Boston Public Library shares this year’s 10 most borrowed books

From buzzy celebrity memoirs to 'BookTok' favorites, see which titles library patrons borrowed most this year.

The entrance to the main branch of The Boston Public Library is seen, Oct. 14, 2022, in Boston. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, file

The Boston Public Library lent out 5.5 million physical and digital items this year, but certain titles were really flying off the shelves.

The library recently released the list of books library patrons borrowed most in 2023. The titles were checked out as print, eBook, and eAudiobook copies and include a mix of popular fiction and nonfiction titles.  

“The most borrowed titles of 2023 list is an interesting mix of novels and memoirs, some of which deal with heavy topics of grief and tragedy, combined with some beloved ‘BookTok’ authors launching new titles in existing worlds,” Melissa Andrews, the library’s chief of collection management said in a statement. “Both scenarios tell a story about the value of reading — whether we choose to read a story of perseverance or survival in difficult times, or a novel that transports us back to a familiar world, populated by characters we know whose story arcs end happily, books can not only be comforting, but can also provide a sense of connection to and understanding of the world.”


Topping the list of most borrowed books is “Lessons in Chemistry” by Bonnie Garmus. The book is Garmus’ debut novel and tells the story of Elizabeth Zott, a 1960s chemist who becomes a beloved cooking show host. readers are among the thousands of readers who loved this book, naming it one of their favorite reads of the year in our book round-up.

Also popular among library patrons are two writers with local ties. “Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow” (another reader-recommended title) was written by Gabrielle Zevin, a Harvard graduate. And Taylor Jenkins Reid, whose book “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” has been among the library’s most borrowed for two years in a row, is an Acton native and Emerson College alum. 

For nonfiction, readers gravitate toward some of the buzziest memoirs of the year, including “Spare” by Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and “I’m Glad My Mom Died” by child actress and writer Jennette McCurdy. 

In addition to the top 10 most borrowed books, the library released the top borrowed titles for adults, children, and teens, as well as the staff’s favorite books of the year, which you can browse for reading inspiration ahead of the new year. 


Below, see the library’s list of the most borrowed books of 2023: 

  1. Lessons in Chemistry” by Bonnie Garmus — Borrowed 8,125 times
  2. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow” by Gabrielle Zevin — Borrowed 7,466 times
  3. Spare” by Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex — Borrowed 7,141 times
  4. Book Lovers” by Emily Henry — Borrowed 6,995 times
  5. I’m Glad My Mom Died” by Jennette McCurdy — Borrowed 6,282 times
  6. Happy Place” by Emily Henry — Borrowed 5,612 times
  7. 101 Essays That Will Change the Way You Think” by Brianna Wiest — Borrowed 5,220 times
  8. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” by Taylor Jenkins Reid — Borrowed 4,785 times
  9. Demon Copperhead” by Barbara Kingsolver — Borrowed 4,125 times
  10. It Starts with Us” by Colleen Hoover — Borrowed 4,096 times

Join’s Book Club next author discussion

Author Nina MacLaughlin and Jacob Fricke, bookseller at Hello Hello Books, will discuss MacLaughlin’s new essay “Winter Solstice” on Dec. 19 at 6 p.m.


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