No Granny, Advice From Bloggers, and Wasted Film Smashes: 2017 In Books

As some of you now know, and even fewer of you care, each January I save time by reviewing the year in books before anything has actually happened. My resulting summary of things which haven’t yet occurred has often been mistaken for prediction. This is of course ridiculous, because predictions can be held up to scrutiny and either proven or disproven, which I would NEVER tolerate on this blog. The very thought of it, in fact, is punishable by extreme sarcasm.

Anyhoo, let’s have a look at what I said in January. I will then beat the critics to the punch by reviewing my review in light of what did actually happen this year, thus preventing them from making fools of themselves by trying to say I was wrong.

I know, I know. You just can’t argue with this logic.

No Granny, Advice From Bloggers, and Wasted Film Smashes: 2017 In Books

JANUARY

The Mind, Body & Spirit industry was deemed to have finally eaten itself when Unhelping Your Self: A Detox Guide hit the #1 spot in the bestseller lists. This self-help book for self-help addicts promised readers it could wean them from self-help in six weeks.

Well, did you spot it? This was in fact a trick, because the MBS industry cannot eat itself, because it is a concept, rather than a biological entity which ingests other biological entities in order to metabolise energy. Well done to everyone who wasn’t fooled!

FEBRUARY

Big Publishers declared that they were no longer accepting Instagram streams as subject matter for books after February 2017, causing a mass stampede as Instagrammers trampled each other to death in a bid to get their photographs into hastily-captioned coffee table books before the deadline.

This is sort of true. 2017 saw a rash of books from and about YouTube stars, but rather than Instagram feeds, these books tended more towards really meaningful advice such as how to be more like them, how to live like them, how to look like them, and how being bullied for 3 minutes when they were 12 made them the spectacular success they are today.

MARCH

The spate of celebrity deaths in 2016 led to intense surveillance of all surviving celebrities over the age of 62. Elton John became the most hacked man in the world after 35 million people hacked in to his fitness bracelet, hoping to be first to break the news on social media at the first sign of any fluctuation in his vital signs.

I’m calling this one true, because you can’t prove it isn’t. Elton John is still alive, as are loads of other ageing celebrities who didn’t die in 2017, but the media is ready and waiting nonetheless.

APRIL

Fiction made a brief rebound when This Is Not A Story won the Pulitzer Prize. This no-frills account of a man who buys a newspaper and reads it cover to cover while eating a sausage roll was declared “the only truth capable of healing the post-truth society” by the Observer; “a masterful deconstruction of the self” by the Times Literary Supplement and “the vanguard of Non-Fiction Fiction, a new genre for our age,” by the New York Times. A small cohort of book bloggers called it “a bit boring”.

You know, every year when I’m writing these predictions – sorry – reviews – one of them will jump out at me and say ‘you’re going to have a devil of a job trying to develop this into a new gag come December’. Just sayin’.

MAY

Plagiarism was the word of the month, when 67 mass market paperbacks were published in May with covers featuring a woman in a red coat walking away down a road through a forest holding an umbrella.

And then sometimes you’ll crack a joke which is only marginally funny at the time because it’s so ubiquitously true it’s almost pointless to draw attention to the subject in the first place. Still, you can’t blame a girl for trying (see my forthcoming novel, Girl Who Tried To Appeal To A Mass Market).

JUNE

Film/book tie-ins were turned on their heads when several paperback fiction titles were released in June based on blockbuster films and TV series which were not originally based on a book.

I really haven’t a bloody clue why this isn’t true. It SHOULD be true. It should be so true that people are writing articles in the Times about how cheesed off they are with all the books based on films and TV and how none of them are any good because the shows weren’t that good in the first place anyway except for ones written by jaded white American males in their 50s.

Seriously. I even work in business analysis. People always want more of whatever when it comes to pop culture. How long do I have to shout before someone in publishing starts listening to me?

JULY/AUGUST

Fans were devastated when The Biyble, Kanye West’s ghost-written book featuring 66 pages of short fiction, turned out to have been written by West himself.

What was I thinking? I must have been desperate. I am now making a mental note to only mention in my jokes pop culture icons whom I actually like.

SEPTEMBER

September heralded the rise of what became known as the ‘Spoilers’ craze, when authors rushed to create trustworthy and believable voices in fiction (soon nicknamed the “Reliable Narrators”), all of whom revealed their secrets to readers at the very beginning of the book, thus rendering endings unnecessary.

I just realised that there’s another name for stories which reveal everything at the beginning: Literary Fiction. Sometimes (albeit rarely) this is because they’re too clever by half. More often it’s simply an excuse for fundamentally boring books beloved only by those who contribute to seasonal newspaper round-ups of fiction titles.

OCTOBER

The race to find the defining 2017 lifestyle trend was declared over with the simultaneous release of 23 titles from major publishing houses with the word “granny” in the title. Top of the list were Granny’s Recipes For Happiness; How To Be Happy, or A Year With My Grandmother; If Your Granny Wouldn’t Recognise It Don’t Eat It; Happiness Is A Warm Granny, and the runaway smash, Your Life Is Shit And Granny Knows It.

Again, I feel like I came up with a masterful business idea which could rescue publishing, and nobody listened. And for anyone who wonders why I didn’t just go and write the damn books I reckon would sell so beautifully, I say: Shut the hell up.

NOVEMBER

Non-fiction sales outnumbered fiction sales 4:1 for the first time since the 19th century. The Guardian was first to name the trend in an article called “Books For People Who Don’t Read Books”. Topping the charts were the hardback-bound shopping lists of reality TV stars, which outstripped sales of Devoida Talent’s surprise hit You Too Can Have My Fabulous Life (If You Claim You Suffer From Depression Sometimes But Feel Better After A Walk Or Maybe Doing Some Cute Crafts).

Another year, another raft of autobiographies from stars in their 20s. Most of the Goodreads Non-Fiction books of the year were books from YouTubers and bloggers who wow their audiences with tales of how they overcame discrimination/bullies/marginalisation/obscurity with endorsement deals, search engine optimisation, and powerful thighs. It’s a new world out there, ladies and gentlemen, and we don’t even know we’re in it.

DECEMBER

Nobody was more surprised than Tark and Mara when they landed the biggest book deal of 2017 following a bidding war for their memoir, Read Us And Weep. They dismissed rumours of a seven-figure advance, with Mara reported as saying, “As if we’d settle for such a pittance.” They promptly fired Tara Sparling from her position as Slave Scribe on Christmas Eve, stating “We tolerated this pitiful woman for long enough, but including us in her yearly predictions is an utterly vile example of self-serving nonsense, even by our standards.”

Ha, ha, ha! The meta-jocularity of it! How did I know that the super-rich and mega-entitled would spend 2017 lining their pockets even further and then urinating into other peoples’ for good measure! And then I brought back Tark and Mara to substitute while I was away on my extended break! It’s almost like I planned it! Ha, ha!

***********************

And that’s it from me when it comes to 2017 round-ups. Unless, of course, I do another one before the end of the year focusing entirely upon myself in what is in no way a self-aggrandising piece of narcissistic drivel.

Now there’s an idea……..

Over to you. Any trends you’d like to mention from 2017 which cause you to shake your head and/or perhaps even throw up a little bit?

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  31 comments for “No Granny, Advice From Bloggers, and Wasted Film Smashes: 2017 In Books

  1. December 19, 2017 at 8:32 am

    Reblogged this on anita dawes and jaye marie.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. December 19, 2017 at 9:45 am

    Oh, omniscient one, I remain in continued awe of your predictive powers.

    As for your June prediction, here’s an interesting story: Dark Matter was canceled earlier this year. A *lot* of fans were crushed. Its writer and creator consoled them by writing on his blog he was shopping around for other studios/networks to pick it up.

    What I didn’t get was why he didn’t just continue writing in the form of novels, as he seemed to have the rights to the story and characters. Even if he didn’t, he could simply write it in the form of fan fiction. I suggested this to him (on said blog), but he never responded. Which tells me that there’s still too much of a mind gap between the two; TV writer and novel author.

    It may be a good few years before that particular prediction comes true, then.

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 19, 2017 at 11:48 am

      I’m in complete agreement, Nick… cancelled TV shows are one of the biggest areas where this would work and more to the point, make a killing from bereft fans who would do anything to get more. Sadly, these shows tend only to transfer to the graphic novel format (see anything by Joss Whedon and sci-fi in particular) where the cause and the storylines are taken up by those who are usually fans themselves.

      My guess is that the screenwriters involved rarely if ever write novels, and don’t want to. That’s their prerogative and I understand that. It’s fiendishly difficult to switch between these formats. With my cynical hat on, however, if I was a publisher, this is where I would haul in the ghostwriters. It’s perfect fodder for them, and I’m sure many of them would much rather be delving into the rich universes of developed TV shows than ghost-writing YA fiction for 19-year-old YouTube stars.

      Liked by 1 person

      • December 19, 2017 at 11:53 am

        Couldn’t agree more. I, too, had suggested to him that he use a ghostwriter if for any reason he doesn’t want to become a novelist. It’s just ridiculous to me that he complains that he has already mapped in his head the next 3 seasons, yet refuses to put them on paper, where he would, as you say, make a killing. Sigh…

        Liked by 1 person

        • December 19, 2017 at 12:05 pm

          I wonder if there are other factors at work. In the short-term, would satisfying the demand for revealing new storylines lessen the demand for the TV show to be picked up by another network?

          Whether that’s actually true or not, it would be a legitimate concern. It’s one thing for a creator to say something is finished after 7 complete seasons or whatever, and then allow it to transfer to another format for fan-fiction-type continuation; it’s a completely different story if they’re trying to flog it to another production factory based on the audible cries of fans who are dying for more.

          It’s all so political. I think I read more articles this year about the rise and falls of TV shows than I did about books. I find the whole thing both fascinating and depressing.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. December 19, 2017 at 10:32 am

    Loved this!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. December 19, 2017 at 10:54 am

    Adding on to Mr. Rossi about June. It was also about that time that the emo-wannabe lady came out with the “bestseller” book created from her going out and placing orders with all the NYT-connected bookstores, wasn’t it? And that was an effort to use a bestselling book to promote a screenplay, so that a movie COULD be made based on a book… so I think you have to score a next-to-the-bullseye shot on that one, seriously. Because unlike the soon-to-be-movie, or apparently even the book, that actually did happen. I mean, the bestselling ranking.

    I’m sure next year you will let us know the next thrilling turn in the tale of the click-bot farms and their quest to identify with a book that’s actually any good. Because I’m sure those lines of code, having acquired sentience will aspire to do more than just turn pages and might perhaps even READ what they’re doing. Or something.

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 19, 2017 at 12:08 pm

      Sounds scarily plausible, Will. Although, regarding the click-bot farms, I think the fact that Amazon are so far behind the curve and so slow to react most of the time is enough to keep the click-bot focus on what amount to fake books for the time being. Plagiarism is also going to stay bang on trend, I think.

      God, it’s all so depressing!! No wonder I always wrote these posts in January!!

      Like

  5. December 19, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    Great post – merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. December 19, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    So good!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. December 19, 2017 at 7:34 pm

    Your forecasting abilities are outstanding. I’m looking forward to the 2018 releases of Granny on a Train and Gone Granny. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. December 19, 2017 at 8:52 pm

    Everybody seems to have missed the big fad that broke out in May: under-the-radar-marketing (UTRM), where hipsters went to enormous lengths to make sure no one knew about their autobiographies/artisan soup companies/mountain conquering. Can’t see it lasting myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 19, 2017 at 10:48 pm

      I completely missed that myself, Chris. Does this mean I’m not as under the radar as I thought? Wait – if I’m over the radar, where’s the radar? Oh Christ. Is it UNDER MY BED??

      Liked by 1 person

  9. December 19, 2017 at 9:36 pm

    Great stuff! Was that 0 out of 10… or did I/you/I imagine the whole thing anyway? You could just repeat the forward review in January 2018, it’s bound to come true some year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 19, 2017 at 10:48 pm

      We’re all in the Matrix, Hilary. My Matrix. And I’m afraid 2018 is going to get a lot worse if I’ve anything to do with it. More to follow 😉

      Like

  10. December 19, 2017 at 9:46 pm

    this is missing thoughts on UFO research.

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 19, 2017 at 10:49 pm

      It is indeed, Ben. But if you perchance have written the book on it…..?!

      Like

  11. December 20, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    Reblogged this on Jan Hawke INKorporated and commented:
    That Was The Year That Was – it’s over, let it be… The annual review of New Year world-class Literary Navel-gazing lollygagging from dear Tara, who brightens my week without fail ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  12. January 7, 2018 at 1:38 pm

    I burned all my self help books in a bonfire in my backyard last year, so your predictive powers are uncanny, Tara. And I’m focusing on health books in 2018. The first one on my reading list? ‘Granny’s Guide to Home Hemorrhoid Treatment.’ Rumor has it that Elton John has secretly read it. All that sitting, you know.

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 7, 2018 at 2:09 pm

      Oh, excellent! I might have to look into the fact that my forward statements of fact are coming true on the 13-24 month time horizon as opposed to the 1-12 month time horizon, but it’s easily fixed. Good luck with Elton’s Granny. I’ve heard she’s particularly powerful when it comes to piles.

      Liked by 1 person

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