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.
So, what makes books great for me?
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…
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?