Review of the year: July – September

The third quarter of the year brought us prizes, the smell of chocolate, and a giant Mr Darcy…

 

July

Book of the Month: The Yellow BirdsKevin Powers
Children’s Book of the Month: Ketchup Clouds
Annabel Pitcher

The biggest news of the month – if not the year – arrived when J.K Rowling was revealed as having published The Cuckoo’s Calling using the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. Meanwhile, Vikram Seth was in hot water after missing the deadline to deliver the long awaited sequel to A Suitable Boy to his publisher. Good to know it happens to everyone.

Scottish crime writer Denise Mina won the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel award for the second year in a row – with Gods and Beasts - whilst Virago publishing celebrated their fortieth birthday.

The Strand magazine published a previously unseen Joseph Heller short story called Almost Like Christmas toward the end of the month. They’ll have nothing to open come Christmas Day now though.

The Man Booker longlist was announced on the 23rd, and praised as “the most diverse in Man Booker history” by chair of judges Robert Macfarlane. Female authors once again dominated -  making up over half the list.

Former Man Booker winner Margaret Atwood revealed that she was working on a libretto for a new opera – Pauline – to be staged in Canada next year.

Over on our blog, David Mitchell brought autism into the spotlight with his translation of thirteen year-old Naoki Higashida‘s The Reason I Jump; legendary screenwriter Terry Hayes shared his top spy thriller books; and poet, artist, publisher, essayist, and author Tao Lin was up very late indeed…

 

August

Book of the Month: Alex, Pierre Lemaitre
Children’s Book of the Month: Dixie O’Day: In the Fast Lane
, Shirley Hughes and Clara Vulliamy

Though there was good news for Stieg Larsson fans, with the announcement that a previously unseen short story was to be published in 2014, Lance Armstrong was sued by readers of his autobiography – claiming the revelations of his drug abuse undermined its classification as non-fiction.

EL James was listed as the highest earning author for the past year, with £65 million earned from the Fifty Shades of Grey series. She also scooped the dubious honour of having her novel Fifty Shades Freed named by Travelodge as the book most likely to be left in their hotel rooms. James still has a way to go to beat Barbara Cartland – who is the third bestselling writer of all time. It was announced that over 160 unpublished Cartland novels were set to be released as ebooks.

Miffy creator Dick Bruna‘s very first book A is for Apple celebrated its sixtieth birthday in July – and his latest publisher celebrated the man and his work.

It was to be a very busy end to the year for Neil Gaiman – publishing two books in quick succession. He kicked things off in style though with an incredible event in Oxford, in conversation with Philip Pullman.

The celebrated crime writer Elmore Leonard, died at the age of 87, and we marked the passing of Seamus Heaney with a late summer poem.

Finally, with the news that the smell of chocolate influenced shoppers to buy more romance and cookery books – according to research by Belgian universities – bookshops nationwide bought up all the Mars bars they could find.

 

September

Book of the Month: Expo 58, Jonathan Coe
Non-Fiction Book of the Month: 1913: The Year Before the Storm
, Florian Illies
Children’s Book of the Month: Split Second, Sophie McKenzie

Malala Yousafzai kicked off September by opening Europe’s largest public library, in Birmingham, while Waterstones announced its partnership with Amnesty International – publishing a special illustrated edition of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Whilst William Boyd‘s new Bond was only a matter of weeks away, Sophie Hannah was announced as having been commissioned to write two new Poirot novels – once again sparking the debate over writers “reinterpreting” others work.

Jonathan Franzen got grumpy about publishers and authors who use Twitter in an article called What’s wrong with the modern world. But everyone carried on tweeting. And one of the things they were tweeting was the possibility of a Morrissey autobiography. Claims were made, and denied. And then an extract from new Bridget Jones book revealed that Mark Darcy had been killed off…

With the announcement of the Man Booker shortlist - we asked readers to choose their winner. We’re pleased to say they choose correctly, but the winner was yet to be revealed. However, Man Booker’s steering committee announced plans to open up the prize to US authors – which proved controversial to say the least… Thankfully, there was the distraction of the Samuel Johnson Prize shortlist to take the heat off for a while.

Over on our blog, we looked ahead to Stephen King‘s sequel to The Shining; we marked the fiftieth anniversary of George Best‘s Manchester United debut; and Roddy Doyle told us about bringing The Commitments to the West End stage.

Elsewhere, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening displaced the work of Kipling and Eliot as the most-requested poem on BBC’s Poetry Please programme and Álvaro Mutis Jaramillo, the Colombian writer and poet, died aged 90.

 

Dan Lewis & Kerry Meech

 

Did you miss our review of January to June?

The final part of our Review of the Year continues next Saturday

Let us know what your bookish highlights of 2013 were in the comments below…

 

 

 

What do you think?