CALL US OLD-FASHIONED—or maybe just broke—but when it comes to reading a good book, Portlanders still flock to the library in droves. In fact, last year Multnomah County libraries loaned out 21 million books and DVDs, making our system one of the nation’s busiest. The surging demand (and our anemic economy) had us wondering if the self-help shelves had been picked clean. But a peek into library records revealed that locals are after another timeless pleasure: escapism. The top titles on loan tell the whole story.

DVDS

1. The Lives of Others
… are not necessarily better than our own, especially when they’re set in 1980s East Germany.

2. Good Night, and Good Luck
Oh, how we miss you, Edward R. Murrow …

3. Capote
Sometimes we have to travel outside of our comfort zone to write the perfect ending.

Books

1. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
When all else fails, we turn to religion—and, eventually, Tom Hanks.

2. Finger Lickin’ Fifteen by Janet Evanovich
Neil Goldschmidt’s tell-all? Sorry. It’s the 15th book in a series about a bounty hunter named Stephanie Plum.

3. U Is for Undertow by Sue Grafton
Evidence that U is not just for unemployment.