Friday, 4 April 2014

Book Blogger Hop: What Makes A Book Good?

Book Blogger HopIt's another Friday and almost the end of term! I can't wait for half-term to begin so I can refocus on reading for pleasure a bit before heading back into doing courseworks. But for now, let's focus on Friday memes. The first is Book Blogger Hop, hosted by Billy Burgess over at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. This week's question is:

To you, what qualifies a book as good or bad? Are some books objectively better than others, or is it purely a matter of opinion?

This is quite a difficult question, I feel. Judging from my blog content, I must at times come across as quite snobby because I prefer classics over a lot of contemporary fiction. A lot of classics, I feel, are called such because they speak to people no matter what century they're from and therefore they are considered good. Having survived for so long must mean something. But that doesn't mean all classics are "good" in my opinion. I have a severe dislike for any of Charles Dickens' books because I don't like his writing style or the way he treats his characters.

A "problem" I do have with a lot of contemporary fiction is that I feel a lot of them lack innovation and follow trends without trying to add something new to them. First is was vampires, now it's dystopian, it will be something else next. But, since starting my degree, I have started to realize that this is simply something that has always happened. The classics we have now are simply the best of the bunch from back in the day. I'm imagining that in a hundred years most of the current fantasy genre novels will have been forgotten whereas Game of Thrones might survive.

But for now, I think it largely depends on opinion. I do feel like there are certain things that make a book good, such as proper use of language, inventiveness, good character development etc., but the issue with these criteria is that they also depend on opinion. I think not a single character in the Twilight saga goes through any kind of proper development, but other people do. So, long answer short: I do think it definitely depends on opinion, but groups of people definitely agree on certain categories and then declare a book good.

Book Beginnings and Friday 56 are hosted by Rose City Reader and Freda's Voice respectively and today I'm using The Watcher in the Shadows by Carlos Ruiz Zafon because my holiday reading has officially started.

'Dear Irene,Sometimes I think I am doomed never to forget the mirage of that summer we spent together in Blue Bay.'
I love the beginnings of Zafon's novels because they always manage to sound nostalgic and mysterious at the same time!

'At first glance it looked like a wad of paper tied together, but then she noticed Hoffmann's unmistakable wax seal. Letters.'
Why would he burn letters? Who is Hoffmann and who is she? So many questions!

So, what do you think makes a book good?


  1. I think a if it is avgood book or a bad book depends on the reader. Here is My Post

  2. Thanks for sharing...may have to add this one to my wish list.

    My Friday post:

  3. Wow...very nice, detailed answer. Characters make me decide if it is good or bad.

    Have a great weekend.

    Happy Hopping!!

    Silver's Reviews
    My Blog Hop Answer

  4. For me it takes engaging characters and a fast-moving plot to make a good book. Happy reading!

  5. I don't think liking classics makes you a snob, just sophisticated as a reader is all.
    Happy weekend!

  6. Interesting post, Juli! I wouldn't call you a snob, either, just because you prefer classics. It is indeed true that classics have endured because they have universal appeal across time. Also, they are usually well-written, with masterful characterizations. They are also held up as standards for other writers to follow, at least in the literary fiction genre. So I would say that you are, instead, an educated reader, as well as a sophisticated one, as Freda has pointed out.

    As far as judging whether a book is good or bad, I do think there are some objective factors to take into consideration, but there are subjective ones, as well. For instance, you don't like Dickens or the Twilight books, and I happen to love both! So personal opinion does have a lot to do with the subject of this question.

    I see you've picked a Zafon book for your "Friday 56" post!! I've been meaning to read "The Shadow of the Wind" for the longest time....and I own this book, too! I really need to get to it, because he has certainly made a huge splash in the literary world!

    Thanks for your thoughts!! : )

    1. Thanks for your amazing reply! :)

    2. You're very welcome, Juli! I'd be interested to know what you thought of my own answer to this question. When you can, how about coming over and taking a look? Thanks! : )

  7. I think reading and music and even what we eat, are just tastes, that makes us who we are, and all we can do is revel in who we are. As for others, they are just flies on the wall, that soon fly away!