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