Top 5 2022 NY Public Library Checkouts

Each year the New York Public Library enjoys the tradition of sharing the most checked out books of the year. While Amazon and Google have their own lists, there is something to be said for people who use the public library and perhaps represent a different clientele than online shoppers. 

You may also be interested in seeing what the All-Time NYC Public Library checkouts are too.

Here are the books New Yorkers have checked out most last year.

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, Isabel Wilkerson

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, Isabel Wilkerson

The Pulitzer Prize–winning, bestselling author of The Warmth of Other Suns examines the unspoken caste system that has shaped America and shows how our lives today are still defined by a hierarchy of human divisions.

In this brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings.

Critical Reception

  • “It’s an extraordinary document, one that strikes me as an instant American classic and almost certainly the keynote nonfiction book of the American century thus far. It made the back of my neck prickle from its first pages, and that feeling never went away.” NY Times
  • “This brilliant nonfiction work explains why we are where we are in terms of racial injustice and inequality.” Oprah’s Book Club Pick
  • “To read Isabel Wilkerson is to revel in the pleasure of reading — to relax into the virtuosic performance of thought and form one is about to encounter, safe and secure that the structures will not collapse beneath you.” NPR
A Promised Land, Barack Obama

A Promised Land, Barack Obama

In the stirring, highly anticipated first volume of his presidential memoirs, Barack Obama tells the story of his improbable odyssey from young man searching for his identity to leader of the free world, describing in strikingly personal detail both his political education and the landmark moments of the first term of his historic presidency – a time of dramatic transformation and turmoil.

A Promised Land is extraordinarily intimate and introspective – the story of one man’s bet with history, the faith of a community organizer tested on the world stage. Obama is candid about the balancing act of running for office as a Black American, bearing the expectations of a generation buoyed by messages of “hope and change”, and meeting the moral challenges of high-stakes decision-making. (Amazon)

Critical Reception

  • NAACP Image Award Nominee
  • Top 10 Book of the Year – New York Times Book Review, Washington Post
  • “As a work of political literature, A Promised Land, is impressive. Obama is a gifted writer. He can turn a phrase, tell a story and break down an argument.” The Guardian
  • A Promised Land often reads like a conversation Obama is having with himself — questioning his ambition, wrestling with whether the sacrifices were worth it.” LA Times
Klara and the Sun: A Novel, Kazuo Ishiguro

Klara and the Sun: A Novel, Kazuo Ishiguro

This magnificent novel from the Nobel laureate and author of Never Let Me Go is the story of Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, who, from her place in the store, watches carefully the behavior of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass on the street outside.

Klara remains hopeful that a customer will soon choose her. Klara and the Sun is a thrilling book that offers a look at our changing world through the eyes of an unforgettable narrator, and one that explores the fundamental question: what does it mean to love?

Critical Reception

  • “An intriguing take on how artificial intelligence might play a role in our futures … a poignant meditation on love and loneliness.” The Associated Press
  • “Like a medieval pilgrim walking a cathedral labyrinth in meditation, Ishiguro keeps pacing his way through these big existential themes in his fiction. Klara and the Sun is yet another return pilgrimage and it’s one of the most affecting and profound novels Ishiguro has written.” NPR
Mexican Gothic,  Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Mexican Gothic,  Silvia Moreno-Garcia

After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find—her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.  

Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place, including unearthed stories of violence and madness.

Critical Reception

  • “It’s as if a supernatural power compels us to turn the pages of the gripping Mexican Gothic.” The Washington Post
  • “Mexican Gothic is the perfect summer horror read, and marks Moreno-Garcia with her hypnotic and engaging prose as one of the genre’s most exciting talents.” Nerdist
  • “A period thriller as rich in suspense as it is in lush ’50s atmosphere.” Entertainment Weekly
The Vanishing Half: A Novel, Brit Bennett

The Vanishing Half: A Novel, Brit Bennett

From The New York Times-bestselling author of The Mothers, this stunning novel follows twin sisters, inseparable as children, who ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white.

The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities.

Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing.  (Amazon)

Critical Reception

  • “Bennett’s tone and style recalls James Baldwin and Jacqueline Woodson, but it’s especially reminiscent of Toni Morrison’s 1970 debut novel, The Bluest Eye.” Kiley Reid, Wall Street Journal
  • “A story of absolute, universal timelessness …For any era, it’s an accomplished, affecting novel. For this moment, it’s piercing, subtly wending its way toward questions about who we are and who we want to be….” Entertainment Weekly

Honorable Mentions

  • The Guest List: A Novel. Lucy Foley
  • Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens​​​​​
  • Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed, Lori Gottlieb​​​​​
  • The Other Black Girl: A Novel, Zakiya Dalila Harris​​​​​
  • Malibu Rising: A Novel, Taylor Jenkins Reid​​​​​

What book would you recommend to your colleagues?


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