoln Peirce

Juvenile audiobooks:

  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone - J.K. Rowling
  • The Lightning Thief - Rick Riordan
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid Greg Heffley’s Journal - Jeff Kinney
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling

Juvenile French ebooks/audiobooks:

  • Harry Potter à l’école des sorciers - J.K. Rowling
  • Courage - Raina Telgemeier
  • Learn in your car French
  • Soeurs - Raina Telgemeier
  • Capitaine Static - Alain M. Bergeron

As the above titles are all quite popular, they can have long wait lists. There are plenty of other great titles in our catalogue and on Overdrive that are available now. Library staff are always happy to help you find some options by contacting your branch outside of the holds pick up time. You can also check out the Winnipeg Public Library’s Time to Read podcast for inspiration.

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