The Year in Books

By: Richard Harris, English Content Editor
Most borrowed books


The 365 pages of another year will be turned very soon, and once again we look back on the books that have captured the imaginations of our members and have been borrowed the most times.

In total, Library patrons checked out a massive 291,502 books in 2023, with a further 74,684 being borrowed digitally.

For adults, the most popular fiction book was The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho’s 1988 masterpiece and international bestseller, copies of which were borrowed 213 times and tell the story of an Andalusian shepherd boy and his journey of self-discovery. Second on the list came A Thousand Splendid Suns, the heartbreaking 2007 novel by Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini, about life for two women in Afghanistan. Hosseini appears once again in third position with his 2003 debut novel The Kite Runner, a story of loyalty and friendship set against 30 years of history in Afghanistan.

In Arabic literature, Abdul Wahab Al-Sayed Al-Rifai’s حالات نادرة : قصص غريبة تدور احداثها حول مراهقات كويتيات [Unusual Cases: Strange Stories about Kuwaiti Teenagers] takes the joint top spot at 41 check-outs with Osamah M. Al Muslim’s 2015 novel خوف [Fear]. The former tells dark and strange stories from the psychiatrist’s couch, while the latter is a horror story about the existence of a second world. The third book on the list is another from Muslim’s pen and is the popular بساتين عربستان [Arabistan Orchards] series with 39 check-outs from QNL in 2023.

In the adult non-fiction genre, learning the English language came top with IELTS books being borrowed 132 times. The self-help book Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill was in second place with 72 check-outs, while Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by Yuval Noah Harari was third after being borrowed on 66 occasions.

In Arabic non-fiction, first on the list is نظرية الفستق: كتاب سيغير طريقة تفكيرك وحكمك على الأشياء [Pistachio Theory: A Book that will Change the way you Think and Judge Things], by the Saudi writer and journalist Fahad Al-Amiri, which discusses the way that small mistakes can have huge implications, and was borrowed 132 times. Second, with 55 check-outs, was أنك الله: رحلة إلى السماء السابعة [Because You are God: Journey to Seventh Heaven], by Ali Jaber Al-Fifi, who talks about the beautiful names for God and how people can live them in their everyday lives. Third in the list (it was second last year) is the ever popular العادات السبع للناس الأكثر فعالية The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R. Covey, which was borrowed 52 times.

In children and young adults’ English literature, the manga genre reigned supreme, taking all of the top three spots. First were the Naruto graphic novels, by Masashi Kishimoto, about a 12-year-old ninja. Books in this series were borrowed a massive 2,440 times. Second came the Pokemon Adventures series, by Hidenori Kusaka, with 920 check-outs, and third was Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Ohba’s Bakuman manga series, books from which were borrowed 260 times.

In Arabic literature, the world’s favorite mouse came first with the Disney cartoon book ميكي [Mickey], which was checked out 444 times. Second was that bastion of classic Arabic literature, كليلة ودمنة: مختارات عن ابن المقفع  [Selected Stories from Kalila and Dimna] with 110 checkouts, and in third place came محمد رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم [Mohammed, the Messenger of God [PBUH]: May God Bless Him and Grant Him Peace], which was borrowed 107 times.
Books are one of Mankind’s greatest achievements, allowing the exchange of ideas,

learning and pure escapism. With 264,500 members, Qatar National Library continues to grow. If you’re not already a member, sign up today for free and make 2024 your year of books.

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