Dive into Sydney's reading trends: The most popular library loans of 2023

Our most borrowed books of the year

Looking for something to read over the holidays? Our libraries have you covered.

Summer holiday reading is a long-time favourite with long lazy days to spend between pages. Choose from the most borrowed books from our beloved libraries in 2023.

With more than 1.6 million physical and digital items borrowed this year, there’s something for everyone in this list.

The Seven Moons of Maali Almedia by Shehan Karunatilka


The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilka Last year’s Booker Prize winner has it all. Part ghost story, part murder mystery, part history lesson. This fast-paced and funny novel will take you into the heart of Sri Lanka’s civil war. Our protagonist is a closeted queer war photographer who wakes up dead one day and is determined to solve the mystery of his own death – with help from his still-alive friends and family. A rewarding read from a wonderful storyteller.

Lessons by Ian McEwan A poignant novel about one man’s life set against the backdrop of almost a century of history – from the blitz to Brexit. You won’t forget the character of Roland Baines. His experiences mimic the traumas of the world, and the women in his life who both torment and transcend him.

The Bullet that Missed by Richard Osman Mystery-lovers, if you haven’t read this cosy series about a group of pensioners turned amateur sleuths who live in the same retirement village, you’re missing out! Third in the series, these are perfect page-turners for the beach. The Last Devil to Die is the fourth and has just been released.

Spare by Prince Harry


Spare by Prince Harry It’s no surprise that this much-anticipated memoir tops our list. We’ve all seen the tabloid gossip. Now it’s time to get the real story. There’s plenty of behind-the-scenes insight into royal life. Honest and raw, it’s Harry’s turn to set the record straight about what it was like to grow up as one of the most famous people in the world.

I’m Glad my Mom Died by Jenette McCurdy Another memoir that topped the charts this year, this is the unflinching account of what it was like to be a child actor – except McCurdy never wanted Hollywood and fame. Her mother did. Their toxic relationship and the author’s subsequent addictions and recovery makes for riveting, if shocking, reading.

Did I ever Tell You This? by Sam Neill In his charming and unexpected memoir, Sam Neill reveals how he turned his love of acting at boarding school into a career that’s taken him around the world, working with the some of the best actors of our time. Neill proves himself a natural storyteller, and you’ll get lots of warm stories about his life at home as well as in Hollywood.

Listen anywhere


Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus Read the runaway hit before you watch the adaptation. It tells the story of Elizabeth Zott, a former chemist who becomes a beloved cooking show host in 1960s California. The book also features a dog called Six-Thirty who will steal your heart.

Fun fact: the book was rejected a whopping 98 times before it was finally published – just before the author’s 65th birthday.

Everyone in my Family has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson 9 and a half hours of audio will go by in a flash. We guarantee you won’t be able to stop listening to this unique, fast-paced murder mystery. A story about a family reunion in which everyone in the Cunningham clan has, you guessed it, killed someone. This is fun and full of twists - and the film rights have already been sold.

The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley A thriller that will grip you, set in the City of Love. Jess needs to escape her old life, so she decides to crash with her half-brother in his very nice Parisian apartment. Only problem is, when she gets there, he’s missing – and all his neighbours seems to have something to hide. Fans of Only Murders in the Building will love this one.

Most-borrowed authors

Taylor Jenkins Reid

Taylor Jenkins Reid It’s no surprise to see TJR is one of our most-borrowed authors. Her books are glamorous, readable, and so much fun. From The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (based loosely on Elizabeth Taylor) to Daisy Jones and the Six (based loosely on Fleetwood Mac), she writes about fabulous women whose lives you’ll be totally addicted to.

Trent Dalton

Trent Dalton One of our beloved Aussie writers is also one of the nicest guys in publishing. His best-sellers include Boy Swallows Universe and All Our Shimmering Skies – and lucky for readers, he’s just released a brand-new book called Lola in the Mirror. All his books are set in his hometown of Brisbane, and you’ll love seeing his underdog characters make good.

Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie Long live the Queen of Crime! She may have written in the so-called golden age of detective fiction in the 1920s and 30s, but her popularity endures and for good reason! Her short, twisty books are perfect to start and finish in a day. We guarantee you won’t want to put them down until you reach the thrilling reveal she’s so well known for.

If you are not already a City of Sydney library member, join now. We have a lot more to offer free online learning, free access to enewspapers and emagazines to name a few. City of Sydney residents and ratepayers can join without visiting a branch.

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