What makes a good book?

I’ve been reading a lot lately.  Well, a lot for me.  Some of the reading has been purely for pleasure, but most of the time I have been wondering, “What makes a good book?”  I had an answer for most of the last month: a book in which you can’t find a place for your bookmark.  This holds true to some extent, but I’m not fully attached to it – not anymore.

As I struggle to clear my mind to read another novel, I think I have found my answer: a story that doesn’t let go of you when you let go of the book.  My head is swimming in the last story right now, coming up with questions, guessing at answers, waiting for more.  I find it hard to decide on the next book, the rebound story, as I break up with the characters I currently love.

When do you realize you read a great book?  What were the clues?  What makes it good?

About R. Garrett Wilson

I am a member of the Stanislaus World Builders writing group and have participated in the FSFW writing group. I have written one drama that was based on the book of Mark and performed at my church in 2007. My story, Journeyer, is published in Analog Magazine and a novelette, The Bakrra Encounter, in the FSFW 2010 anthology, I Dreamed a Crooked Dream. I also took part in the community novel project, Stanislaus Reads and Writes, and have a chapter in their novel, Ashes in a Teardrop. Beyond writing, I enjoy road trips, photography, woodworking, watching tennis and cycling, and reading.
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3 Responses to What makes a good book?

  1. When I find myself giving up my precious hours of sleep (because I can’t bear to NOT KNOW what happens next), I know I’ve got a good one.

    As for what makes it good? So hard to nail down. Smooth writing, easy to follow, unpretentious, leaves me wondering how the MC could possibly get out of that situation. . . All those things I’m still working towards achieving in my own work. :)

  2. Hey Garrett, I’m back to tell you that you were closest on my cliché guessing contest. There were 16 (in my circle) :) Anyway, just send me your address and your favorite candybar (or if you hate those, some snack you DO like) and I’ll get it in the mail.

    And thanks for all your great comments. I really enjoy them. I only wish I could reply back to continue the conversation (I reply via e-mail to commenters who have enabled that feature). Anyway, congratulations! And I hope you have a great day. :)

    • Absolutely awesome! I love winning contests! Cadbury Cream Eggs or 100 Grand will do. :)

      For anyone who hasn’t been to Janet Johnson’s site, she has a running commentary on writing, life, and family with occasional contests and a line of interactive “versus” posts: Real vs. Artificial Christmas trees, George Washington vs. Abraham Lincoln, White vs. Dark Meat, etc.


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