Our patrons checked out works of fiction more often than they did works of nonfiction in 2014, according to our end-of-year statistical analysis.
The most popular novel was a surprise to me -- "Carnal Curiosity" by Stuart Woods.
The second most-checked-out novel was actually a six-way tie. But, interestingly enough, three of those six were by David Baldacci. They were "The Finisher," "King and Maxwell" and "Stone Cold."
Others in that group were "Gone Girl" by Gillian (no surprise there because the movie came out in 2014), "Sycamore Row" by Grisham and "Moving Target" by Jance.
Among works of nonfiction, the item most checked out was "Killing Jesus" by O'Reilly (at the rate he's going, I'm guessing that O'Reilly will get around to "Killing Carroll Wilson" after my untimely demise), followed by "David and Goliath" by Malcolm Gladwell.
I've not read the "Jesus" book, but I have read the Gladwell, and I will say it is a worthwhile book to read -- counter-intuitive to the maximum.
What will be hot in 2015?
Anything by Baldacci, Parker or Grisham. At least, that's the safe bet.
Every time you check out at the front desk at the library we give you a receipt.
The receipt shows you what you checked out and when it is due to be returned.
But the receipt also tells you how much you have saved during the year by borrowing rather than buying the materials we have given you on loan.
Books are expensive these days. And DVDs aren't that cheap, either.
During the year 2014, patrons of the library saved a grand total of $1.9 million by checking out books and other materials rather than buying those same things.
That's nothing at all to sneeze at.
An outfit called Quartz has just released a list of the 10 books that were most often mentioned in tweets on Twitter.
The Infodocket website says the list was generated from more than 80 million tweets analyzed by BookVibe.
So, at No. 1, there is no surprise: "The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green. No surprise because the movie came out this year and was a hit, and books associated with movies always generate social-media activity.
No. 2 is no mystery, either: "A Game of Thrones" for the same reason.
Another John Green novel called "Looking for Alaska" is at No. 3. I have no clue why that would be tweeted so many times.
I figure that No. 4's "To Kill a Mockingbird" is ranked because it was required reading in a lot of English classes.
And No. 5 is "Hannibal" by Thomas Harris, which must be related to the series that continued running this year on NBC.
So, what about "Looking for Alaska?"
Help me out here.
The Wall Street Journa,l has reported on a study that shows that if you read in iPad and some similar devices before you try to go to sleep, the process of dozing off will take longer than if you read a regular book.
The problem is a blue light that the devices emit. It disrupts the release of the chemical that helps you go to sleep.
If you're like me, you don't need anything to get in the way of getting in the right number of hours to keep me on my toes through the day.
When, as editor of the newspaper in Wichita Falls, I studied the Census data released in 2001 and 2002, one fact really popped out: The number of Anglos was in decline and the number of Hispanics was on the rise.
I broke the numbers down as far as possible and came to the fairly easy conclusion that the future leadership pool for Wichita Falls and that region was going to be Hispanic, not old white guys.
So, along with a community foundation director, I set about trying to get the younger Hispanics involved in local elections and as local decision-makers. That involved quite a number of initiatives, most of which were still under way when I left Wichita Falls in 2007.
I mention this because at the same time I was looking at Wichita Falls' future, I was also looking at Texas' future, and they were on parallel paths.
Seems as if I were clairvoyant. Now comes Richard Parker, a Wimberley author, in a book entitled "Lone Star Nation: How Texas Will Transform America," in which he argues that Texas needs to be sure to educate the young Hispanics because the state's future depends on them.
I have not read Parker's book yet, and am familiar with his thinking only because I read about it in the Sunday American-Statesman.
All I can say is that it certainly appear that Parker is right, at least to someone who is familiar with the data.
The big question is whether the state's leadership, which is mostly old white guys, will pay attention or whether they will try to hold onto their power to the detriment of the state's development.
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