Books YOU Loved: Here’s What San Francisco Was Reading and Listening To In 2023

Ever wonder what your neighbor on MUNI is reading or listening to on their commute? Need some gift recommendations for that bookworm in your life? Taking a quiet break during the holidays for some quality R&R—“Rest and Reading”? San Francisco Public Library (SFPL) dug into its data and came up with the most popular titles of the year. Discover what San Franciscans of all ages were checking out in our all-star roundup of 2023.

Top Print Adult Fiction

  1. When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole
  2. Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
  3. Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
  4. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
  5. The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese
  6. Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng
  7. When We Were Sisters by Fatimah Asghar
  8. Dry  by Neal Shusterman
  9. Happy Place by Emily Henry
  10. Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano

Top eBooks Adult Fiction

  1. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
  2. Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
  3. Happy Place by Emily Henry
  4. Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
  5. Verity  by Colleen Hoover
  6. Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng
  7. Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr
  8. The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley
  9. It Starts With Us by Colleen Hoover
  10. Book Lovers by Emily Henry


Usage of the Library’s ebook and streaming audiobook platforms took off during the pandemic, as readers discovered the ease of borrowing books on their mobile devices with a simple click of a button. There were notable all-stars that appeared across all formats. Fiction titles that claimed spots on top circulating print, ebook and audiobook were Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin, Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus, Pulitzer Prize-winning Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver and Happy Place by Emily Henry.

In the print nonfiction category, memoirs were reader favorites, numbering eight out of the 10 most circulated titles. Many of the titles were also SFPL’s On the Same Page book club picks.

Top Print Adult Nonfiction

  1. Spare  by Harry
  2. The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times by Michelle Obama
  3. This Is Ear Hustle: Unflinching Stories of Everyday Prison Life by Nigel Poor and Earlonne Woods
  4. Solito  by Javier Zamora
  5. I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy
  6. Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner
  7. Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls by T Kira Madden
  8. Stay True by Hua Hsu
  9. Why We Swim by Bonnie Tsui
  10. Poverty, by America by Matthew Desmond

Top eBook Adult Nonfiction

  1. Spare  by Harry
  2. I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy
  3. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed by Lori Gottlieb 
  4. Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer
  5. Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner
  6. Stay True by Hua Hsu
  7. The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times by Michelle Obama
  8. Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity by Peter Attia
  9. How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell
  10. Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents by Lindsay C. Gibson


The trials and travails of the British royal family continued to capture San Franciscans’ imaginations. Spare, the memoir by Prince Harry, topped the nonfiction lists for print and ebook, and was also the top audiobook of the year. I’m Glad My Mom Died, the memoir by former iCarly star Jennette McCurdy, was also a top San Francisco read.                                                   

Jazz, classic rock and Taylor Swift’s folk-inspired pandemic albums were the highest circulating vinyl records this past year, proving that some things really don’t go out of style.

Top Vinyl

  1. Kind of Blue by Miles Davis
  2. The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd
  3. Evermore  by Taylor Swift
  4. Abbey Road by The Beatles
  5. An Evening with Silk Sonic by Thundercat
  6. Purple Rain by Prince
  7. Folklore  by Taylor Swift
  8. Fine Line by Harry Styles
  9. A Love Supreme by John Coltrane
  10. Thriller 25 by Michael Jackson


For the younger set, Dog Man master Dav Pilkey chomped up six spots on the most popular children’s books list, with J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever by Jeff Kinney and two Elephant & Piggie early readers by Mo Willems rounding out the top 10. Popular young adult fiction this year was dominated by titles that have been released or are currently in production as movie or TV series—numbering a stunning seven out of the 10 of the titles featured on the list.

Top Teen Fiction

  1. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  2. The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
  3. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  4. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  5. Heartstopper. Volume 1 by Alice Oseman
  6. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  7. American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
  8. Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo
  9. A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
  10. One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus


With its rich literary heritage, San Francisco has always prided itself on being a city of readers. In 2023, the story continued at SFPL as readers of all ages found new books to love and discuss.

November 22, 2023