What constitutes a good book?

A wee while ago I asked you as my followers what is your favourite book? I was a little sad to find out that only one of you replied which made me think about how many people come in here each day, week or month and who really is reading this blog. Anyway one nice follower who does follow my blog answered my question and said that she enjoys reading romance books. OK I am a woman, I guess that I am a bit of a romantic girl at heart but have I had the desire to read a romance book? Probably not? But then again I ask what type of romance books does she enjoy? I mean they could historical romance- think modern day writers such as Diana Gabaldon, Philippa Gregory or perhaps she likes the classic romantic writers such as Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austin. So this got me thinking.

What constitutes a good book?

A good book should be in my view, a book that can entertain, a book that may be able to teach me something new, a book that can enthuse me and a book that I can remember in years to come. I find that many books out there have a wonderful looking cover on them only to find that they lack substance or the blurb at the back does not match up to what I thought was going to be in the book so it gets read but it just sits there looking idle on my shelves until I decide to do a rare thing and cull it with some of the other books that have sat around for too long in my home.

Recently I took a book out of the library. I find many a great book there that I can read, take out and enjoy for a period of time. This particular book is more of a reference book than anything but it helped me to answer my question that I had looming in my head “What constitutes a good book?”. And in this book, 501 Must-Read Books helped me to appreciate why some books have become best sellers and what makes them popular with us all. Some are actually on my shelves and not because they are best sellers either. Often a book has come into my possession because I have read about it or that I have read the back of it to find out if it is something that I would enjoy and that is the thing if I enjoy the book then most other people will feel the same, which in return is then reviewed by the real reviewers of the world and then it becomes a best seller. But then there are some books out there that have never had the chance to shine and if by some miracle someone picks it up one day and thinks to themselves.. Hey this is great reading, news may spread and before you can blink, the book becomes famous maybe even after the author has died in some cases but the book becomes a sought after item, everyone is now wanting to get their hands on it just as they do when a best seller is made public and that dear folks is what I think may constitute a good book.

Thoughts?

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13 thoughts on “What constitutes a good book?

  1. I think “good book” is subjective. It’s about what the reader is looking for, not really the book itself. It’s the same question as “what’s good writing”. We can all agree on good spelling and grammar but what is it -really-?

    Looking at reviews on Goodreads, there is not one great book that doesn’t have a one star review for every ten five stars. One person might think it has great characters while another thinks they fall short. Personal experiences and understanding shapes a lot of our entertainment value in reading, and a fairy tale retelling will have those who love it for its originality or hate it for its straying from the original.

    So what constitutes a good book? A book you enjoyed reading. =)

    1. Hi Anna
      Thank you for answering my question. I agree with you, a good book is subjective and as I wrote my post before I scanned Goodreads and Amazon to see what made A Taste of India a good book and why it was given ratings of four and five stars. I agree personal experiences help us decide on what we believe is good and if we ‘get a book’ or it ‘get’s us, it makes it readworthy… It is a pleasure to have you on here today. I look forward to hearing more from you soon. πŸ™‚

  2. I have to agree it’s subjective. The best we can do is say what makes a good book for US. We each have tastes and preferences that we bring to a story. I read and reviewed a book yesterday that was by all rights a perfectly good book. Did I really love it? Not at all. It just didn’t do anything for me. It didn’t have that special something that I look for on my list. But I know plenty of people that read just that kind of book and probably would have been swooning over it. I have to take that into account in my reviews.

    1. That is thing isn’t it? What we may like, some may hate and what they may like we may hate!! I think if we worked for an organisation that is well known to the public we may actually have people buy into what we are reviewing and so it becomes a bit like a reputation I guess. For example if The Times of XYZ says that ABC is a terrific book and there is a loyalty there to The Times of XYZ, then people may look at the book and read it and enjoy it too. I guess that organisations have to build up that reputation first beforehand. But I like what you say Bex as I know that not all my readers are going to be Foodies like me. But I also know that there are many who do so I do write a lot of reviews on food or food related issues. I try to have that balance also. Welcome! πŸ™‚

  3. I read only non-fiction books and mainly books on art, astronomy, history, aviation, scale aircraft modelling, travel, photography, archaeology, architecture and science. So can’t possibly have one favourite book!!!,

    1. I think reviews help me to work out sometimes whether a book is worth it too. Sometimes I just read a book without reading the reviews but like you if it inspires me then I will read it. Welcome πŸ˜€

  4. Great question! I think a good book for me is one that’s thought-provoking, entertaining, well-written, and meaningful. But for someone else a good book could mean something entirely different. Of course, a book could be someone’s absolute favorite and someone else’s least favorite. I hope that makes sense. xx J

    1. Yes it made sense πŸ˜€ I guess it all boils down to what our personal preferences are and what may be going in and around at the time. Great to meet you on here, Welcome aboard πŸ˜€

  5. For me, a good book is a book from which I come away feeling uplifted, inspired, a little better than when I started it. I’ve reviewed a number of list determined to be Must Read books, and few of them interest me. My list of favorite reads wouldn’t be posted anywhere; they’re still my favorites.

    1. That sounds a bit like me too Judy, I think that any book that you enjoy is considered a ‘good book’. I hope you enjoyed reading this post as I thought of you when I wrote the question πŸ˜‰

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