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Merry Christmas and a happy new read

HANNAH Stephenson picks some hot books of 2010, when actress Denise Welch's autobiography will vie for attention with a new fad for angelic fiction.

BOOKSHOPS have been awash with vampires, celebrities, cooks and fantasy fiction this festive season - but what about next year?

The vampire genre, led by best-selling author Stephenie Meyer, is looking strong for the New Year, but angels may also appear in 2010, says Alice O’Keeffe, books editor of trade magazine The Bookseller.

"Angels are going to be quite big in a slightly fantastical genre," she predicts.

In April, Angelology by Danielle Trussoni, a debut novel which sparked a huge bidding war in 2009, will be out in the UK. It follows Trussoni’s memoir, Falling Through The Earth, which was published in 2006 to great acclaim.

Mel Harris, of Waterstone’s, says: "Our fascination with vampires and ghoulish romance, as evidenced by the phenomenal sales of the Twilight series of books by Stephenie Meyer, looks set to continue in 2010.

"In Grave Secret, Charlaine Harris tells the story of Harper Connelly who is struck by lightning at 15 which leaves her with a spider’s web of red all over her body and a unique talent for finding dead people."

There’s also a new trend in otherworldly, fantasy romance, says Harris.

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick has been a big hit in 2009, and its theme – the story of a fallen angel – continues to be popular in 2010 with the paperback publication of Fallen by Lauren Kate, in which teenager Lucinda falls in love with Daniel, a gorgeous intelligent boy and fallen angel.

Acclaimed literary authors are again going to be big players.

O’Keeffe says: "There will be Solar, a new book from Ian McEwan, the top-selling literary author of the past 10 years, plus new books from Rose Tremain, Peter Carey and Martin Amis."

In The Pregnant Widow, Amis writes of a long Italian summer holiday in 1970, while in the satirical novel, Solar, McEwan focuses on climate change. An aristocrat and a servant form an unlikely friendship in Parrot And Olivier In America from Peter Carey, twice a Man Booker Prize winner.

Celebrity memoirs were not as abundant this year as in previous years, so may be losing popularity, says Caroline Sanderson, non-fiction specialist for The Bookseller.

"There is a real sense of celeb books not delivering the goods. You can’t really fool people – if the content is thin, they won’t buy it.

"In the first half of next year, celebrity books are fairly thin on the ground, apart from several of the stars of Loose Women getting in on the Coleen Nolan act.

"Denise Welch, Carol McGiffin and Lynda Bellingham are all set to publish their autobiographies in the spring.

"Other celebrities telling their life stories include wrestler Hulk Hogan, Aerosmith frontman Steve Tyler and Corrie’s Bev Callard."

One to watch for is Warwick Davis’s memoir of being the "world’s leading little actor". At 3ft 6in, he has starred in Return Of The Jedi, all eight Harry Potter films and Willow.

So-called misery memoirs may also be out of fashion next year, says Sanderson.

"Misery memoirs are a dying breed, although publishers are still alert to any fresh new horror in the genre which might transcend the general market saturation."

Mass market fiction continues to thrive and next year fans of popular author Lisa Jewell will see the sequel to her best-seller, Ralph’s Party, while in May Tony Parsons is bringing out Men From Boys, next in the Harry Silver trilogy.

There will be new novels from Jodi Picoult, Kate Atkinson, Jackson Brodie and thriller-writers Sophie Hannah and Harlan Coben, while fiction fans can also look forward to The Long Song, the new book from Andrea Levy, author of the recently televised Small Island, and The Hand That First Held Mine, a powerful account of motherhood from Maggie O’Farrell.

Watch out for Skippy Dies, the hilarious new novel from Irish author Paul Murray set in a Dublin college. It begins with a fatal doughnut-eating contest, with the unlikely tragedy bringing all kinds of secrets to light.

In general interest sections, the thrifty grow-your-own/make- your-own genre is increasing in popularity.

"There’s a wonderful book to go with a major new V&A exhibition on quilts. Quilts 1700-2010 – Hidden Histories, Untold Stories is published in March and is edited by Sue Prichard, curator of contemporary textiles at the V&A.

"There’s also a brilliant book, The Girl On The Wall, by Jean Baggot, who embroidered her life story in a tapestry," says Sanderson.

Nature and countryside writing is also still big, as is self-sufficiency, she adds.

"With plenty more new books such as Robert Peston’s The New Capitalism due out that are set to pick over the wreckage that was the global financial meltdown, it might be safer to concentrate on new growth in the garden and allotment anyway."

Given that there is a General Election due, there are surprisingly few political books on the horizon, although one sure to gain publicity is Pauline Prescott’s autobiography, Smile Though Your Heart Is Breaking.

Watch out, too, for a flurry of books around the forthcoming World Cup in South Africa.

In crime, following the success of Stieg Larsson’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo trilogy, 2010 could be another big year for Scandinavian authors, with buzz books including The Man From Beijing by Wallander author Henning Mankell, The Stone Cutter by Camilla Lackberg and The Snowman by Jo Nesbo.

Last but not least, there’s children’s fiction.

Following the success of the Young Bond series by Charlie Higson, The Death Cloud is the first in a new series by Andrew Lane featuring a young Sherlock Holmes in which the iconic detective is reinvented as a brilliant yet troubled teenager.

Happy reading.

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