Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Decade in Books

Article Robert McCrum on 10 years that shook the world of books from The Observer.



Booker winner: Arundhati Roy for The God of Small Things

· Welfare mum Joanne Rowling finally gets her boy wizard tale published after numerous rejections. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone has an initial print run of 500 copies. Small fry, but little did we know...

· Zadie Smith lands a huge advance, rumoured to be £250,000, for her debut novel, still three years away from publication.

· Major publisher Random House takes the unusual step of launching a website.


Booker winner: Ian McEwan for Amsterdam.

· Harry Potter strikes again, this time with his Chamber of Secrets. It'll never last...

· Poet Laureate Ted Hughes dies.

· Online bookseller Amazon, launched in 1995, starts to nibble away at the profits of the traditional high street bookshop.


Booker winner: JM Coetzee for Disgrace.

· Never mind the Booker ... celebrity chefs have become a national obsession and a young geezer named Jamie Oliver cashes in with his pukka guide to cookery, The Naked Chef. In not too many years, he'd be cooking Britain's school dinners.

· Harry Potter has his third outing.


Booker winner: Margaret Atwood for The Blind Assassin

· Thousands queue all night outside bookshops; acres of newsprint are devoted to the rags-to-riches story of JK Rowling; and literary critics are forced to admit that something remarkable is happening. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is published and all over the land, children, not to mention adults, are actually reading books

· Those who frown on Harry Potter are to be found reading Zadie Smith's White Teeth, which finally makes its appearance, justifying the hype, and that big advance, with healthy sales worldwide.

· Hari Kunzru ups the stakes with one of the biggest advances for a first novel in publishing history, a total of £1.25m for UK, American and European rights for The Impressionist

· Dave Eggers unveils his A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius... and brings to our attention new writers such as Vendela Vida (now his wife) and George Saunders via his journal and publishing house McSweeney's.


Booker winner: Peter Carey for True History of the Kelly Gang

· Jonathan Franzen is shunned by Oprah's Book Club for expressing unease at his selection, but Oprah's role as America's top tipper of gripping books, soon to be followed in Britain by Richard & Judy, proves to have a bigger impact on the literary landscape.

· Ian McEwan cements his position as the discerning reader's darling with the publication of Atonement

· Bill Clinton addresses Hay-on-Wye, dubbing its festival the 'Woodstock of the mind'. Suddenly reading has morphed from private pastime to public talking-shop.


Booker winner: Yann Martel for The Life of Pi

· Life of Pi is the public's favourite-ever Booker winner, reflecting a marketing makeover for Britain's top literary prize.


Booker winner: DBC Pierre for Vernon God Little

· Madonna kidnaps children's fiction with The English Roses, published simultaneously in more than 100 countries.

· Everyone on the tube is reading The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.

· Everyone on the tube is now reading 2003's The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.

· Strangest of all, millions around the world obsess about commas in the company of Lynne Truss and her Eats, Shoots & Leaves.


Booker winner: Alan Hollinghurst for The Line of Beauty

· For his memoirs, My Life, Bill Clinton receives the biggest advance of all time, believed to be worth $12m.

· Richard and Judy start their book club. It quickly becomes a passport to big displays in bookshops and guaranteed sales.

· Everyone's reading Brick Lane by Monica Ali.


Booker winner: John Banville for The Sea

· Eat your heart out, Bill: Oprah's new diet book tops Clinton's record advance.

· But all is not lost for serious literature: Ian McEwan tackles the Iraq war in Saturday and Harold Pinter wins the Nobel Prize.


Booker winner: Kiran Desai for The Inheritance of Loss.

· Angel, the first novel by Katie Price, aka Jordan, marks a new watershed in celebrity-penned fiction.

· A setback for the 'true-life' misery memoir: A Million Little Pieces by James Frey is exposed as significantly fabricated. 'A million little lies...' say the headlines.


Booker winner: Anne Enright for The Gathering.

· Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the last in the series, attracts the largest pre-order of all time.

· Katie Price outsells the collected Booker shortlist and turns up at the British Book Awards.

· Doris Lessing wins the Nobel Prize.

· Amazon sells 5.4 million items in one day.


Michael Portillo chairs the Booker Prize.


Brian M Logan

Never miss out on a great article or blog post by joining the 'Blog Up-Date Notification List' by sending an email with the word SUBSCRIBE in the 'comments' field!


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home