Cleeves’ reign as library’s most borrowed author ends

Local author Laureen Johnson with her most-borrowed Shetland books.

CRIME writer Ann Cleeves has been unseated as Shetland Library’s most borrowed fiction author for the first time in some eight years.

Thriller writer Lee Child’s novel Make Me takes the top spot, followed by Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train and Laura Wilson’s The Wrong Girl. Others in the top ten include Jo Nesbo, Peter May and Jojo Moyes.


Shetland Library said Cleeves’ latest Shetland novel Cold Earth, launched in the islands back in October, was lending well so there is “a fair chance she will reclaim her crown next year”.

Perennial favourite the Guinness World Records tops the non-fiction chart closely followed by the enduring Bill Bryson. Island-related books took third and fourth place – Island Wife by Judy Fairbairns (who spoke at the library in February) and The Outrun, Orcadian Amy Liptrot’s “painfully honest” memoir of her alcoholism.

Among eBook borrowers, the favourite was Julia MacLeod’s The Island Nurse. Local author Marsali Taylor’s The Body in the Bracken was well borrowed on eBook too, as was Cleeves’ non-fiction volume about Shetland. Harry Potter was very popular among users of eAudiobooks, while a wide selection of eMagazines made the top ten including Woman’s Own and The Economist.


Jeff Kinney and his Wimpy Kid books have dominated the junior fiction charts for several years, and this year they claimed every one of the top ten spots. The most borrowed authors after him were David Walliams, Liz Pichon and Roald Dahl.

Library manager Karen Fraser said: “Dahl is always popular but more so in 2016 as our summer reading challenge had a Dahl theme. In general junior fiction is lending very well, thanks to a concerted effort by our staff to ensure every child is a library member.


“Libraries and schools are doing a lot of work to promote reading through the ‘read write count’ and ‘first minister’s reading challenge’ projects. Julia Donaldson is still the most borrowed author for younger children, and the Shetland translations of her books have done well – we held lively launch events for them in the library.”

As ever there was a rich selection of local publications and they loaned well. Local author Laureen Johnson showed her versatility by taking the number one slot as editor of Shetland’s Whaling Tradition and third place as translator of Julia Donaldson’s Gruffalo.

Carol Tweedie’s novel Fair Isle Ghosts takes second place and the top ten also includes Otters in Shetland by Richard Shucksmith and Brydon Thomason; Shetland Food and Cooking by Marion Armitage; Shetland Birds by Paul Harvey and Sixty Degrees North by Malachy Tallack.

Laughton Johnston’s Havera was also very popular, perhaps getting another boost from being brought to the big screen in JJ Jamieson’s film.