By John Reese, Jun 29 2017 11:58AM
Trying to distil the essence of a good book down to a few short words is a thankless task because the qualities that define good books are, more often than not, quite elusive. Experts with a special sense for the written word are numerous, from reviewers to authors opinions vary whilst popular opinion and word of mouth speaks volumes. What we can say for sure is that a good book is far more than a well-written novel. It’s literature that stands the test of time but if you thought such gems were rare you’d being gravely mistaken. Quite often those books that win the most acclaim are those that benefit from a sizeable marketing budget whilst there are an overwhelming number of good books out there that remain sadly overlooked.
A good book is one that connects with its reader on an emotional level and that’s true for all genres. Taking its reader on a compelling journey of escapism for every page that is turned but how powerful that connection is often depends on what its reader needs from it at that particular point in their life. Trawl the web and you will quickly come up with numerous top tips for writing a good book but when you really get to the crux of them there are only two which dominate. Keep these in mind when looking for your next book to read and even if it’s not on a bestseller list you may find yourself unearthing a hidden gem.
1: As a species us humans are visually stimulated, we create mental images when reflecting on things and a good book has to paint a picture for its reader. We are, after all, the sum of our experiences with related memories and a good book should stimulate them so that we can make that all important emotional connection to its characters and the challenges they face. It’s amazing how many authors miss this point, especially debut authors, but one author who has this down to a fine art is Dan Petermeier whose debut novel Summer Letters has received much deserved praise and a host of excellent reviews. You can read our review for Summer Letters HERE
2: Not only are humans visually stimulated we are relationship driven. Humans rarely thrive in isolation and a good book should first and foremost seek to forge a relationship between its characters and its readers Think of point one above as a quick hit. Emotions are quickly stimulated and just as quick to subside. Readers want characters they can connect with in terms of dreams, experiences and passion. It’s why romance novels remain forever popular. Readers want to feel invested in a books characters and the author who gives them this creates a captive audience.
You can cut and dice the points above in any way you want and there are many more you could add but at the end of the day these two are the absolute bedrock of a good book and the author who ignores these does so at their peril. One more note though, and it’s an important one. We said at the start that a good book is literature that stands the test of time and is far more than a well-written novel. Some readers and far too many authors get hung up on the quality of writing. The story should always come first and if the writing is good enough word of mouth will ultimately decide how good a book is.
As we always say, any view is subjective and what we always aim to do with our blog posts is to provide a point of reference upon which you can build. We hope we’ve given you something to reflect upon. Whatever your thoughts we are always open to comments and ideas and if you have a good book you’d like to submit for review you can do so HERE