What makes a book a good book? What does it need? What am I looking for? What's the difference between a good book and my favorite books? What makes a book special to me?
Often I find the rewarded bestsellers not worthy of all that praise. Or I'm disappointed by famous authors. Or I discover a book I love, recommend it to somebody and they just say: „Ok, it's not bad, but it's not what I'd chose.“
There must be some criteria that all can agree on. Like good grammar, fluent and consistent writing, a good story without logical flaws ….But sometimes it's necessary to strech the grammar to fit with the setting, sometimes short, disconnected sentences give the right feeling – and what is a good story?
Maybe the question can be answered only individually. So, what do I like? I think about all the books I've read, searching my memory. The majority I don't even remember. I look at my shelves in my home, the accumulated literature of a lifetime – I know I've read all these pages – but sometimes I only remember the title or the author, the cover or wether I did like it or not. I open the list on my kindle and it is even worse – worse because there are no covers to trigger my memory, there's no distinct tactile experience. In only 16 months I've accumulated more than 200 titles there.
But some stand out. And that's my first creterion:
A good book will stay in my memory for a long time. But why?
(Should I wait some years before judging?)
Some of the reasons I've found so far:
- I could connect with one of the main characters
- They made me think about life and myself
- I could totally emerge in the story
- There was intense atmosphere
- There were enough twists to keep me interested
- Outstanding writing style
- Stayed in my mind when I wasn't reading
- I didn't want them to finish
- Made me smile, laugh and/or cry
- They feel real
- The message is true
I'm still searching but I think you get what I mean.