Let’s face it, the weather this year has been seriously inclement. And – other than those few weeks during the summer when we were all inexplicably transfixed by sport – there has plenty of opportunity to get some reading done. Here’s a round up of the books that made waves in 2012.
If 2012 is to be remembered for anything book-related, it will be the rise of erotic fiction. The genre has taken the publishing world by storm this year, thanks to the popularity of E.L. James’s Fifty Shades trilogy and the increase in e-reader ownership, helpfully saving the blushes of more reserved readers. The tales of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey have spawned countless others, including Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series, dominating bestseller lists for most of the year.
Erotic fiction hasn’t been the only story in the book world during 2012. In October, Hilary Mantel became the first woman and first British author to claim the coveted Man Booker prize for a second time. Bring Up The Bodies, Mantel’s follow up to Wolf Hall, was another big read. Those of us still absorbed in her impressively detailed depiction of Henry VIII’s court are hoping Mantel takes her time writing the last in the trilogy.
Also in October, J.K. Rowling returned – five years after the publication of her final Harry Potter book – with her much-anticipated first novel for adults. The Casual Vacancy received mixed reviews but sold one million copies within the first three weeks. The BBC has recently announced that Rowling’s story of parochial parish council politics will be adapted for screen in 2014.
Other big names returned with new novels in 2012. Zadie Smith published her long-awaited ode to London, NW, in August and celebrated chick-lit author, Marian Keyes, returned with The Mystery of Mercy Close, after a hiatus forced by Keyes’s battle with depression.
2012 has been good for film tie-ins too. First published in 2008, Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games trilogy hit bestseller lists both sides of the Atlantic. It followed the box office success of the film adaptation. Cult novel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, also recaptured the imagination of a new generation of readers after the film version which starred Emma Watson. Yann Martel’s novel, Life of Pi, currently features on Amazon’s top ten bestsellers, a whole ten years after winning the Man Booker prize. Ang Lee’s film adaptation is released in UK cinemas this week.
Celebrity memoirs continued to be popular throughout 2012 and the London Olympic and Paralympic Games produced a few more for readers to choose from. Victoria Pendleton released her autobiography Between The Lines shortly after the games, as did Tom Daley, with his imaginatively titled My Story.
But amongst the year’s headlines, some great, quirky British debuts have made their mark. Bed, by David Whitehouse, tells the story of Mal who goes to bed on his 25th birthday and decides not to get back out of it. Will Wiles’s Care of Wooden Floors is all about, well, wooden floors (but don’t let that put you off). And Mhairi McFarlane’s charming and witty rom-com, You Had Me At Hello, nails the modern chick lit genre.
Add to those the books from across the Atlantic – such as Kevin Powers’s The Yellow Birds and May We Be Forgiven by A. M. Homes – and 2012 has been a great year for book lovers.
Main image via brewbooks’ Flickr