The 2015 Book Trends Review, Er, Reviewed

I did my review of 2015 last January, because I was confident that I would be far too busy in December with things I hadn’t made up yet.

At the time, I was fairly certain I’d be flat out right now with glittering parties, dazzling the hoi-polloi with my witty repartee. Sadly, I had to ditch that in favour of being laid up once again, watching the weather making rude gestures at me as it flew past the windows of my sick-room. (However, it’s an ill wind and all that, and I’m glad to report that I used the time wisely to have my cynicism recalibrated.)

The 2015 Book Trends Review, Er, Reviewed

And now, in what literally no time at all has become a grand tradition of epically hyperbolic proportions, not to mention a marvellous stunt of meta-blogging irony, I now get to review my review of the year, in order to answer the following questions:

  1. Did any of what I predicted come true?
  2. If not true, did it at least turn out to be funny?


For January I said:

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 collapsed.

This was far too optimistic to be funny and should never have been included in a humorous piece, let alone on a blog where no optimism is permitted. I apologise, and have consulted a self-help book to set me on the right wrong path again.

The 2015 Book Trends Review, Er, Reviewed


The film of Fifty Shades of Grey came out. Nobody talked about anything else… It was painful.

I really wish this wasn’t true. And to make things worse, when Grey (Book 4 of the trilogy – EL James’ mathematical skills are on a par with her prose) came out in June, the media extended all the same tired bloody conversations, despite the rich analytical pickings available to anyone who bothered to look at the insanely obvious plagiarism of the new novel, let alone the previous three.


James Patterson achieved a new personal record with the publication of 17 books in the first week of March alone.

Good ol’ Jamesie. Not only did he extend his fortune this year through more books he didn’t even have to bother writing, but he also proved me right too, which, as we all know, is the only thing that matters.


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.

The biggest selling paperback in the UK in April 2015 was The Girl On The Train, which was, to be fair, an excellent antithesis to EL James. It’s good to wonder what might have happened an EL James heroine once she slipped that ring on her finger, but it helped enormously that this time, it was wondered by someone who could actually write.


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.

Yeah. Here went I again with the preachy thing. I’m going to stay far, far away from any such finger-pointing in my review of 2016 next month. It’s no good for squeezing jokes out of come December.

The 2015 Book Trends Review, Er, Reviewed

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.

You know what was missing in 2015? A massively huge crossover YA hit, that’s what. It’s no harm if it’s because the genre is re-evaluating what makes a heroine. It would be nice to think that by the time YA heroines reached the age of dreaded Women’s Fiction they might’ve single-handedly saved themselves from needing to be saved.


The surprise summer hit of 2015 was talking animal sensation, The Pound. This shaggy dog story… was deemed to have reached peak popularity when a picture appeared on Instagram of Barack Obama autographing his copy for Vladimir Putin.

I wrote this because August is traditionally known as the silly season. But 2015 has showed us that nothing Vladimir Putin does is funny. And that’s not funny.


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.

I’m just going to mention a few things here which exploded into the mainstream this year before I crawl into a dark hole to cry bitterly for a very long time.



Girl Online



The 2015 Book Trends Review, Er, Reviewed


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.

Okay, I got this wrong. Because October 2015 was when I realised that publishers were lying. There has been no nosedive in sales. The only nosedive has been in the earnings of mid-list authors. The big boys are still earning the big bucks and publishing houses are doing just fine. This is not funny either, but I’m giving myself one half point on the ‘mildly amusing’ scale for the celebrity pairings I did here.

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… as “A collection of Amazon Top Reviewers’ reviews of other reviewers’ reviews”.

I’ll take this one, thanks. Because by the end of 2015, Amazon had done a major overhaul of its review policy. They set major law suits in motion against sellers of fake reviews, but also went one bulldozer further by deleting swathes of reviews (and reducing authors to tears) if they suspected any connection whatsoever between authors and reviewers (such as sharing a blood group, or liking the same cat video). C’mon. Surely someone out there in the webernet should be paying me for my psychic vision?


So there we have it. I think last year’s review was marginally more successful, which delights me, because I am Irish, and I love failure, which means I win.

But I think we can all agree that a lot of what actually happened in 2015 wasn’t funny. Perhaps that’s why we have to make up stuff online, folks. Because the truth is sometimes a bridge too far, even for the cynical.

Tune in next time, when I talk about how much I’m loving puppies right now, and post 5 selfies to celebrate the launch of my new video blog*. #Authentic #Fluffypuppies #Gimmefreestuff

*Not really. Shut up.

  59 comments for “The 2015 Book Trends Review, Er, Reviewed

  1. December 8, 2015 at 8:16 am

    The funny things this year became unfunny when no one laughed. Can you say Donald Trump? Ben Carson? Or is the Irish press too wise to report the shenanigans of the Republican party in the US? And then there’s Ireland supporting gay marriage, which made many of us laugh. For all the wrong reasons. So the year was awful, insanity broke loose, Terrorism broke out in droves, and EL Gray proved to be mathematically challenged. Depending on the winner of our presidential election, either all the liberals or all the conservatives will leave this country. Will Ireland accept liberal refugees from America?

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 8, 2015 at 11:07 am

      Well, I tend not to get political here (unless we’re talking about the politics of book marketing!) but there are plenty of other blogs dealing with all that stuff. I will say however that our referendum on marriage equality this year was one of the few occasions I laughed and cried at the same time – for the sheer joy of it. All liberal refugees from America will be gladly accepted in Ireland and given lots of cake 😀

      Liked by 3 people

  2. December 8, 2015 at 10:21 am

    I seem to have totally missed ‘The Pound’ – I was wondering why and then realised, ah, I was madly rewriting and editing and deciding on illustrations 😉
    Looking forward to your predictions for 2016!

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 8, 2015 at 11:09 am

      Other than the fact that I completely made it up, Lorna, it would have made a far nicer news story in August than the ones we had! I’m looking forward to my predictions for 2016 too. I wonder if losing my sense of humour will be one of them. I doubt it. Something needs to get me up of a morning.


  3. December 8, 2015 at 11:10 am

    Re: November and December, I have to be honest and say I’ve wondered how the lamest, most obscure titles on Amazon have somewhere between 2,357 and 10, 874 reviews, mostly 5 stars, while my book still has only two, that’s a mere 2 reviews after two years. And one I had to beg for!

    While I’m being honest, I have to tell you Tara that I really only visit your blog for the ads at the ends of your posts. Funny, my posts have the same ads. But they’re really good ads! Sorry to disappoint.

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 8, 2015 at 11:49 am

      Haha! You think I didn’t know that? What you also didn’t know I knew, in knowledge terms, was that all those ads had subliminal messages in them which forced you to come back to this site in order to increase my site hits. You shouldn’t feel too exploited. After all, neither of us are getting the ad money.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. December 8, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    Since you got so many right, I can’t wait to hear your predictions for 2016.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. December 8, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    Everything Putin does isn’t funny? Have you not seen him sing karaoke?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. December 8, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    Old Moore’s Almanac (k),(neither of them) would be at the races with you when it comes to predictions. And all the ads are paid for in those publications. Love the review and its the first this year, about this year and its not even over yet. Is this the final version or do you think there is more to come? Take care of yourself and keep the predictions (and reviews) coming.

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 8, 2015 at 4:20 pm

      I think we’d all better hope that there is no more to come, Adrian, given what came already! I was thinking of predicting the apocalypse, but given my strike rate so far, I might agree to shut up for a moderate fee…


  7. December 8, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    I’m glad you’re predicting that Ireland will accept US liberal refugees should the time come. Not a lot of funny hijinx this year in the real world, Tara. Thank goodness the publishing world has lots of zaniness to balance it out. I’m looking forward to the 2016 predictions. Whatever will Amazon come up with next???

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 8, 2015 at 9:17 pm

      Who knows? Perhaps they’ll come full circle by hiring terrorists to moderate their reviews. It might escalate internet bullying but ultimately bring about world peace. Which would have a lovely circularity to it come December 2016. Wouldn’t that be lovely?

      Liked by 1 person

      • December 8, 2015 at 9:32 pm

        So…your prediction for 2016 is that Amazon will bring about world peace! That would be lovely indeed.

        Liked by 1 person

        • December 8, 2015 at 9:35 pm

          Yes, by redirecting terrorists to more noble pursuits, such as policing the internet. Of course, for that to happen, they would have to correctly identify the terrorists on both sides, but labelling is their thing.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. December 8, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    Just before Christmas I sit in the pub with a friend and we review the year. This year I think I’ll make it all up and watch her scrambling to remember the July release of Terminal Runt, or the runaway novel success Hanratty’s Opera. (Although James Patterson might have got there before me.)

    I wanted to believe that an author writing more than three books in a trilogy was a note of farce, but EL James continues to be the Eighth Wonder of the World. I know, should I blog a made up interview with her. Portraying her as an intellectual giant could burst the bubble…

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 8, 2015 at 9:19 pm

      I’m shocked and saddened to hear you’ve been telling the truth thus far, Chris. Have I taught you nothing? I am mollified to hear your first ideas, though, EL James as a genius in particular. There is hope for you yet. Perhaps you two could have a passionate argument about quantum physics?

      Liked by 1 person

      • December 8, 2015 at 9:28 pm

        In another universe we are discussing quantum physics. And in a third universe I have been known to lie through my teeth.

        Liked by 1 person

        • December 8, 2015 at 9:33 pm

          And in another universe, the opposite is happening. You are speaking the truth to EL James about quadratic equations, but nobody is watching, and both of you are dead in the box.

          Liked by 1 person

  9. December 8, 2015 at 8:28 pm

    “I think last year’s review was marginally more successful, which delights me, because I am Irish, and I love failure, which means I win”…. literally made me laugh out loud. You are frikkin’ hilarious and that alone makes you the winner of blogdom worldwide. Carry on!

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 8, 2015 at 9:21 pm

      Just as long as I don’t become a megalomaniac, Lorraine. It doesn’t sit well with the national psyche. There were three confident Irishmen once, but they all became reviled tax exiles, and I just don’t have the funds for that.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. December 8, 2015 at 8:36 pm

    I read the whole thing and not a mention of make up or Instagram. What are you at Sparling? You had better include those in your predictions for 2016. Oh! You have to do a face cream giveaway too.
    Meanwhile, over on my pathetic little outpost of bile, I will be running a competition to win a frying pan (brand name of course). What a sad end to the year….

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 8, 2015 at 9:25 pm

      I have spared the viewing masses of such ire by way of sticking to bookish news thus far, Conor. If I were to do a blogging review of 2015, I’m sorely afraid I would overshoot the boundaries of comedy, landing myself irrevocably into bitter ould wan territory. I’ll stick to the kind of satire the ‘I’m loving’ brigade don’t get. Besides, I can’t afford to give away face cream. I’m still dreaming of the day I’ll be successful enough to give away frying pans.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. December 8, 2015 at 11:15 pm

    It’s too late in a complicated day (trying to persuade a skilled typographer to do set text my (amateur) away) for me to cope with meta analyses. Amazon have started emailing me copies of The Washington Post and when I unsubscribed, I found they had listed me as wanting about 40 kinds of emails on other subjects… I hope you are soon up from your sick bed, I think I am just about to take to mine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 8, 2015 at 11:28 pm

      I can recommend it, Hilary. Although it can be a delicate balance between being sick enough to not go mad, and being well enough to enjoy being sick. Tech malaise is as good a reason as any.


  12. December 8, 2015 at 11:18 pm

    I did actually read them, I just failed to process the information and am left with images of Putin and Trump in a dog pound… which is sort of comforting.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. December 9, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    You can’t talk about 2015 in books without mentioning Morrissey. Oh wait, you can *Muttley wheeze*

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 9, 2015 at 6:08 pm

      I don’t want to be smug, Speculess, but I’m going to be. Because I already mentioned the Morrissey in my review of the review of 2014. It’s hard being this perfect. Ask him.

      Liked by 1 person

      • December 9, 2015 at 8:10 pm

        Heh heh. Must have a gander so. The novel sounds so eh..intriguing, I’m compelled to read it.

        Liked by 1 person

        • December 10, 2015 at 9:02 am

          You know he won this year’s Bad Sex in Literarure Award? I will not be reading his novel. I have far more important things to do. Such as plucking my nose-hairs.

          Liked by 1 person

  14. December 9, 2015 at 10:01 pm

    I think the thing that surprised me most here is that I remember reading that post so clearly. I’m obviously not reading enough blog posts. Better spend the rest of the night trawling WordPress

    Liked by 1 person

  15. December 12, 2015 at 8:49 am

    Please don’t change anything of the cynicism or the pedastal standing, Tara, it’d kill me! And I’ll tell you I remember the post too, can’t believe it’s that long ago! Thanks again for being the one blog I can always come to to sit down with and properly read, it’s up there with the Sunday papers for me (highlight of my week. Sad, sad, sad!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 12, 2015 at 12:29 pm

      Okay, now you deserve all the presents. You are too kind. I say ‘too’, because my nearest and dearest are now suffering the aftereffects of the hideous boost to my ego. I do plan to untie them before Christmas.

      Liked by 1 person

      • December 14, 2015 at 11:59 pm

        I’d suggest leaving them til after, that way you get full control of the telly, plus the best chocolates from the box of Celebrations;)

        Liked by 1 person

  16. December 12, 2015 at 8:51 am

    ps, as for above, you two get a room (or a log cabin, and a pc so you can write the story as it happens and then make millions …);)

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Ali Isaac
    December 16, 2015 at 6:43 pm

    You’re so right…. a good new crossover YA is exactly what we need! We haven’t had one in a while, so what movie will we see next year, if there’s no decent CYA to make one from? FFS!


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