Call it a case of life imitating art. Copies of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird have become hot property at Auckland libraries. Almost 100 people are on waiting lists to borrow the book and they will have to wait more than a month to get their hands on it.

The success of Auckland Theatre Company's performance of the legendary tale of Atticus Finch has been in part credited with fresh interest in the 1960 novel.

That play, plus the release of the sequel, Go Set a Watchman, has been behind a surge in demand, said manager of regional collections Catherine Leonard.

"There's something about that book that resonates with people, the moral tale that is simply told and simply written."

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Auckland Theatre Company's season, which closed last month, broke box office records.

Director Colin McColl was pleased the play - which sold about 12,000 tickets in its two-week season - had done its bit to get people reading. "When doing a play, you have some hope you will make people drill deeper into its themes."

He said the book told a "wonderful story" about the loss of innocence, coming of age and segregation in the deep south of the United States - all of which were still relevant in contemporary society.

But demand for the American classic is outstripped by other hot property on the shelves. Anyone wanting JoJo Moyes' book Me Before You must join the queue behind almost 600 other readers and wait more than five months.

The book has been made into a movie that was released in the US last week and will hit New Zealand screens this month.

Leonard said an initial surge in demand for the book came with the announcement of the movie last year. This was followed by an even larger spike earlier this year when the trailer was released.

ROTORUA DAILY POST
9 Jun, 2016 9:30am
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Other popular titles last month included All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, which has a waiting list of 494 people and Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben with 480.

The top three most-issued books last month were Lee Child's Make Me, in the top spot, and his Personal, at third. Sitting between at No 2 was Paula Hawkins' The Girl on the Train.

Leonard said what was happening in the real world could often impact people's reading habits.

"Sometimes it might just be the latest novel in a very popular series, other times it's something more general like a movie," she said.

A scene from Me Before You. Photo / Supplied
A scene from Me Before You. Photo / Supplied