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?
"For me, if it grabs my interest, makes me think, or helps me learn something then it is a good book."
"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.)
1.) AN INTERESTING VOICE
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.
2.) MEMORABLE CHARACTERS
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.
3.) A VIVID SETTING
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.
4.) A GRIPPING STORY
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 the cleaning lady 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?