So you can read my books

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


Or what makes a book good?

What is the criteria you use to gauge whether a book is worth the read?

Does a book have to be good to make a difference in someone’s life? Why or why not?

Victor Standish:

"For me, if it grabs my interest, makes me think, or helps me learn something then it is a good book."

Samuel McCord:

"A good book is a treasure trove of humanity so that no matter where you open a page and start reading, there is something new to be discovered."

Ada Byron, Lady Lovelace:

" I can more easily say why I don’t like certain books and to be honest, it is often the result of the author.

Of the most recent books that come to mind: one author I simply don’t like due to her style of writing and how her characters are always women who can’t take care of themselves."

So?  What do you think makes for a good book?

Action.  No action.  Romance.  No romance.  A bit of both?

I believe there are some universal facets that make a book good and a good book (the two are sometimes not the same.)


If you don't connect to the voice, then no matter how spell-binding the plot, you will drift away from the book ...

that is if you even buy the book at all.


Because the Voice, like the wind in a ship's sails, is what carries you through the book's journey. 

Like an aroma, it permeates each page, each word of the book.

The voice is what will make a page detailing even a train ride something memorable or witty or both.


The sparkling character of Tony Stark made IRON MAN.  Hannibal Lector dominates each page he is on.

The characters in the world of Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz kept me turning the pages to meet more of his one-of-a-kind neighbors.

Memorable characters bring the story to life.  They make you itch to get back to their banter when the world draws you away from their adventures.

In a way, they become friends you can come back to.  They let us see and feel the world in a new way, expanding our minds, enriching our lives.


It doesn't have to be a fantasy setting.  No matter the genre, however, the world around the characters must feel "real." 

Great settings "ground" the story.  They highlight in the larger world, the tragic or comic elements in the smaller world of the lead characters.

Settings in good books become actual characters in the story either nourishing or preying, sometimes doing both.

After Katrina, New Orleans' streets killed the children/teens who roamed them.  Their souls went before their lives.

Take 1895 Cairo:

 the common man fared even worse.  Their servitude was to multiple masters: taxes, poverty, landed aristrocrats, British prejudice.  They were always in the crossfire of conflicting demands.

A well done setting breathes life into the story you are reading.


In essence, the plot has the reader asking, "What happens next?"

What is riveting to you may not be riveting to me. 

But the bottom line to the gripping plot must be PERSONAL and PRIMAL to the reader.

The neighbor of a police detective has her baby kidnapped.  The child is being returned to her one finger, one toe at a time.  No ransom demand.

Did the cleaning lady see something she shouldn't have?  Did she throw away the wrong thing?  Or is it about the detective's past, something to punish him?

Whatever the plot, the reader is invested in it and is staying up longer than she should to see what happens next.

What do you think is essential in a good book?

D.G. Hudson wrote a review recently that my latest book was good -- which made my day.

Underneath the tension of the adventure runs the never-ending, time-spanning romance of McCord and Meilori. 

I recommend this novel for those who like steampunk, adventure, history and the magical world which the author has created. 

This is a book which will transport you to those realms where anything is possible.

Why not go to my book's Amazon page 
and try the LOOK INSIDE feature
and see if it interests you?


  1. For me, I have to be immediately transported into a different world by a character that I want to share the journey with. I don't like to be bored, so too much 'filler' information (just because the author wants to show off their research skills) loses me and I skim through pages until the character grabs me back. I actually like to read badly written books (or should I say, bad structured parts of books) because I learn how to avoid these kind of 'reader irritations' in my my own writing (hopefully :)). Great post, Roland!!

    1. William Faulkner wrote that we learn from reading both bad books and good, so you are in great company! :-)

  2. Hi Roland - I know I'm not good with novels now-a-days ... so a good plot, characters I can relate to and as you say that voice ... I do like a book to be finished off ... not tailing away. Cheers and good luck with all yours .. Hilary

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words. I like to give the impression at the end of my books that the adventure continues in some form or fashion -- as life is like that: one crisis after another! :-)