Saturday, 7 September 2013

What makes a good book?

This is a question that I love to ask during interviews, which I do because every answer is always different! And more simply, the post is about what does it for me in regards to books! For fairly obvious reasons this is completely opinion (and please feel free to share your own!), as everyone has different thoughts about it.

So, to fully comprehend where I'm coming from as a reader, you have to know a bit about me (otherwise you'll have no perspective to what I'm on about. So without further ado, a bit about me!

  • I'm 21
  • I'm female (and straight, you may think it is a strange thing to mention but it'll become clear!) 
  • I'm a final (4th) year student studying International Business and Modern Languages
  • I'm 1 of 5 kids - a step-sister (21), a step-brother (20) and 2 brothers (18 and 4) 
  • I've lived in a tiny village, a rural town, a major city and a capital city
  • I love to read, and started learning when I was 2 because of my appalling vision! 
  • As well as going to uni, I work for my family company, work at my local pub, and am a Brownie Guide Leader.
  • Things that have always interested me include; mythology, Ancient Egypt, the Tudors and Fairy Tales
  • My favourite Disney Princesses are Ariel (the Little Mermaid) and Rapunzel (Tangled)
  • My favourite musical is Phantom of the Opera
  • I could be classed as a girly girl, but only in some things! 
Books about these subjects will immediately attract me:
  • The Tudors/War of the Roses 
  • Ancient Egypt 
  • Fairy Tales 
  • Dystopias 
  • Beautiful covers (superficial but true!) 
That list is no where near exclusive! It all depends on a lot of things, and I enjoy a lot of books once I turn the first page! Anyway, the detailed things that make a good book: 

Romance

Now, please don't get me wrong about this, in general I'm not a romance book reading kind of girl! Well most of the time I'm not, I do read them occasionally. But if a book doesn't have a love story as part of the plot then after reading it I feel like there was something missing (there are of course exceptions to this, there are books I have read without love stories that I've enjoyed a lot.)

The romance doesn't have to involve sex or any explicit encounters, honestly I am kind of indifferent either way, as long as the romance is there then I'm easy, the sex is completely optional.  

Under romance it is worth noting my love/hate relationship with love triangles. As much as they may infuriate me at times, but I always pick a side! 

Examples would be Peeta from the Hunger Games, Jace from the Mortal Intruments, Elliott from Masque of the Red Death, Julian from Delirium and Gabriel from The Chemical Garden

The Love Interest 

Tightly linked to romance and to the love triangles previously mentioned, but the love interest has an important role to play. This following point does only apply to male love interests (see told you that knowing I was straight made a difference!)

I'm not sure if it is just me, but I tend to find that the love and romance between characters is most believable if the male character is someone that I would find attractive. That is mainly applicable for first person narratives from the young woman's point of view. 

This is even more pertinent when it comes to love triangles, as then the 'team' that I choose is most likely that of the guy that I would find the most attractive. The perfect example of this would be the Masque of the Red Death duology by Bethany Griffin, where, despite Araby's rather complicated feelings, I was Team Elliott over Team Will all the way. 

Relatable Protagonist 

To me this is super important, more so for some books than others. If the main character has something in common with me then I find that I enjoy the story far more, and I find it far more engaging. 

The best example of this would be in the book that I finished earlier this week, Forget Me Not by Sarah Daltry. It isn't the normal kind of book that I read (which is exactly why I agreed to review it as part of a blog tour), but the main character, Lily, was so relatable to me in so many ways (young, just started college, well uni in my case, with no friends, and a relationship that isn't as perfect as first thought) that it drew me in straight away. In fact, the more I read, the more me and Lily seemed to have in common, other than our nationalities! 

A Book Hangover

Seems a strange one I know, but I love books that still have me thinking about them after I have read them, as that tends to mean that something has really struck a cord with me, and sometimes I can't even explain why that is. The reasons behind the book hangovers are so diverse and lengthy that the best way to find out would be to read the reviews of the following book; The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins), The Best is Yet to Come (Renee Peterson), Forget Me Not (Sarah Daltry) and Crimson Midnight (Amos Cassidy). Links are at the bottom of the post and there are many many more books that have left me like that! 

Other Things

There are many many other things that make me enjoy a book, and a sample of these are below, unlike the categories above, these criteria are less often in occurring and don't apply to the majority of books.
  • humour of the laugh out loud variety 
  • unique magic systems (mainly for high fantasy) 
  • a kick ass heroine!
  • twists 
  • darker undertones (though definitely not all the time!) 
  • ADVENTURE
Reviews of books mentioned can be found here: 
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins 
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (yet to be published) 
Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin 
Wither by Lauren DeStefano 
Forget Me Not by Sarah Daltry 
The Best is Yet to Come by Renee Peterson
Crimson Midnight by Amos Cassidy