Features Team: Our Book Page

book page

Putting together our book page is a great job.

We get to read books before they come out, and then we get to share our favourites with you!

Over the last week, we’ve been working through the novels coming in to put together our September book page, and we’ve got some crackers coming up.

When we read them, we’re looking for stories that aren’t a million miles from our ethos “not to upset or offend”, and it’s often a surprise to us how many books trip over this at some point.

It’s a shame when you can get one or two hundred pages through something and find it all going a bit graphic or nasty after chapters of absolutely charming work.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that, and every novel needs a problem for the protagonist to overcome, but so many completely feel out of keeping with the rest of the book.

Unpleasant Characters

We’ll still recommend a book if it doesn’t go OTT on the nasty stuff. But some can really leave you feeling a bit emotionally beaten-up, or just leave a bit of a nasty taste.

I read one recently where I just didn’t like any of the characters. They were all a bit mean-spirited and vicious. In a recent interview with author Anna Jacobs, I really identified with what she said she knows about her readers — that they don’t mind sad bits or hard times, as long as there’s a happy ending.

And I also understand what Anna said about characters. If she doesn’t like any of them, she doesn’t bother finishing the book!

You’d expect nothing less of us . . . that you should finish reading our magazine — and anything we recommend — feeling a bit brighter.

We’re already looking ahead to Christmas, and the publishing houses are now turning their attention to promoting their festive novels.

It’ll be a double book page in the first December double issue, so there’ll be plenty of great reading recommendations!

Oh, and look out for our Anna Jacobs interview in our September 7 issue, and our next book page in the September 14 issue.

Read more from Features Ed Alex on his blog.

You can also read the team’s book reviews by clicking here. And Fiction Ed Shirley has some opinions on book reviews . . . read them here.

Alex Corlett

Alex is the "Friend's" Features Editor, working with the talented Features Team to bring you everything from cryptic crosswords to financial advice, knitting patterns to international travel and inspirational real life stories. Always on the hunt for a new feature idea, Alex also enjoys cycling and loves a good tea room.