The Books of 2022: The Readers’ Choices

By: Richard Harris, English Content Editor
Most borrowed books


It’s official, Qatar is a nation of readers!

This year saw a return to normality for the Library and with the building once again fully open to the public, our members flocked to borrow books.

In total, Library patrons checked out a massive 296,456 books in 2022, made up of 76,468 from the main collection, 167,580 from the children’s collection, and 52,408 from the young adults’ section. This is also great news for the future, as it seems the children of Qatar have a real love of reading.

books stats

The top three children’s books to be borrowed were Big Nate: Genius Mode, with 72 check-outs, Tremenda Vacanza a Villa Pitocca [the Italian version of the Geronimo Stilton story Welcome to Moldy Manor] with 61 check-outs, while the ever popular (and hilariously gross) Captain Underpants and the Tyrannical Retaliation of the Turbo Toilet 2000, came in third, being borrowed 60 times. So, if your little one hasn’t read these top three, this might be a good time to get down to the Library.

For Arabic youngsters, the most popular book, with 40 check-outs, was صور وكلمات [Pictures and Words], then came قصص رواها النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم [Stories Told by the Prophet, Peace Be Upon Him] with 38 check-outs; while the third most popular book was أحب الإستحمام [I Like to Take a Shower], which was borrowed 35 times.

In the young adults’ section, the top Arabic book was Diary of a Wimpy Kid with 34 check-outs, followed by Haunted by Reem Ghazal, and Henning Mankell’s murder-mystery Faceless Killers, both with 20 checkouts. 

In the English language, the graphic novel Thea Stilton: The Treasure of the Viking Ship was at number one, having been borrowed 63 times. In joint second was Captain Underpants again, tying with the manga novel Romance Dawn, the first story in the East Blue saga, by Eiichiro Oda.

Over to the adults, and it appears women read more than men; 18,913 of our book borrowers were women, compared to 15,316 men. But our most prolific reader was a man, with 201 books borrowed, compared to 184 for the top-placed woman.

men vs women borrowers

But what were they borrowing? Well, if you need some inspiration for your next bedtime novel, the top five English fiction books were, in order: Hopeless, by Colleen Hoover, borrowed 46 times; All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr; El Alquimista, the Spanish language version of Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist; the Hercule Poirot ‘whodunnit’ The A.B.C. Murders, by Agatha Christie; and finally, with 38 check-outs, The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller.

In the Arabic language, The Woman from Tantoura: A Novel from Palestine, by Radwa Ashour, was the favorite, with 33 check-outs. There then came زيارات ليلية: وقصص أخرى من عالم الإثارة والغموض [Night Visits and other Mystery Stories, by M. Abdul Wahab Al-Sayed Al-Rifai]; followed by All That I Want to Forget, by the Kuwaiti author Bothayna Al-Essa. Next is another Hercule Poirot mystery, Murder on the Orient Express, by Agatha Christie; and finally, the thriller The Lost Symbol, by Dan Brown with 27 check-outs.

The lists in both English and Arabic show that some authors never go out of fashion; Agatha Christie is the best-selling novelist of all time and appears on both lists, but she died more than 40 years ago in 1976. Blockbuster authors also transcend languages, with US writer Dan Brown coming in fifth place in the Arabic list. 

The top five will also hopefully encourage English-speaking readers to try out some Arabic novelists. Although not all the books in the Arabic list are available in English, the top-placed book, The Woman from Tantoura: A Novel from Palestine, by Radwa Ashour, has been translated and boasts a great score of 4.4 out of 5 from nearly 25,000 reviews on the Goodreads website.

In the English non-fiction category, self-improvement is the top of people’s agenda in Qatar, with The Power of Habit - Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, by Charles Duhigg, coming first, having been borrowed 80 times. Second was IELTS, by Monica Sorrenson, and then Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman.

In Arabic, readers borrowed Islam between East and West, by Ali Izetbegović 29 times, followed by The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R. Covey, and then The Muqaddimah [Introduction] of Ibn Khaldun, edited by Darwish Al-Juwaidi.

From the online resources, the ebook Book Lovers by Emily Henry, was top in the English adult fiction section, with 65 downloads, followed by Colleen Hoover’s All Your Perfects, and then The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley.

In Arabic, the classic Kalila and Dimna was top with 10 downloads of the ebook, followed by The Secret Life of the Writer, by Guillaume Musso and then Talking to My Daughter About the Economy, by Yanis Varoufakis.

So, grab your Library card, head down to QNL and start your year as you mean to carry on.

Happy reading in 2023!

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