Wizards and hobbits: Which e-books Norfolk read in the pandemic

This undated photo supplied by Warner Bros. shows Daniel Radcliffe, left, Rupert Grint, center, and

Harry Potter books were among the most popular audio books borrowed from Norfolk libraries in 2020. - Credit: AP Photo/Warner Bros/Murray Close

People turned to Jack Reacher, Harry Potter and Bilbo Baggins as escapism in a year dominated by coronavirus, a list of the most borrowed e-books and audio books from Norfolk's libraries has revealed.

Coronavirus meant Norfolk's libraries shut for a number of months this year. They closed again this month when it was announced the county would be placed in Tier 4 of restrictions.

But people have still been able to borrow books digitally and to download audiobooks - with a newly published list by Norfolk Library Service revealing the most popular titles.

Lockdown is the perfect chance to catch up on your reading list. Picture: Getty Images

E-books and audio books have proved popular during the coronavirus pandemic. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Lee Child's creation Jack Reacher - a former US Army major turned investigator - topped the most borrowed e-books chart.

Lee Child, author of the Jack Reacher books. Pic: Ian West/PA Wire

Lee Child, author of the Jack Reacher books. Pic: Ian West/PA Wire - Credit: PA

His The Fourth Man adventure was borrowed 535 times, while Jack Reacher books Blue Moon (fifth), Killing Floor (seven) and Past Tense (eight) were also in the top 10.

Lisa Jewell's thriller The Family Upstairs was the second most borrowed e-book, checked out 502 times, Matt Haig's Reasons To Stay Alive was third with 419 and Kate Grenville's The Secret River, borrowed 373 times, fourth.

E-books were borrowed 251,938 times, with audio books borrowed 48,762 times.

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The most popular audio book, borrowed 716 times, was JK Rowling's Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - the first book in the series about the boy wizard.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was among the most frequent books to go missing from Norfol

The audio book of Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone was the most borrowed audio book from Norfolk's library service. - Credit: Evening News © 2009

JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit was second, with 206 check-outs.

James Patterson's 12th of Never was third place, borrowed 184 times, with another Harry Potter book, The Chamber of Secrets, fourth, checked out 175 times.

Rounding off the audio book top five, borrowed 171 times, was Lynda La Plante's Blood Lines.

Norfolk County Council library staff have also embraced e-books this year.

Jaz Wilson-Daze, library manager for Poringland and Loddon, said: "This has been my best reading year since I was about 15! I’ve read double the amount I had set myself as a Goodreads goal.

"I’ve got really into eBooks after finally buying an eReader and I don’t think I can go back.

"I have read all new books, no rereading, but I’ve leaned heavily into recommendations by friends and colleagues."

Find out how to borrow e-books and audio books by visiting Norfolk County Council's website at www.norfolk.gov.uk/ebooks

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