You canâ€™t judge a book by its cover, but you can judge a city by its favorite books.
Psychological thriller â€œInto the Water,â€ by bestselling author Paula Hawkins, was the most popular book throughout the New York Public Libraryâ€™s 88 branches in August â€” with 1,568 checkouts total, data obtained by The Post show.
No. 2 was the 2017 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel â€œThe Underground Railroad,â€ by Colson Whitehead, with 1,011 loans. Next was Hawkinsâ€™ debut best-seller, â€œThe Girl on the Train,â€ with 938 checkouts.
But not all neighborhoods were on the same page.
Readers in Two Bridges soaked up the Jazz Age, The Bronx embraced powerful womenâ€™s stories, and espionage in Nazi Germany piqued the interest of locals in St. George, Staten Island. The Queens list was dominated by how-to and test-prep books.
One thing is common across the board â€” people still love to read. The NYPL saw a 7 percent uptick in checkouts last fiscal year.
Here are the most popular books at a host of library branches based on the latest data â€” August 2017 numbers for the NYPL, and September figures for the Brooklyn and Queens public-library systems:
- Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library: â€œThe Late Showâ€ by Michael Connelly
- Battery Park City: â€œInto the Waterâ€ by Paula Hawkins
- Chatham Square: â€œSaint Mazieâ€ by Jami Attenberg
â€œIt takes place in the 1920s on the Lower East Side and people like to read about their neighborhood,â€ said branch manager Sean Ferguson. â€œItâ€™s always fun for readers to know what their area was like back in the day.â€
- Fort Washington: â€œThe Handmaidâ€™s Taleâ€ by Margaret Atwood
- Mulberry Street: â€œExit Westâ€ by Mohsin Hamid
â€œThis book is set in a war-torn county and is about immigration and refugee issues,â€ said manager Rebecca Alberto. â€œItâ€™s definitely a hot topic right now and the story makes it more personal and relatable for people.â€
- Washington Heights: â€œHit Meâ€ by Lawrence Black
- â€ŠBronx Library Center: â€œWoman of Godâ€ by James Patterson
â€œPattersonâ€™s books are what I like to call â€˜high-lowâ€™ books. Theyâ€™re hard to put down and give you a high, but easy to read,â€ said manager Jean Harripersaud.
- Parkchester: â€œI Almost Forgot about Youâ€ by Terry McMillan
â€œThe main character is a strong woman of color and I think our readers can relate to her,â€ said librarian Nina Maness. â€œWhen a character represents your own lived experience, people are really drawn to it.â€
- Riverdale: â€œThe Excellent Lombardsâ€ by Jane Hamilton
- Van Cortlandt: â€œTuesday Nights in 1980â€ by Molly Prentiss
â€œMost people checking out this book seemed to be between ages 50 and 75 years old. They probably remember the 80s fondly,â€ said librarian John Sattaur.
- New Dorp: â€œAgainst All Oddsâ€ by Danielle Steel
â€œOur main demographic is older ladies and we canâ€™t keep Danielle Steel books on the shelf. Thatâ€™s all they want,â€ said librarian Martha Moffit. â€œOne woman almost cried when she lost her library card because she couldnâ€™t get her Danielle Steel!â€
- â€ŠMcKinley Park: â€œCase Closedâ€ by Gosho Aoyama
- Sheepshead Bay: â€œThe Identicalsâ€ by Elin Hildebrand
- Williamsburg: â€œThe Family Lawyerâ€ by James Patterson
- Flushing: â€œThe Handmaidâ€™s Taleâ€ by Margaret Atwood.
- â€ŠPeninsula: â€œHTML and CSS: Design and Build Websitesâ€ by Jon Duckett
- â€ŠQueens Central: â€œTraffic Enforcement Agent: Test Preparation Study Guide Questions & Answersâ€ by Jack Rudman