Netflix and Fortnight might dominate the free time of many Kiwis, but residents of five major cities found time to read more than 21 million books in 12 months.
In the 12 months to October 31, 2020, public libraries in Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin loaned more than 17m physical books and 4.5m e-titles.
And several items proved popular the length of Aotearoa.
Most popular books for adults
The 24th instalment in Lee Child's Jack Reacher series, Blue Moon, topped the adult fiction chart in all five centres and was borrowed more than 7300 times.
Earlier entry Past Tense also made the top five in Auckland, Tauranga, Christchurch and Dunedin, and was loaned more than 3500 times.
Michelle Obama's autobiography Becoming made the adult non-fiction lists in all five cities and was borrowed more than 3200 times.
Closer to home, Michelle Duff's Jacinda Ardern: The story behind an extraordinary leader made the top five in Auckland and Christchurch and came close in Wellington, with 1526 loans across those three cities.
Delia Owens' Where the Crawdads Sing topped wait-lists. Almost 2700 people in Auckland, Tauranga and Wellington requested the novel which topped The New York Times Fiction Best Sellers list for 32 weeks across 2019 and 2020.
Cookbooks by the likes of Nadia Lim, Chelsea Winter and Jamie Oliver were also popular among adults.
Most popular books for children
Various volumes of Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid series were among the five most borrowed kids' books in all five cities. All up, Wimpy Kid books were borrowed more than 6100 times.
Books about video game Minecraft and Lego were also popular, as was the Guinness Book of World Records.
Auckland Libraries reading engagement specialist Alison Fitzpatrick said Lee Child was always popular.
"Our readers are looking for a good story with great characters and he manages to do that. He is a great storyteller. He's a bit of a star performer in our libraries."
The Brit also brought more males into the library - a service predominantly used by females and the 20-plus age group, she said.
The Wimpy Kid series was a regular standout too, Fitzpatrick said.
"Even our children are trying to make meaning of their lives and they see themselves reflected in the adventure of the poor old wimpy kid."
Generally, popularity was often related to social trends, the news, influencers like Reese Witherspoon and anything made into a Netflix series or movie, said Fitzpatrick.
The popularity of Where the Crawdads Sing was almost certainly boosted by Witherspoon's endorsement through her book club, and her plans to produce a movie adaptation.
"The other reason that's going to become a classic is it's a coming of age story and people tend to love those. When you add the Reese factor you have a blockbuster on your hands."
Otago University Professor of English Language and Linguistics Jacob Edmonds was not surprised by which authors topped the lists.
"Lee Child and Diary of a Wimpy Kid have been consistent for quite a few years in New Zealand and other English-speaking countries.
"Once someone becomes popular they get circulated more and become more popular. The books give comfort and pleasure which is what we read for."
People knew what to expect from Lee Child but they were also getting something new from each addition to the Reacher series, he said.
"He works within a genre and he does that well - short, rhythmic sentences; short sharp observations."
Edmonds remembered reading Wimpy Kid books with one of his children and laughing out loud.
"They are funny and relatable to some extent - to a particular kind of middle class existence."
Memoirs, biographies and autobiographies were always popular in the non-fiction category, he said.
"Often they produce a particular type of satisfaction," he said. "People who succeed against the odds or overcome a particular type of difficulty."
The 2020 effect
Fitzpatrick had noticed changes in reading habits as people tried to make sense of what was going on around them.
E-book use skyrocketed during the lockdown but libraries and shops got a boost afterwards as readers hankered after physical books.
Tastes shifted as the world faced huge upheaval and social change.
"We've had huge demand for Black Lives Matter books, pandemics, dystopian fiction, self-improvement, books about crafts, baking, knitting and how to grow houseplants."
Even macrame had made a comeback.
"It has been a very interesting year for us."
What should be on your summer reading list
Fitzpatrick's fiction pick is Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid, which was also recommended by Tauranga libraries manager Joanna Thomas.
Fitzpatrick said the "sharp social commentary from America" dealt with issues like racial bias and transactional relationships.
"It's a beach read but it's got a lot of substance," she said.
As for non-fiction, Fitzpatrick's pick was Husna's Story: My wife, the Christchurch massacre and my journey to forgiveness by Farid Ahmed.
"It's a book about kindness, bravery, forgiveness, peace and aroha - and I feel like it's something we all need."
The Girl in the Mirror by New Zealand author Rose Carlyle is about the imperfection of family and was recommended by librarians in Wellington and Christchurch.
Carlyle's first novel has already been snapped up by Hollywood. It landed her a six-figure deal with HarperCollins in the States before it was even published.