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The front entrance to the Enoch Pratt Free library's central branch. The year's most popular book at Enoch Pratt libraries so far is "There, There" by Tommy Orange.
The front entrance to the Enoch Pratt Free library's central branch. The year's most popular book at Enoch Pratt libraries so far is "There, There" by Tommy Orange. (Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun)

The most popular items checked out at Enoch Pratt Free Library branches in Baltimore City this year aren’t even books.

If you exclude digital checkouts, DVDs have been borrowed the most, with Marvel’s smash hit “Black Panther” leading the way.

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But all hope for readers isn’t lost.

Overall, digital books have been the most popular item in the library’s system, led by Michelle Obama’s “Becoming,” and with the first Harry Potter book rounding out the top 10, according to an email from library spokeswoman Meghan McCorkell.

The most popular physical book in the city this year is “There, There,” a 2019 Pulitzer Prize finalist by Tommy Orange about a host of Native American characters living in California. “Educated,” Tara Westover’s memoir about the isolated life she lived until her teenage years with survivalist parents in the mountains of Idaho, took second place, followed by Celeste Ng’s “Little Fires Everywhere.”

And when it comes to children’s books, Mo Willems, author of The Pigeon series and Knuffle Bunny, led the pack, holding eight slots in the city’s top 10. Willems, whose 2009 book “Pigs Make Me Sneeze” topped the list at Enoch Pratt, was recently named the Kennedy Center’s first artist in residence.

Meanwhile, in Baltimore County, four of the summer’s top 10 most popular books were written by James Patterson, with murder thriller “Unsolved,” co-authored by David Ellis, on top, according to an email from library spokeswoman Erica Palmisano.

Five Patterson books made Harford County’s 2019 top 10, but Delia Owens’ “Where the Crawdads Sing,” which has been on the New York Times’ Fiction Bestsellers List for nearly a year, was No. 1, according to an email from library spokeswoman Mary Hastler.

When it came to digital books, though, Obama’s “Becoming” reigns supreme in the counties, too: It’s the top ebook in both Howard and Baltimore counties. In Baltimore County, it’s been checked out 750 times since June 1.

The summer’s most popular book in Howard County was “Nine Perfect Strangers” by Liane Moriarty, who wrote the book behind HBO series “Big Little Lies.”

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