One of the things I’ve always tried to do better every year is reading more. This includes both books and blogs. I’m a big fan of blogs. I also love books. There are more books in the world than I have time for. That’s why reading great ones is important. I hate wasting time and money on books. This means I have to read great ones. While thinking about this, I had to ask:

What Makes Books Great For Me?

I recommend books I find helpful. I’m also always on the look out for books people with similar taste as me, recommend.

[Tweet “Life is too short for terrible reads”]

So, what makes books great for me?

The Write

Nothing ruins a great story or content like bad writing. I think one could get away with a bad plot and content with great writing. Getting away with bad writing on a great story or subject is more difficult. Just my humble opinion. Maybe I should say I prefer a stupid story or content well presented than the torture of bad writing.

The writing must be good; it should be undeniable that work was put into the book. Well edited and presented. I’m likely to change my mind about this but the bottom line in this regard still stands:

Defining a “great write” is something I’ll unpack soon…

[Tweet “Great writing makes books great for me”]

Talk To Me

I must feel like the author is having a conversation with me. I don’t want a lecture. I want to have a friend talk to me. You know when you have a great conversation with a friend around the fireplace? That is what I’m talking about. Some writers can be condescending or patronising.

Dear writer, talk to me like you’re talking to a friend.

[Tweet “Conversation makes books great for me”]


What’s the basic point of fiction if it can’t entertain? All fiction must be gripping. Well, all writing must be gripping. Who wants to waste hours in the drudgery of atrocious and uninspiring writing. Who is fond of disenchantment?

[Tweet “Entertaining fiction makes books great for me”]


I hate to spend time and money on something that adds no value to me. The writing itself must challenge me to be a greater writer. The story needs to challenge me to dare at something. The content or subject itself, needs to grow me somehow.

[Tweet “Growth makes books great for me”]


Value for money matters. Am I the only one who sometimes feels some books are overpriced? I admit this is subjective, but there are times I’ve read books and felt the money I’d spent was not worth what I paid.

[Tweet “Value for money makes books great for me”]


Moving on, to being a little vain, perhaps. Great books are well laid out. The design is thought out and done tastefully. Design must enhance the reading experience. For physical books, I love margin. I tend to scribble notes, write questions. The margin is one of the places I talk back to the author.

Packaging matters. It is one of the things that tells people how seriously to take you or your work. Despite the adage, we judge books by its cover. Generally, the cover is the first thing that vies for one’s attention.

[Tweet “Tasteful, well-thought out aesthetics makes books great for me”]

The Other Stuff

There’s always that, “Je ne sais quoi…”. That thing that you can’t explain. You know there’s something; it exists but you can’t explain it. I may be aware of some of that. There are things that make books great for me but I can’t quite put my finger on them.

It could be the style of authors. I don’t know… I’ll probably update this post if it becomes more obvious. Or, if I’m better able to articulate…

These make books great for me.

What about you? What makes books great for you?

[image: Anastasia Zhenina via Unsplash]


Published by Blessing Mpofu

just a guy changing the world

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  1. I enjoy books that have pictures! At least on the cover anyway. I read my first 300+ page at 12yrs old that didnt have any pictures except for the chapter numbers. It had a really cool pattern for each chapter number and a mouse next to it and an awesome map at the start. The book was called Mossflower by Brian Jacques. I guess what captivated with that book and all the books I read is that it kept leading me somewhere that I felt interested to go. Even with the leadership books I read, I can easily spot when the author is rambling on about nothing. On the other hand, I like it when it takes a long time to get to the point if what he is talking about is engaging. I love it when things tie up or when you start asking questions before he got to the point and you later discover that the questions you asked get answered. I hate reading books that you feel the author is shouting at you. Like you in trouble with every line you read. I got halfway through a decent read and this started happening and I got a little put off. There were good nuggets in that book but I didnt enjoy the process of having to dig deeper to get more out of it, alas I gave in to the rebellion and put the book away.

    1. Pictures! How did I leave that out?! I also love books with pictures. Literal pictures or metaphorical. You know, engaging imagination.

      I also hate being shouted at. When I read a book I want to feel like a friend is talking to me, so tone is important. But pictures… Good one! Pictures for the win!