A Literary Review of 2011
- Bestselling children’s author Dick King-Smith dies at 88. His 1983 book The Sheep-Pig inspired the 1995 movie Babe. King-Smith wrote more than 100 books.
- Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool wins the Newbery Medal for the most distinguished book for children and A Sick Day for Amos McGee illustrated by Erin E. Stead and written by Philip C. Stead wins the Caldecott Medal for best illustrated children’s book.
- St. Lucia poet Derek Walcott wins the T.S. Eliot Prize for poetry with his collection, White Egrets.
- The letters of reclusive writer JD Salinger, who died in 2010, revealed he liked gardening, eating hamburgers and following the career of tennis player Tim Henman.
- AbeBooks’ bestselling signed book of the month is The Empty Family by Colm Toibin.
- AbeBooks launches its own YouTube Channel.
- Redwall author Brian Jacques dies at 91. His fantasy series about animals was translated into 29 languages and sold 20 million copies.
- Kathryn Stockett, author of The Help, is accused by her brother’s former maid that she used her life story in the novel.
- An unpublished and previously unknown Enid Blyton novel is discovered - Mr Tumpy’s Caravan is a 180-page fantasy story about a magical caravan.
- John Le Carre donates his literary archive to Oxford University, including the first manuscript for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
- AbeBooks’ bestselling signed book in February is Swamplandia! by Karen Russell.
- AbeBooks signs an agreement to acquire German online marketplace for used and rare books, ZVAB.com.
- A poll reveals Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter books is the most popular fictional dream date for teenage readers.
- Britain’s Royal Mail launches eight stamps celebrating magical figures, including Dumbledore Lord Voldemort, and Rincewind and witch Nanny Ogg, from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld.
- Britain’s minister of education Michael Gove sparks debate by saying children should read 50 books a year.
- Diana Wynne Jones, the children’s fantasy and science fiction author, dies at 76.
- John Le Carre asks to be removed from the shortlist for the Man Booker International prize - literary awards are just not his cup of tea.
- A new edition of James Jones’ novel, From Here to Eternity, is published containing gay sex references that were removed from the original.
- A Catholic diocese in Poland warns that the Harry Potter books are unacceptable because they encourage “instructions to practise magic.”
- A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan wins the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
- It is revealed Barack Obama earned $1.8m from his books in 2010.
- Three Cups of Tea author Greg Mortenson is accused of making up parts of his bestselling book.
- The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton is named America’s best mystery novel at the Edgars.
- Modernist Cuisine, a heavyweight cookbook of 2,400 pages and six volumes, is revealed to be riddled with hundreds of errors.
- Philip Roth wins the fourth Man Booker International Prize. He was chosen ahead of 12 other contenders.
- Author and playwright Alan Bennett compares proposals to close many public libraries in Britain to ‘child abuse.’
- AbeBooks sells a first edition of To Kill A Mockingbird for $25,000.
- Oprah’s long-running TV show, famous for its book club, finally ends much to the chagrin of America’s publishers.
- May’s bestselling signed book is Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof.
- Irish author Colum McCann wins the International Impac Dublin Literary Award for his novel, Let The Great World Spin. It’s world's most lucrative literary prize worth 100,000 euro.
- Prince William’s bride Kate Middleton is revealed to be a distant relation of novelist Jane Austen, according to a genealogy website.
- Debut novelist Téa Obreht becomes the youngest winner of the Orange Prize for fiction at 25 - The Tiger’s Wife is AbeBooks’ bestselling book in June.
- JK Rowling’s Harry Potter franchise finally ends with the world premiere of the final film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
- A manuscript of Jane Austen ‘lost’ novel, which was never published, is sold for nearly £1 million. The Watsons tells the story of four sisters who are the daughters of a widowed clergyman, and their attempts to marry.
- David Beckham reveals his newborn daughter, Harper, was named in honor of Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird.
- A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin is July’s bestselling signed book on AbeBooks.
- English novelist Stan Barstow dies at 83. He was best known for his 1960 novel, A Kind of Loving.
- London is rocked by several days of riots – bookshops go untouched.
- An ‘I Hate Reading’ page is discovered on Facebook. AbeBooks offers a video reply that is viewed more than 9,500 times.
- James Patterson is revealed as the world’s best paid author with an annual salary of $84 million.
- Babar the elephant celebrates his 80th birthday.
- The Help by Kathryn Stockett is AbeBooks’ bestselling signed book in August.
- The Borders chain finally shuts down after bankruptcy and a fire sale.
- Scotland’s Wigtown book festival hires a resident literary hermit.
- A photography book called Chicks with Guns becomes a bestseller in the USA.
- Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is September’s bestselling signed book on AbeBooks.
- Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer, who is mostly unknown in North America, wins the Nobel Prize for Literature.
- AbeBooks.co.uk is named the UK’s fourth best Internet shopping site in a poll of Which Magazine readers.
- Nine years after Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides returns with a novel called The Marriage Plot.
- Supermodel Tyra Banks becomes a successful author with Modelland – the novel lands at No.2 on the New York Times bestseller list.
- Julian Barnes wins the Man Booker Prize with The Sense of an Ending – it was the fourth time he had been shortlisted for the prize. The novel becomes AbeBooks’ bestselling signed book of the month.
- Huraki Murakami’s 1Q84 is finally published in English. A month later it’s nominated for the annual Bad Sex Award.
- Stephen King’s latest book is released. Titled 11.22.63, the time-travelling novel tackles the JFK killing.
- Inheritance, the final book in Christopher Paolini’s four-book fantasy series, becomes an instant bestseller with 500,000 copies sold on day one.
- Esi Edugyan wins Canada’s Giller Prize for her novel, Half-Blood Blues. Also in Canada, The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt wins the Governor General’s Literary Award for fiction.
- Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward wins the fiction category at the National Book Awards.
- Anne McCaffrey, the author of the Dragonriders of Pern fantasy series, dies in Ireland at 85.
- Jack Kerouac’s ‘lost’ novel, The Sea Is My Brother, is published. He wrote it aged 20 and it is based on his early years as a merchant seaman.
- American poet Ruth Stone dies aged 96.
- AbeBooks sells an 1867 first edition of Das Kapital by Karl Marx for $51,739.
- AbeBooks launches a Book Collecting Guide.
- David Guterson wins the 2011 Bad Sex Award in London for the sex scenes in his latest novel, Ed King - a modern retelling of the Oedpius story.
- Lady Gaga publishes her own photo book with a leading celebrity photographer. It's called Lady Gaga x Terry Richardson.
- Tea Obreht's The Tiger's Wife is the bestselling signed book of 2011 on AbeBooks.
- Journalist, author and intellectual Christopher Hitchens dies of complications from esophageal cancer at age 62.