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Last Updated: Friday, 10 February 2006, 07:36 GMT
Cookson falls from library top 10
Catherine Cookson
Dame Catherine wrote more than 100 novels
Queen of the library Catherine Cookson has lost her crown after falling from the top 10 most borrowed authors for the first time since records began.

The romance author, who died aged 91 in 1998, lost top place to children's author Jacqueline Wilson three years ago, but latest figures put her at 11.

Wilson kept the number one spot for the third year running.

Thriller writers, such as Ian Rankin, also feature heavily, suggesting reading tastes may be changing.

According to the figures published by the Public Lending Right (PLR) since 1984, Wilson - whose works include The Illustrated Mum and The Story of Tracy Beaker - notched up more than two million loans during 2004/5.

The author, currently Children's Laureate, said she was "thrilled" to be number one for the third year running.

Jacqueline Wilson
1. Jacqueline Wilson
2. Josephine Cox
3. Danielle Steel
4. James Patterson
5. Mick Inkpen
6. Janet and Allan Ahlberg
7. John Grisham
8. Ian Rankin
9. Roald Dahl
10. Bernard Cornwell
Source: Public Lending Right

Chick lit novelist Josephine Cox was second in the list of most borrowed authors, followed by Danielle Steel.

Thriller writers James Patterson, John Grisham, Ian Rankin and Bernard Cornwell were in the top 10, alongside children's writers Mick Inkpen, Janet and Allan Ahlberg and Roald Dahl.

In the last list, Cookson - who has had more than 100 books published - was at fifth place, but new figures suggest the love affair with UK readers could be over after plummeting to number 11.

In a separate list of the most borrowed adult fiction titles, she does not figure in the top 10 at all.

Patricia Cornwell tops this chart with her thriller Blow Fly, with John Grisham, James Patterson and Ian Rankin figuring highly.

The story is very different to five years ago, when Cookson occupied nine out of the top 10 places in the fiction list.

Simon Brett, chairman of the PLR Advisory Committee, said: "The data helps to build up a revealing picture of the nation's reading habits. This year sees crime fiction and thrillers stealing a march on romance.

"Maybe this is an indication that national tastes are becoming increasingly macabre."

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