THERE’S plenty to celebrate in 2012, as the Olympics and Queen’s Diamond Jubilee bring a deluge of books into our lives.
Angels, vampires and Nordic thrillers were among the big genres of 2011 – but next year is looking hot for anniversaries.
Industry insiders are predicting a plethora of books pegged to the Olympics, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, Charles Dickens’s 200th birthday and other 2012 landmarks, plus a substantial number of first-hand war stories and, of course, tell-all tales from the celebrities.
“There will be a whole raft of books on the Titanic to mark its centenary in April and one or two which focus on the survivors’ stories, which will be quite vivid,” says Caroline Sanderson, non-fiction specialist at trade magazine The Bookseller.
These include Titanic: The Last Night Of A Small Town by John Welshman (Oxford University Press, March), which features the life stories of 12 passengers on board.
It’ll be virtually impossible to avoid the Olympics, but those who want a comprehensive guide to the games should look no further than London 2012 Olympic Games: The Official Book, by Press Association Sport (Carlton Books, April), featuring glorious photography and expert analysis of the star athletes and their prospects at the games.
April also sees the 30th anniversary of the outbreak of the Falklands War, which will attract accompanying books.
“The titles will mainly be Boy’s Own-type, which have done really well in recent years. We’ve had literal accounts of Afghanistan and these are very much in that mould,” Sanderson continues.
Falklands first-hand accounts will include Doctor For Friend And Foe: Britain’s Frontline Medic In The Fight For The Falklands (Conway Maritime Press, April). The author, Rick Jolly, was the senior medical officer there, setting up and running the field hospital at Ajax Bay. Meanwhile Scram! The Untold Story Of The Helicopter War In The Falklands (Preface, March) is written by Harry Benson, one of the youngest helicopter pilots to serve there.
Celebrity autobiographies may have lost some momentum in recent years, but there are still some to look out for in 2012, including Pauline Quirke’s Where Have I Gone? (Bantam, March) and a memoir the same month from David Essex, entitled Over The Moon.
Jo Nesbo – the third biggest fiction author of 2011 after James Patterson and David Nicholls – has a new thriller out in March called Phantom (Harvill Secker), starring his Oslo detective hero Harry Hole.
Tony Parsons, king of the bittersweet love story, brings us Catching The Sun (Harper Collins) in July, a topical tale about a family who leave broken Britain in search of a better life in Thailand.
And in Adrian Mole’s 30th anniversary year, Sue Townsend brings us The Woman Who Went To Bed For A Year (Michael Joseph, March), about a disillusioned wife who climbs into bed the day her children leave home and refuses to budge.
In literary fiction, twice Booker-winner Peter Carey will have a new book out in April called The Chemistry Of Tears [Faber & Faber], featuring two interwoven stories.
Irvine Welsh's Skagboys (Jonathan Cape, April), a prequel to his massive debut Trainspotting, which features all the familiar characters in Edinburgh in the Eighties before they became heroin addicts.
Biographies of the Queen will abound in the run-up to the Diamond Jubilee.
The best include Sarah Bradford’s Queen Elizabeth II: Her Life Our Times [Viking, available now], and Alan Titchmarsh’sElizabeth: Her Life, Our Times: A Diamond Jubilee Celebration.