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A book for every year

In Saturday’s Globe and Mail Tralee Pearce wrote about a trend that seems to be taking some publishers by storm: books inspired by the events of a single year. The concept clearly lends itself well to a variety of genres: food memoir (Julie & Julia: 365 days, 524 recipes, 1 tiny apartment, by Julie Powell), biography (A Year in the Life of Shakespeare: 1599, by James Shapiro), popular non-fiction (The Year of Yes, by Maria Dahvana Headley, about a woman who doesn’t turn down a date for an entire year), and literary non-fiction (The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion), among others.

Part of the appeal of “year of” books, according to HarperCollins director of publicity Rob Firing, is their immediacy. “If they read a biography of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, it doesn’t tell them what they might do next year to emulate him,” he told The Globe and Mail. Writing the books can also be a boon for authors, according to agent John Pearce of Westwood Creative Artists. “For writers, it’s a cheap and cheerful formula,” he says. “They don’t have to change their whole lives — just experiment for a year.”

Related links:
Click here for Pearce’s piece in the Globe