You know when you like a book, and you know when you love what you are reading, enough to stay up all night if necessary to finish the story. You also know when a book is so hard to focus on that you read it a paragraph at a time and keep forgetting where you left off.
But what makes the good books good?
My all-time favorite book is Simple Prayers, by Michael Golding. It is a beautiful, tragic story of love, magic and death, and it took me months to finish reading it, even though it isn’t that long, because I never wanted it to end. I recommend it to everyone, because it is the sort of story I think just about everyone will enjoy.
My second favorite book is The Glass Bead Game, by Hermann Hesse. I’ve reread this book many times, but I don’t recommend it to many people. Why? Because to most of my friends it would just be slow, tedious and boring. I love the idea of the glass-bead game and how it relates to academia, and how one might create a real-life glass bead game. I also strongly relate to the main character, Joseph, who becomes the Magister Ludi and runs the big glass-bead game. But the attractions for me to this book are mostly in the ideas, and most people I know don’t understand my ideas, so I doubt they would get much out of this book. Some love it, but most who have tried it never finish it and are just bored.
So what makes a book good? I’ve narrowed down a few important things, but I am sure there are more-
- Personal connection to the story, setting, or characters
- Great writing style
- Fits the mood of the reader at the time
- Goldilocks book- not too long, not too short, not too fast, not too slow, etc.
- Inspiring or beautiful ideas
- Describes a personal fantasy that the reader enjoys (sci-fi and romances often seek to tap into the reader’s fantasies for space adventures and/or sex)
What makes a book good, for you?