In the dogdays of August not a lot seems to happen in the book world as in the rest of the country. Various themes rumble along quietly, unhappiness over the paucity of women on the Booker longlist, Amazon threatening publishers, and The Fault in Our Stars maintaining its grip at the top of the bestseller lists.
That all changes in September when the big guns roll out their novels, Howard Jacobson, David Mitchell (the Cloud Atlas one not Mr Victoria Coren), David Nichols (of One Day), Niall Williams and Joseph O’Neill slog it out as the Booker longlist of 12 becomes a shortlist of 6. Next month also sees new novels from those who missed out – Esther Freud, Will Self and Ian McEwan. And those who will sell lots of copies without troubling the judges, Victoria Hislop, Kate Mosse (the writer), Wilbur Smith, Conn Iggulden, Ken Follett and for his first fictional outing, Andrew Marr. There are also two collections of short stories from top writers Hilary Mantel and Margaret Attwood. An embarrassment of riches.