I’ve decided to try a new thing called Monday Musings and today’s topic is what makes a book good? I’m not talking about what makes a book great, because there is a difference!
1) It meets your expectations. I’m not saying the book must be predictable, but if you sit down for a romance, it shouldn’t turn into a horror story. Case in point, I bought a novel, by an author whose name I shall not disclose, assuming it was a romance novel…with a happy ending. It was a romance novel, but when I got to that ending I wanted to throw the book across the room. I felt like I got Punk’d (old tv show). Don’t Punk your readers! I don’t recommend that novel. It didn’t make me happy.
2) I turn the pages. Folks I read a lot of books. A lot of books. When I was younger, if I started a book, I finished it. Now that I’m older and there are more demands on my time, I give the book three chapters unless it just had outstanding reviews. If I’m not pulled in, it’s not a good book. If I’m pulled in from start to finish, then even if I’m not crazy about it, I give it props. Case in point, I read a book for a contest that was just wild. I mean, the characters were some of the strangest people I had ever come across in a novel, but everytime I put it down, I was like, what happens next? So I finished it. The book was over the top, but I would call it a good book or at least good writing. I wanted to turn the pages.
3) It’s not complicated. There’s nothing I hate more than a complicated book. If you read my reviews, I’ll often say, the book wasn’t complicated. What is complicated? Lots of facts or details that I simply don’t need as a reader. If I can skim the book and still get to the point, than that’s not good. I rarely skim. I feel like it’s cheating, so if I’m skimming, than there are too many details. Complication can also mean relationship issues. There are some relationships that just should not happen. Case in point, I once read a novel where, before the guy became a Christian, he had intimate relations with two sisters and then chose one in the end. That’s a negative. I could not relate. I didn’t like the guy, I didn’t understand the girl. Too many complications there (and Christianity does not erase issues!).
4) No stupid people. Annoying heros or heroines are just that annoying. Don’t get me wrong, every author should change up their characters and make them unique. Often that means that there is one hero/heroine who comes across as annoying. It’s okay to have the character be annoying on some levels (little ticks, pet peeves, etc.), but I have found that the most annoying heroines are those who are driven by a desire that tramples others in the novel and women who are strong before their time. It’s okay to be strong, but let’s be realistic here. In the old days, you didn’t turn down Godly men because you wanted to pave your own way. Just didn’t happen. Annoying heros are men who humiliate the heroine and suffer no consequences or cocky men who aren’t funny (if the guy is arrogant, he has to be funny).
5) Original. There has to be some originality. A good author can take a familiar story and make it unique, so I’m not talking about something I’ve never heard of. However, I shouldn’t read a book, and be like I’ve definitely read this already. That’s bad. Especially, if later on I can’t tell the difference between the books. Something about the novel must be original to make it stand out amongst the group. I like mail-order bride novels for some odd reason. There are a ton of them, so I really don’t read a lot of them (that sounds odd, but there are a lot of bad ones out there). Yet, there are some that stand out and it’s because they don’t have the typical heros and heroine or the typical plot. Don’t be typical, be original!
6) Lastly, it feeds your needs. At the end of the day, you know what you like. My dad always says a good movie has to have a good romance, some action, some humor, and a little mystery. Everyone has their own criteria for what makes your heart sing. When the novels matches that criteria it is a good book.
Next week, I will talk about what makes a book great or the difference on my blog between recommended and highly recommended.
Anyone agree or disagree with my reasonings? Got any to add?