What makes a good book

I lifted this from James Scott Bell’s book, where he quotes John D. MacDonald, because it tell exactly of what I love in a good book:

…I want him [the author] to have a bit of magic of prose in his style, a bit of unobtrusive poetry. I want him to have words and phrases that really sing…I think that writing – good writing – should be like listening to music, where you identify the themes, you see what the composer is doing with those themes, and then, just then, when you think you have him properly identified…then he will put in a little quirk, a little twist, that will be so unexpected that you read it with a sense of glee, a sense of joy, because of its aptness, even though it may be a very dire and bloody part of the book.

What do YOU love most in a good book?


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Natasha
    Jan 27, 2010 @ 10:52:35

    Characters I care about and lyrical, spare language.

    A satisfying ending (generally that means happy, but my definition of ‘happy’ may be considered warped at times….)

    Justice or karma rules.

    Children do not die in the book or form the premise for the book.


    • kathanink
      Jan 27, 2010 @ 14:45:12

      I am the same…I love lyrical language. I absolutely love to read it.

      BTW, I don’t know if I said this, but you can’t read about a child dying, you won’t be able to read my book… :-/


  2. dayner
    Jan 26, 2010 @ 11:08:20

    First of all, I want a happy ending. After that, I want a book that doesn’t try to be what it isn’t. Don’t try to impress me with your language. I want a good plot twist and I want to either laugh or cry. I read for entertainment not to learn a lesson so If you make me laugh and cry then I’m happy.


    • kathanink
      Jan 27, 2010 @ 14:46:52

      I know, it drives me bananas when writers try to use five dollar words for no reason. Some large or less used words are perfect for what’s being said, but I prefer when a writer can say something so aptly, that perfectly describes what is being communicated. It’s like art.


  3. darksculptures
    Jan 26, 2010 @ 08:32:59

    Easy reading and a solid theme.

    I like it when the style and language of the book of the book flows smoothly and doesn’t cause me to stress or strain for the meaning of sentences. Simple strong words are what I enjoy the most. In a novel anyway. Poetry is a different story.

    But above all, the book has to have a good solid theme. I want to walk away having learned, or at least challenged to think, about life.


    • kathanink
      Jan 27, 2010 @ 14:49:50

      My favorite books challenge me, but I would have to say that I don’t always read books that do. But I love when there’s a point, a moral or something to learn, but the author doesn’t bonk you over the head with it.

      Have you ever read the book by Francine Rivers, “Redeeming Love?” I thought I would die when I saw the cheesy cover art, but a friend told me years ago that I HAD to read it. It’s a great book. I’ve read it twice, passed it on to others and they’ve all said it was one of their favorites. It has a great story, a beautiful theme and it’s very well told.


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