WBD book to talk about revealed

<p>Natasha Mostert has won the Spread the Word poll for her book <em>Season of the Witch</em> described as a &quot;psychological thriller-cum-gothic novel&quot;.<br /><br />The Spread the Word initiative is designed to find &quot;the book to talk about&quot; &ndash; hidden gems not highlighted by book critics and prize juries.<br /><br />More than 8,000 people voted online &ndash; in the World Book Day poll - on the &quot;talkability&quot; of a list of 50 titles selected by a panel of judges. The titles were then whittled down to a shortlist of ten at the end of January.<br /><br />Mostert secured 25% of the public vote to win the poll and received a cheque for &pound;5,000 at a ceremony in Waterstone&rsquo;s Piccadilly, London, on WBD. <em>Season of the Witch </em>is published by Bantam Books.<br /><br />Mostert said: &quot;The premise of <em>Season of the Witch</em> is that twenty-first century man is losing his ability to remember because of all the technological tools at his disposal. <br /><br />&quot;We can hardly remember our own mobile phone numbers. In contrast, our ancestors had muscular memories: Simplicius was able to recite Virgil backwards. Seneca the Elder, who was born in 54 BC, was able to listen to a list of two thousand names and then repeat them in exact order.&quot;<br /><br />The central character in <em>Season of the Witch</em>, Mostert&rsquo;s fourth novel, is computer hacker Gabriel Blackstone who is able to see into the thought processes of others. He is reluctant to use this gift until he is contacted by an ex-lover trying to track down her step-son. Blackstone&rsquo;s journey leads him to Monk House and a mysterious adventure in the occult.<br /><br />The ten short-listed books were: <br /><em>Bad Traffic</em>, by Simon Lewis <br /><em>Catch a Fish from the Sea</em> (Using the Internet), Nasreen Akhtar<br /><em>Fifteen Modern Tales of Attraction</em>, Alison MacLeod<br /><em>Imagine This</em>, Sade Adeniran<br /><em>Random Deaths and Custard</em>, Catrin Dafydd<br /><em>Season of the Witch</em>, Natasha Mostert<br /><em>The Fantastic Book of Everybody&#39;s Secrets</em>, Sophie Hannah<br /><em>The Opposite of Love</em>, Julie Buxbaum<br /><em>Vicky Had One Eye Open</em>, Darryl Samaraweera<br /><em>Wild</em>, Jay Griffiths<br /></p>