One of the many joys of being one of the team of reviewers over at All About Romance is the opportunity to chat about books and ‘stuff’ with a great bunch of ladies and also the opportunity it affords to be able to contribute blog posts on many different subjects – book and non-book related.
In the run-up to AAR’s annual “Top 100 Romances” list which will appear in October, each reviewer is putting forward their own, personal Top Ten Favourite Romance Novels, and today it was my turn. Picking favourites is always a tough thing to do, even though I’m nowhere nearly as well-read across the different sub-genres as most of my fellow reviewers. But there are always some titles that stick, no matter what, and once I’d got it sorted in my head as to what qualities I value in the romantic novels I read, it became obvious that sticking to just ten was going to be the problem!
Anyway, I managed, with the proviso that it’ll probably have changed by the next time I’m asked!
Normally, the question “what’s your favourite book/piece of music/film?” is one that’s likely to turn me into a jibbering idiot and turn my mind completely blank. I mean really – just one favourite? And in any case, it usually depends on my mood on any one day. One day might demand Mozart and the next, Mahler. Or I’ll be in the mood for Die Hard one evening and Wall-E the evening after. By that token, if my choices tend to be mood dependent, how was I going to produce a list of titles that wasn’t going to change from day-to-day? So I decided the first thing I needed to do was to decide on the benchmark qualities I look for in a book that would qualify it for a place in my Top Ten.
Anyone that knows me knows I’m a bit of a stickler for good spelling and grammar, and for writing that displays at least a basic grasp of good sentence construction and logic. But those things should be a given in any good book, so they should be taken as read. So, was my criteria to be based on good writing or an unusual storyline; good characterisation or a talent for sparkling dialogue?