And so we come to the hours-old grand annual tradition, in which I review the year ahead in January, in order to save time at the end of the year, when I will be extremely busy with things I haven’t made up yet.
They are here, Ladies and Gentlesirs: I now give you my review of 2015. Just wait ’til you see the marvellous booky happenings during a year which – I think you’ll agree – contained more than one shockingly startling surprise.
2015: The Year Trends Were (Mostly) Bucked
January: Following a widely-publicised study showing that 98.5% of self-improvement books sold in January are never read past page 5 (and never opened after January 10th), sales of books concerning sugar-free diets, fitness, mindfulness, positive thinking, career development and money management collapsed. Publishers cried.
February: The film of Fifty Shades of Grey came out. Nobody talked about anything else. There is no point in even attempting to construct a joke around this. It was painful. On a brighter note, the film didn’t do half as well as the media had expected, making it highly unlikely that a sequel was in the pipeline.
March: James Patterson achieved a new personal record with the publication of 17 books in the first week of March alone. Each of his 25 co-writers said that they were thrilled to have had the chance to collaborate with such a great writer, and eagerly awaited further 6-word synopses from Patterson in order to churn out even more bestsellers.
April: In a shock knee-jerk reaction to the Fifty Shades revival in February, so-called “chastity lit” – a new genre featuring average-looking people who decide not to have sex – hit the big time. Josephine Bonapartti, author of Not Tonight, Darling, capitalised beautifully with a range of aprons and tea-towels featuring her signature headache tablets.
May: Society changed forever when, to the delight of many, Kim Kardashian’s book of selfies failed to come within an ass’s roar of the list of Top 100 Bestsellers. The #Selfie was officially declared dead, and 1 billion people under the age of 25 suddenly found themselves with nothing to do on nights out.
Panic ensued until Winston Smythe, an enterprising 22-year-old from Sheffield, re-introduced a lost art, known as ‘conversation’, with a mildly amusing story about his dyslexic Granny.
Exclusive nightclubs caused a sensation by turning the music down, thereby allowing people to speak to one another. Socialites across the world were soon attempting to outdo each other with witty aphorisms, most of which they found on Twitter. However, by the end of the month, conversation had once again died as people spent all their time in nightclubs scrolling through Twitter looking for something new to say. The music was turned back up again.
June and July: The biggest bestseller of 2015, The Fault In Our Twilight Games, hit the 1 million unit sales mark on June 23rd. Although denounced by one respected critic as “a derivative, barely re-hashed copy of every other young adult bestseller, showing a distinct lack of imagination, and the cynical manipulation of yet another female protagonist towards an ultimately violent fate”, nothing was able to halt its success.
August: The surprise summer hit of 2015 was talking animal sensation, The Pound. This shaggy dog story, of how Perry (a 3-year-old terrier cross), Daniel (a spaniel) and Rover (a labradoodle) become social media celebrities before finding themselves embroiled in an anthropomorphic tax scandal which destroys the UK economy, was deemed to have reached peak popularity when a picture appeared on Instagram of Barack Obama autographing his copy for Vladimir Putin.
September: The Internet was deemed to have finally eaten itself following the release of a popular e-book about an author writing a book about his pretend life on social media.
The marketing campaign, which involved the release of tweets and Facebook status updates about fake tweets and fake status updates, caused pandemonium. One young woman interviewed on the evening news was heard to sob: “I don’t know what’s real anymore. I mean, it was hard before. But now it’s bloody impossible.”
October: October saw the biography turned on its head, as publishers attempted to halt a nosedive in sales by releasing celebrity autobiographies written by other celebrities. Top of the heap were Twerking With Miley Cyrus by Sinead O’Connor; The Fast Truth Of Usain Bolt by Lance Armstrong, and It’s Been A While: In Bed With Kim Jong Un, by Salman Rushdie.
November and December: The surprise Christmas hit of the year was Five Stars, My Arse! The Top Reviews of 2015, published by Amazon – memorably described on the cover as “A collection of Amazon Top Reviewers’ reviews of other reviewers’ reviews”. (Should I say that again?)
The ensuing reviews of this book, again on Amazon, finally broke the Internet.