October 25, 2014

Elyria
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Avid readers enjoy top titles in electronic, traditional formats

Randi Mealy holds her Nook in front of hard copies of books at her home in Lorain. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

Randi Mealey holds her Nook in front of hard copies of books at her home in Lorain. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

Katniss Everdeen, Alex Cross and Nick Dunne invaded the lives of so many people in 2013, local libraries couldn’t keep the best-sellers on their shelves.

Across Lorain County, library patrons wanted to escape in murder mysteries and see an unlikely heroine triumph against all odds. The titles that pop to the top of the most-requested list should surprise none — “Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins, “Inferno” by Dan Brown, “Fifty Shades of Grey” by E.L. James and “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn.

Figuring out what readers will want is a science for local libraries.

“You look at the best-seller list and you read the reviews. Steven King doesn’t come out often, so when he had a new one, people wanted it,” said Debby Krejsa, adult services coordinator at Elyria Public Library. “When Oprah (Winfrey) did her book club, we watched because whatever book she picked, we knew it would be the next one people would want.”

An avid reader, Krejsa said her personal taste typically bucks the trends. She leans toward independent authors who are often overlooked.

Another avid reader, Randi Mealey of Lorain, said the secret to finding a good book is openness.

“I love to read,” said the 61-year-old woman. “I started reading like this in elementary school. I would go through all the books in the library.”

That insatiable appetite for reading has not relented. Mealey reads three to four books a week.

“I just find it so therapeutic,” she said.

Understandably, Mealey finds it sad, but believable, that recently released reading statistics put the pastime as, well, in the past for many Americans.

Yes, e-readers like Kindles and Nooks and tablets like iPads have made reading easier for so many. Those devices are in half of American homes, according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center. But that same study revealed that nearly a quarter of all adults have not read a single book in the past year — e-book or otherwise.

The flipside of that statistic is 75 percent of adults are still readers.

“I think far fewer people are reading now, and I think it has to do with social media,” Mealey said. “People get lost in social media. But it’s really sad because authors do a tremendous amount of research to write their books. You are the recipient of all the research and you didn’t have to do it.”

Krejsa said engaging the 2014 reader is all about digital accessibility. Readers want electronic books they can load onto their devices and want lots of ways to get them.

As such, local libraries have several ways to satisfy that need with the newest being Hoopla, a Netflix-like digital streaming service that lets books, movies and music flow to library patrons.

Mealey said she uses all formats to get her literary fixes. Her Nook has upward of 300 stored digital books. She likes both fiction and nonfiction but is not a fan of romance novels, including the popular 50 Shades of Grey.

“No, I didn’t read that one,” she said. “I’m a widow, so basically why get dressed up with nowhere to go.”

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @LisaRobersonCT.

Local libraries’ top books, movies and downloads of 2013

Books

  • “Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins
  • “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn
  • “Private Games” by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan
  • “12th of Never” by James Patterson
  • “Alex Cross, Run” by James Patterson

DVDs

  • “The Hunger Games”
  • “Marvel’s The Avengers”
  • “Brave”
  • “Wreck-it Ralph”
  • “Men in Black 3”

All digital formats

  • “Fifty Shades of Grey” by E.L. James
  • “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn
  • “Fifty Shades Darker” by E.L. James
  • “Fifty Shades Freed” by E.L. James
  • “Inferno” by Dan Brown

eBook

  • “Fifty Shades of Grey” by E.L James
  • “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn
  • “Fifty Shades Darker” E.L James
  • “The Next Always” by Nora Roberts
  • “Inferno” by Dan Brown

Audiobooks

  • “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins
  • “Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins
  • “Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins
  • “Fifty Shades of Grey” E.L James
  • “Zoo” by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

Source: Lorain Public Library System

Books

  • “Doctor Sleep” by Steven King
  • “Inferno” by Dan Brown
  • “And the Mountain Echoed” by Khaled Hosseini
  • “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” by Neil Gaiman
  • “Fifty Shades of Grey” by E.L James

DVDs

  • “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2”
  • “Wreck-it Ralph”
  • “Hotel Transylvania”
  • “Taken 2”
  • “The Hobbit: An Expected Journey”

CDs and audio download

  • “The 20/20 Experience” by Justin Timberlake
  • “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke
  • “Yeezus” by Kanye West
  • “Pure Heroine” by Lorde
  • “Bangerz” by Miley Cyrus

Source: Elyria Public Library System