The newly compiled list of the most borrowed books of 2021 reveals some interesting insights about London Library members' recent reading habits.

Top of the list was Kazuo Ishiguro’s Klara and the Sun (borrowed 16 times), closely followed by Philip Hoare's Albert and the Whale (14 times) and Maggie O’Farrell’s Hamnet (13 times). In fourth place - and the top biography - was volume 1 of The Diaries of Henry ‘Chips’ Channon, edited by Simon Heffer (borrowed 11 times). The Adventures of Miss Barbara Pym by Paula Byrne, Satnam Sanghera’s Empireland, and Marina Warner’s autobiography Inventory of a Life Mislaid, tied for fifth place, having each been borrowed 10 times during the year. 

Over 50,000 books were loaned in 2021 and honourable mention must be made of titles that were acquired late in the year but still made it onto the most borrowed list. Sebastian Faulks’ latest novel Snow Country did well (borrowed 7 times since September), but this year’s “Flying Off the Shelf Award” goes to historian David Kynaston’s On The Cusp. Acquired in September 2021 it has been borrowed no fewer than 9 times in under four months, placing it in joint sixth place in spite of its relatively late arrival on the Library’s shelves. 

The full list of books borrowed more than five times in 2021 can be viewed below.

Most Borrowed Books List