Top 10 DPL Books of 2021

Have you read the most borrowed Denver Public Library books of 2021? Like last year, we continue to see more books read through our downloadable services than in print. Want to read the same topics as your fellow Denverites or get a jump start on our reading program for adults, Winter of Reading? Place a hold today!

  • Nomadland by Jessica Bruder
    • The 2020 movie, which won the Best Picture Oscar, undoubtedly boosted this book into the public consciousness. Workampers are the new migrant laborers, made up of older Americans living in RVs and vans as they drive to temporary jobs. Their stories are haunting as the author, who lived in her own second-hand van as she followed the workampers, writes with care and compassion
  • The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
    • This feel-good novel is the perfect one to read at the end of the year; that is, if you can get your hands on it! Like many people are doing at this time of year, Nora reviews her regretful past choices and her future options, looking for one that will elevate her life into a better one, a happy one, a good one. In the space between life and death, she finds a library where every book provides a chance to try another life if she had made different choices. What makes a life well lived?
  • The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
    • Even with more than 275 combined copies available in print and for download, this book still has a sizable wait, showing that Kristin Hannah has written another popular hit. A Texas family faces a changed world during the Depression in the Dust Bowl in this poignant story. Elsa comes of age as she creates her family, fights for a better life, survives innumerable hardships, and forges a complex relationship with her daughter.
  • The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
    • This book, named one of the best last year, told a tale of twins, one of whom passes as a white woman in 1960s Los Angeles, hiding her heritage even from her husband. Soon after the twins fled their hometown at age 16, they separated and lost track of each other. Their daughters, as different as can be, both question their identities based on decisions the twins made years before. Told with compassion, this story feels timeless while serving sharp social commentary.
  • Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
    • Appearing on this list for the second year in a row is this nationwide favorite. Pointed critiques, racial tension, and the pressures of modern parenting combine for a page-turning story when a store security guard accuses a babysitter of kidnapping because of her race.
  • The Searcher by Tana French
    • Escape to rural Ireland with former cop Cal, where he quickly finds that his small village has dark secrets when he’s drawn into looking for a missing teen. Full of suspense, the well-developed vulnerable characters push this lyrical novel along as it slowly ramps up the tension.
  • Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
    • This witty, big-hearted book made people laugh as they related to this group of quirky strangers, forced together as an inept bank robber holds them hostage during an open house. The focus is on the characters and their insecurities, all handled with charm and a bit of whimsy.
  • The Guest List by Lucy Foley
    • This psychological suspense may remind you of Agatha Christie, as a wedding on a remote island turns grim when a dead body turns up. The flashbacks from the complex characters' pasts will give you clues as the anxiety mounts in this creepy locale. Can you piece together the mystery from the small details shared?
  • In Five Years by Rebecca Serle
    • Dannie has a detailed five year plan, but one night she has a dream that peeks into a future quite different from the one she’s working toward. Four years later, she meets the man from that strange dream future, making her question her plan, her past decisions, and the possibility of fate for a heartwarming tale about life-changing events.
  • Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
    • What endurance! For the third year in a row, this novel makes DPL’s list of most borrowed books and may make an appearance next year considering the movie adaptation comes out in July, 2022. Join the crowd by reading about the Marsh Girl of North Carolina, abandoned by her family and shunned by the townspeople, who is the prime suspect in the murder of a local golden boy.

Have you read any of DPL's top 10 of 2021? What would you add to the book competition event 1000 Books to Read Before You Die? Don't forget the reading challenge, Winter of Reading (1/2-2/28/22), for adults is coming soon! You read and complete library-related activities, fill in those items in your brochure, and then claim your prize. Simple yet sweet.

Written by sgrijalva on December 28, 2021


Annie Zook on January 3, 2022


This is cool! Thanks. It was such fun to open up the DPL sight and see what I had read and what I needed to order.

thanks much
Annie Zook

hendry on January 19, 2022


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Therese-Marie … on February 3, 2022


I recommend The Index of Self Destructive Acts by Christopher Beha for Best Book of 2021! It's a book you can't put down and then don't want it to end. The ending is like a fireworks show at a 4th of July home game (baseball)! I loved this book and wound up buying it!

Jen Kittleson on February 4, 2022


6 of 10! Not too bad. I’ve been gifting Midnight Library! Such a great and timely message.

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