I’ve got an odd sense of humour. A while back I sent an email to one of Britain’s top military historians. It purported to be from an organisation called the Military History Writers Association, or some such name, and told my friend that his latest book was in the running for Book of the Year. But there was a £100 “administrative fee” for processing the entry. My friend tells me he was reaching for his cheque book before he realised it was my way of trying to start an email a little differently. You’d be surprised at how many writing awards and competitions require an entry or processing fee. Not that I’m saying they’re all scams. Anyway, I think I will start awarding a Book of the Year, selected from the books reviewed in this site’s Book Briefing. This is partly because I don’t give them stars, or maybe it should be claymores, out of five in that section and that might make it tougher for you to work out which books I really recommend. Sadly, I can’t offer a cash prize to the winner. What I can do is give them what they call here in Canada “bragging rights” by giving the books a place in Recommended Reads, also known as Worth a Look. Recommended Reads started life as a place to mention books that I’d read before I started doing reviews in Book Briefing (The full reviews of the three winners so far can be seen at Book of the Year ). So, drum roll maestro, the winner of the 2012 Book of the Year is …… Toby Harnden’s Dead Men Risen. I’ve also decided to make two retrospective awards. So the 2011 prize goes to Tim Cook for The Sharp End and the 2010 winners are Doug Beattie and Philip Gomm for An Ordinary Soldier.