Ravenblog: What makes a book good?

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?

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About Ravenmount

Independent science nerd/writer/music blogger/arts enthusiast/theorist currently in Colorado.
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