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The year in books

Erotic fantasies, boastful autobiographies, science fiction bust-ups and troublesome judges—it’s been an eventful year for literature

By Sam Leith   December 2012

Photo: mich&pics

The first thing that any review of the year in books needs to do is acknowledge its own irrelevance. 2012 belonged to Fifty Shades of Grey (Arrow), an S&M fantasy trilogy by EL James that was sneered at by critics for its prose. It has now sold so many copies that every British household now has one for each bedroom and an e-text for the commute.

Publishing-wise, the book was held to signify: a breakthrough for female erotica; the mainstreaming of “fanfiction” (it began as an online pash-note…

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