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Did you pick up a legal thriller during the past year?

A work of history about Lincoln or World War II?

A title in the “Hunger Games” series?

If so, you’re hardly alone.

Readers in Erie County checked out lots of books of that sort – and requested them, online and in person at local libraries – last year, according to an annual reading report released by the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library.

Thrillers, historical nonfiction titles, and popular series books for young adults were at the top of the list among borrowers last year, library officials said.

And, two books recommended last year by The Buffalo News Book Club – “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand and “In the Garden of Beasts” by Erik Larson – reached two of the top spots on the library’s most-read adult nonfiction books list for 2012.

“This list tells me we like history. It tells me we like certain types of history. The ‘greatest generation’ is certainly very much at the forefront of our minds,” said Mary Jean Jakubowski, director of the library system.

The Buffalo News Book Club selections are made on a monthly basis and written about on the first Tuesday of each month in the newspaper. The Book Club titles span fiction and nonfiction, as well as classic works of literature and even young adult titles.

Those Book Club selections drive a lot of interest in the reading choices of people in Western New York, Jakubowski said.

“Absolutely,” Jakubowski said of the newspaper’s selections determining patrons’ choices. “We have people that come in with lists of what is recommended by Book Club. People who might not have been reading in the past are saying, ‘Hey, this is really neat.’ ”

Jakubowski said her own favorite fiction read of last year was “The Weird Sisters,” a title that features a librarian as a main character.

“When I was listening to it, I was giggling out loud,” said Jakubowski, who listened to an audio version of the book.

Her favorite nonfiction read of the year was “The Yellow Birds,” by a veteran who served in Iraq.

“It’s not an easy book,” Jakubowski said. “It’s something we don’t necessarily hear so much about. It really hit home, to a better understanding of what families and friends go through when their loved ones are in conflict.”

The most popular titles in 2012 in Erie County libraries, according to library officials, included the following books:

Top adult fiction titles:

1.) “The Litigators,” by John Grisham

2.) “Private Games,” by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan

3.) “The Innocent,” by David Baldacci

Top adult non-fiction titles:

1.) “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption,” by Laura Hillenbrand

2.) “Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever,” by Bill O’Reilly

3.) “In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin,” by Erik Larson

Top titles for young adults and teens:

1.) “Catching Fire,” a title in the “Hunger Games” series, by Suzanne Collins

2.) ”Mockingjay,” a title in the “Hunger Games” series, by Suanne Collins

3.) “The Hunger Games,” by Suzanne Collins

Top fiction titles for children:

1.) “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days,” by Jeff Kinney

2.) “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever,” by Jeff Kinney

3.) “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw,” by Jeff Kinney

Among e-books, the most-read fiction title last year was “Explosive Eighteen,” by Janet Evanovitch, while the most-read nonfiction title was the memoir “Too Close to the Falls,” by Catherine McClure Gildiner.

Among most-requested items by library patrons were two of the titles in the “Fifty Shades of Grey” series by E.L. James.

“That is a new book,” said Jakubowski, of the James titles. “It doesn’t mean it circulated the most – it means it was requested the most times.”

“The James books were more of a fad-driven thing,” she said. “They are not circulating at the level of the other things.”

. . .

To get readers in the region off to an exciting start for 2013 reading, library officials also announced this week that they will be holding a winter reading contest – open to adults, children, and teenagers – starting later this month.

The contest will begin Jan. 15 and run through March 15, library officials said.

Prizes for adults will include a Kindle Fire reading device, officials said.

The contest will also be open to schools, in a separate category.

To find out more about the winter reading contest, or to enter, see the website of the public library system, at www.buffalolib.org.

email: cvogel@buffnews.com