Derby’s favourite book is revealed

Published: 20 October 2020

People reading books in library

Results of Derby Libraries’ public vote to find the city’s favourite book are in

The results of Derby Libraries’ public vote to find the city’s favourite book are in – and the winner is the classic American novel, To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

Readers were asked to nominate their favourite adult fiction book, and the results show how personal books are. Classic novels old and modern and more recent works feature on the list, along with stories considered classics of their genre and two books by Derbyshire writers.

Set in Alabama in the mid-1930s, To Kill a Mockingbird tells its story through the eyes of six-year-old Scout Finch, growing up in a town where many residents are racist. When her lawyer father, Atticus Finch, is asked to defend Tom Robinson, a black man wrongly accused of raping a white woman, he takes on the case even though his chances of winning are seen as slim. The developing trial is seen through the eyes of Scout, as she and her brother learn some valuable lessons about tolerance, empathy and understanding.

Comments from readers who voted for the book include:

“This book opened my eyes to the world of adult literature, through the eyes of a child. It is a beautifully constructed novel with so many powerful messages.”

“I loved it as a child, adolescent and an adult. I know the story but it never ceases to move me. I learned about love, consideration and compassion from this book. I can pick it up anytime no matter how I feel and learn something new from it. It will be many people’s favourite, and that explains why it is still a wonderfully written book.”

Derbyshire writer Joanna Cannon’s debut novel, The Trouble with Goats and Sheep, also scored high on the list. Readers say:

“An excellent book set in the glorious summer of 1976 with characters we all recognise, living in our streets. An excellent story interwoven in these characters’ lives, following two young girls and various mysteries. Lots of discussion points for book clubs and leaves individuals asking questions.”

“Great storyline with very recognisable characters – people who live down everyone’s street. Questions raised by the book and memories of a great summer (1976).”

These books also feature in the list of favourites, with readers’ reviews:

  • Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • Autumn by Ali Smith
  • Carrie by Stephen King
  • The Matchmaker of Perigord by Julia Stuart
  • A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
  • The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth
  • Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins-Reid
  • Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • We Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver
  • The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
  • Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson
  • The Binding by Bridget Collins
  • The Beach by Alex Garland
  • The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
  • The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Sticks and Stones by Jo Jakeman
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
  • The Shipping News by Annie Proulx
  • Eon by Greg Bear
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • The Colour Purple by Alice Walker
  • Thud by Terry Pratchett
  • The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway (first published in the UK as Fiesta)
  • Star Wars the New Jedi Order: The Unifying Force by James Lucerno
  • The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri
  • Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres

Browse Derby Libraries’ online catalogue to find new books to read, and place a hold on them for collection. They can be collected from Riverside and Mickleover Libraries during opening hours, or by using the Click and Collect service at Normanton and Alvaston Libraries. For library information and current opening times, go to

One of the entries in the People’s Vote was drawn at random to receive an iPad Mini 5th generation – useful for all kinds of tasks as well as reading eBooks! Congratulations to the winner, Sam Osbourne, who has been notified. Her nominated book was Autumn by Ali Smith. There are plans for future votes to find Derby’s favourite non-fiction book, and children’s book.

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