Earlier this month, in my ongoing quest to gauge what the Pacific Northwest is reading beyond the limited picture we get from sales numbers, I sifted through the Seattle Public Library’s Peak Picks program. That caught the attention of a commenter, who made an excellent suggestion: Why not look into the King County Library System’s similar Lucky Day books program?

So, reader, I reached out to the King County Library System (KCLS) and asked about the program, which, like Peak Picks, makes in-demand books immediately available to readers. Specifically, I wanted to see a list of these books. But there isn’t just one.


According to KCLS public-relations specialist Sarah Thomas, the Lucky Day lineup changes every other week based on holds numbers, so it’s truly a metric of what books are in high demand throughout the library system. Once selected, Lucky Day books are available on the spot for a two-week checkout period. And because they can’t be renewed outside that 14-day window, they may actually be a better indication of what local library patrons are reading than sales numbers alone. (Books you’ve purchased, after all, can simply languish on the “to read” stack for months if not, um, years, not that I speak from experience.)

Thomas sent me a report of Lucky Day titles pulled on Wednesday, Sept. 11. Since the collection fluctuates based on reader demand on a biweekly basis, these books may not be available, but they present a glimpse — 93 titles strong — into what this slice of western Washington is reading.

According to this list, Lucky Day readers have a predilection for nonfiction, from buzzy bangers like Ruth Reichl’s “Save Me the Plums” and Abby Wambach’s “Wolfpack” to titles that help to create a sense of order in an unpredictable world — Jared Diamond’s “Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis,” Michael Wolff’s “Siege: Trump Under Fire,” Anne Lamott’s “Almost Everything: Notes on Hope.”

King County readers are also surprisingly into tales of espionage, from the real-life story of Virginia Hall (Sonia Purnell’s “A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II”) and Kate Atkinson’s 2018 novel “Transcription,” about a young woman who ends up working for an MI5 surveillance operation during World War II, to the collision of middle school and the CIA in Stuart Gibbs’ “Spy School: British Invasion.”


You can pick up Lucky Day books at King County Library locations in Sammamish, Fairwood, Auburn, Covington, Burien, Mercer Island, Redmond, Shoreline, Federal Way, Kent and Kingsgate. The program is slated for expansion this fall to Woodinville, Enumclaw, Vashon Island, Bothell and Des Moines.

This post has been updated to include a complete list of Lucky Day-participating libraries.


Top 15 KLCS Lucky Day books as of Sept. 11

Unfreedom of the Press, Mark R. Levin

Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World, David J. Epstein

Wolfpack: How to Come Together, Unleash Our Power, and Change the Game, Abby Wambach

The Path Made Clear: Discovering Your Life’s Direction and Purpose, Oprah Winfrey

The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life, David Brooks


Almost Everything: Notes on Hope, Anne Lamott

Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language, Gretchen Mcculloch

Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World, Cal Newport

Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis, Jared Diamond

The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World, Melinda Gates

Three Women, Lisa Taddeo

Doing Justice: A Prosecutor’s Thoughts on Crime, Punishment, and the Rule of Law, Preet Bharara

Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimagining Life, Louise Aronson

Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee, Casey N. Cep

Semicolon: The Past, Present, and Future of a Misunderstood Mark, Cecelia Watson



Current bestsellers from the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association

Hardcover fiction

1. The Testaments, Margaret Atwood

2. Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens

3. A Better Man, Louise Penny

4. The Institute, Stephen King

5. The Nickel Boys, Colson Whitehead

6. Land of Wolves, Craig Johnson

7. The Ten Thousand Doors of January, Alix E. Harrow

8. Circe, Madeline Miller

9. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, Ocean Vuong

10. The Secrets We Kept, Lara Prescott

11. The Girl Who Lived Twice, David Lagercrantz

12. Gideon the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir

13. City of Girls, Elizabeth Gilbert

14. Red at the Bone, Jacqueline Woodson

15. Deep River, Karl Marlantes

Hardcover nonfiction

1. Talking to Strangers, Malcolm Gladwell

2. Educated, Tara Westover

3. Permanent Record, Edward Snowden

4. The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck, Mark Manson

5. Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?, Caitlin Doughty, Dianne Ruz (Illus.)

6. How to Be an Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi

7. How To, Randall Munroe

8. On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal, Naomi Klein

9. Trick Mirror, Jia Tolentino

10. The Education of an Idealist, Samantha Power

11. This Book Is Literally Just Pictures of Cute Animals, That Will Make You Feel Better, Smith Street Books

12. She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement, Jodi Kantor, Megan Twohey

13. Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, Samin Nosrat, Wendy MacNaughton

14. Three Women, Lisa Taddeo

15. Call Sign Chaos, Jim Mattis

Paperback fiction

1. The Overstory, Richard Powers

2. The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood

3. There There, Tommy Orange

4. A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles

5. Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng

6. The Tattooist of Auschwitz, Heather Morris

7. Beloved, Toni Morrison

8. The Witch Elm, Tana French

9. The Immortalists, Chloe Benjamin

10. Once Upon a River, Diane Setterfield

11. The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt

12. Before We Were Yours, Lisa Wingate

13. Washington Black, Esi Edugyan

14. The Silence of the Girls, Pat Barker

15. The Only Woman in the Room, Marie Benedict

Paperback nonfiction

1. Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari

2. How to Change Your Mind, Michael Pollan

3. Calypso, David Sedaris

4. Born a Crime, Trevor Noah

5. The Body Keeps the Score, Bessel van der Kolk

6. White Fragility, Robin DiAngelo

7. Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Wall Kimmerer

8. The Spy and the Traitor, Ben Macintyre

9. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, Yuval Noah Harari

10. Killers of the Flower Moon, David Grann

11. Being Mortal, Atul Gawande

12. Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter, Ben Goldfarb

13. All That the Rain Promises and More, David Arora

14. You Are a Badass, Jen Sincero

15. Whose Story Is This?, Rebecca Solnit