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    Checking Out of 2021: the Year’s Most-Popular Adult Fiction, Movies/TV, and Video Games

    With 2021 winding down, now’s the time to look back on the year’s most-popular hits at DCPL. Checkouts are up across the board from the beginning of the pandemic. Given the challenges of the past year, it’s not surprising that most of the top titles offer some form of escapism to other times, far-off places—or even fantastic, imaginary worlds.

    Fiction

    The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah takes the crown for fiction, with almost 200 checkouts. Set in the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, this historical novel follows a desperate mother determined to survive and keep her children safe.

    Somewhat surprising, Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens returned with a strong showing for third place. The debut novel, following a wild girl abandoned in the marshes of North Carolina, appears for the 4th year running in our top ten fiction checkouts.

    CJ Box’s Dark Sky proved the most popular mystery. Fans can’t get enough of Box’s Joe Pickett, a Wyoming game warden, who here struggles to survive the vengeance of three mountain men—and nature itself.

    In our science fiction and fantasy ranking, Sarah J. Maas took four out of ten spots, A Court of Thorns and Roses, taking first place. Known for her young adult fantasy books, here Maas explores more adult themes, in a world filled with political intrigue, magic, and faeries.

    One of the most-anticipated movies of the year, the Dune movie adaptation boosted its book circulation, bringing the classic work of sci-fi by Frank Herbert back onto the leaderboards. We’re sure the movie will be super popular next year—so place your holds here now!

    And last in adult fiction, our graphic novel results look a bit different this year. Publisher DC takes two slots (both are Batman volumes), but Marvel makes no appearance at all. Tastes seem to be skewing toward manga (Berserk, Junji Ito’s Remina and Tomie), and non-superhero comics (The Boy, The Mole, the Fox and the Horse; Fangs). Oh, and a comic Dune adaptation makes an appearance in this category, too.

    Movies/TV

    Westerns dominated the movie and TV leaderboards this year. News of the World was the most-popular movie, and stars Tom Hanks escorting a young girl to the last of her relatives, after losing her adoptive Kiowa family. Following the dysfunctional Dutton family’s defense of their Montana ranch from land developers and politicians, the hit show Yellowstone swept the podium, its first three seasons taking the top three positions. And another surprise hit: the second-most popular documentary was Becoming Evil: Serial Killers of the Old West, a look into the darker, ruthless side of the Wild West.

    Meanwhile, the most-popular documentary was The Truffle Hunters, following a handful of elderly men and their dogs who search the forests of Italy for the white Alba truffle—a fungus so rare, just a pound of it sells between $5,000 and $10,000! (Side note: Nicolas Cage just starred in a movie about a loner truffle hunter, searching for his beloved kidnapped pig in, well, Pig—if you’d like a weirder fictional treatment of the subject.)

    Biographic documentaries also proved popular this year, with films about Ernest Hemingway, Frank Zappa, Billie Holiday, and Billy Graham all making the top ten for nonfiction movies.

    Video Games

    The most popular video game was the PlayStation exclusive Ghost of Tsushima. Set in an open-world medieval Japan, it features an unforgettable story of family and betrayal, with plenty of samurai action during a Mongol invasion. We’ve also got the game’s critically acclaimed soundtrack on CD, composed of traditional Japanese instruments and arrangements.

    Cyberpunk 2077 comes in at number two, which is a bit of a surprise. After nearly a decade of hype and promises, its late 2020 release was met with mockery and derision, becoming one of the biggest fails in gaming history. The game barely worked on most systems, and when it did work, tons of promised content was completely missing. Eventually the rocky debut led to accusations and even lawsuits for fraud and misrepresentation, leaving gamers with a bitter taste in their mouth.

    On a sweeter note, the rest of the top video games were all family-friendly Switch exclusives—including two Pokémon titles (Let’s Go Pikachu! and Pokémon Shield), several Mario-related entries (Luigi’s Mansion 3, Yoshi’s Crafted World, and Paper Mario: the Origami King).

    Looking Ahead at 2022

    So what great titles are we looking forward to in 2022? Sarah J. Maas returns with House of Sky and Breath, sure to be another hit in her Crescent City series. The Paris Apartment is sure to be another thrilling novel from Lucy Foley, fresh from the success with The Guest List. And always-popular Colleen Hoover strikes again with a romantic redemption story in Reminders of Him.

    For movies, Spencer is sure to be a new favorite, covering Princess Diana’s fateful few days during Christmas with the royal family. And later in the year, Robert Pattinson makes his debut in The Batman, and we return to Downton Abbey once more, in Downton Abbey: A New Era.

    And as for video games, 2022 promises to be a year full of new hits. Early in the year, Pokémon Legends: Arceus will premiere, and later, without set release dates, are several highly-anticipated titles, such as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2, and The Lord of the Rings: Gollum, among many others.

    So as 2021 reaches a close, mark your calendars for these great releases of the next 12 months.

     
     
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