Dear Book Lovers,
I thought occurred to me the other day. What exactly makes a good book? We can all name books that we loved, they may be the books that you reread and each time feels like the first time. You can probably even name books you didn’t like at ALL. They may even be the ones you tossed aside and opted instead to “reclaim your time.” Whatever the case may be, I decided to sit down and list out what I feel makes a great, page turning book.
This first one feels obvious. The story must be interesting. It should be unpredictable and keep you on the edge of your seat wanting to know what happens next. If there is a lesson to be learned (picture books are often good for this) that’s even better. Take readers to a new place or open them up a new experience through your story and chances are high that you have a great book.
Great writers just have a way with words that draw you into their work. You can picture every scene, have connections with characters that feels real, and find the story resonates with you for whatever reason. I like to say that when the writing is REALLY good, it makes me want to throw something! For my adult book lovers, Tayari Jones is a master at this. I cannot even understand how she strings together words the way she does. Young book lovers, Elizabeth Acevedo also has a glorious way with words.
When I read a book, I want to understand the characters. Everything they do needs to make sense based upon what the writer presents about their personality and background. As a reader, when I understand a character’s plight or have a really strong emotional reaction to them, that makes everything about the book even better.
A Strong Opening and Satisfying Ending
Ideally, the first sentence of the first paragraph should hook me. If it makes me laugh or shocks me, I know I am going to keep going to see what happens. Sometimes first sentence doesn’t happen but certainly the opening pages or chapter should set the tone and pique my interest.
Similarly, the ending should satisfy. That doesn’t mean that all the loose ends are tied up in a perfect bow. Rather, it should bring things to a close in a way that makes given everything that has happened. If a character has been rebellious the entire book and nothing has broken them of the tendency to be that way, I want one final act of rebellion in the end or some self awareness that maybe came about as a result of being rebellious. Something along the lines. I love when I have finished a great book, close it, and just give a happy sigh. Now THAT is some good reading!
In the comments below, tell me what you think makes an amazing book. I would love to hear from you!