Saturday, 30 December 2017

Book of the Year Revealed


chosen by #DDRevs Founder, Helen Hollick
If choosing a Book of the Month was hard 
- this was even harder!
('Why did I decide to do it?' I asked myself!)
As I do not review many of the books submitted to Discovering Diamonds, I thought it would be an idea to set aside a shortlist of books that I personally wanted to read, and to pick a monthly choice of the one I enjoyed the most. From there, decide on one winner for Book of the Year. 

I must stress that these choices are entirely personal to me - there is no reflection on quality or content of those books I did not select.

For my own enjoyment I want a book to be, above all else, entertaining. I write - novels, articles, newsletters blah blah - for a living. I am  often at my keyboard all day every day. When I read, in bed at night, I look forward to meeting new (and old!) friends and becoming engrossed in their world which is sandwiched between the covers of a book, (or in my case, on my Kindle screen.) When reading for pleasure I do not read to critique, make notes of typo errors, spelling or grammar mistakes, pick out anachronisms or point of view changes - if a novel is well written I often do not even notice the occasional blooper. What I want is a good story with believable characters enacting believable situations, even if these are fantasy or alternative, science fiction or set in the distant past. 

Yes, quality of writing, and production of the book, are important - too many errors spoil the reading pleasure, as do typos if they occur too frequently. Anachronisms can jar, as can blatant historical inaccuracies - but the occasional blooper can be overlooked if the story is absorbing enough to effectively overshadow these. The better written the story, (which also means the better edited!)  the better it will read. 

The books I've read from my selected shortlist, therefore, are the ones that have been entertaining. My choices for Book of the Month were the novels that I enjoyed for the story/adventure, for that 'what happens next' need to turn the page and find out. 

My final choice for Book of the Year was a difficult decision - I love Alison Morton, Anna Belfrage, Lucienne Boyce, Antoine Vallar, Annie Whitehead... but how to decide on one of these above the others?

One of my Book of the Month selections, outside of these 'top' writers on my personal list, however, has stayed with me because the three main characters have, through the absorbing series, become good, fictional, friends. I find them believable, plausible and very likeable. The plots are well constructed and I felt that I'd learned something after reading each one of the series, in addition to be entertained and enthralled. 

So, my choice for Book of the Year is....