What Makes a Good Book?

What makes a Good Book?



Does it have to win an award to be considered good?  Can a book be considered good if it is a great story with average writing? How about a well-written book with a less-than-compelling story line?

That is a tough question, to put into words the reasons why you pick a certain book to read. I can almost more easily say why I don’t like certain books over others. For me, it is usually due to the author, and his or her writing style. For example, there is one author I am always drawn to. The covers are very eye catching (yes yes I know don’t judge a book by its cover), the teaser on the back of the book seems intriguing. Even the last page of the book seems catchy!

(Oh, I forgot to mention that I always read the last page of a book to see if it hooks me.)

Sadly, after 3-4 books, I have come to find  I simply don’t like her style of writing. I especially don’t care for the fact that every protagonist is portrayed to be a strong female, only to actually be a weak individual who is alway’s in need of someone to save her.

For me, a good book is more than just a well-written story. A good book is a treasure trove of humanity so that no matter how often you open a page and start reading, there is still something new to be discovered. A good book is one that makes the reader feel. It takes you on a compelling journey. Calling a book “good” is an opinion that can be applied to any book. I believe that a book can be considered good if it is a great story with average writing. A great story with many struggles and ultimate success can be told even when the writing is average. Some story lines are not compelling, but they are so well written that people will recommend them. Have I read ones like these? Yes.

A  book doesn’t have to be a best seller, or on a recommended reading list for it to be classified as good.  Sometimes what makes a book a good one,  has to do more with what the reader needs at that given time in his or her life. Simply put, a good book is one that you enjoy reading. Sometimes the best books are hidden gems that you didn’t even know were out there! Take a look and pick up a book, you never know what you might just find.

These are just some of my thoughts, really the answer to this question varies upon each person. That being said, what about for you? What do you look for in books? Could you define what makes a good book to you?

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6 thoughts on “What Makes a Good Book?

  • Rosie Russell

    Great post Carmela!
    A good book to me is one I can’t put down! Those are books that are well written with descriptive settings and well crafted characters.
    Books I don’t care for are those with too many characters. The only way I believe that works, if the story is broken up in chapters, and if it’s a story that is told through the lifespan of say, a character’s life.
    Yes, the cover and trailer or synopsis is very important to draw the reader it to choose that particular book.
    Many times I will go to the library and pick out an author that is just starting out instead of choosing a well known one. You are right when you say, “Sometimes the best books are hidden gems that you didn’t even know were out there!”

    Thanks again for your great post!

    • Carmela Dutra Post author

      Thank you, Rosie, for sharing what makes a good book for you. Everyone has various reasons to what they look for in a book. I feel each book is as unique as its reader. No two persons are alike, so no two books are either.

  • Graham Downs

    A good book certainly does NOT have to have won awards, or be on any bestseller lists, in my opinion. I’ve read plenty of bestselling books that I’ve hated, and have discovered plenty of hidden gems that I couldn’t stop raving about.

    I agree it has to be a good story that resonates with me, but I’m afraid it can’t be one with less-than-stellar writing. As a reader, if I find one typo in a book, there goes its five-star review. Sorry. I know that makes me an anal, obnoxious prick, but I am so tuned to poor editing, incorrect word choice, etc, that I just can’t get over it.

    Of course, the writing can be polished to a high sheen, but if the story doesn’t grab me, it doesn’t grab me.

    Just my opinion, but good books have to be immaculately edited. That’s just how I roll. 😉

    • Carmela Dutra Post author

      I couldn’t agree with you more Graham, poor editing is a big issue for me too. I can overlook something things, but if a book is riddled with typos, it’s hard to forgive that. It’s essential to spend the extra time, and money to have a polished book. Thank you for your comment.

  • Barbara Radisavljevic

    There are probably as many opinions on what makes a book good as there are people who read. Some reviewers love books I hated I know others may not agree with my own reviews. Fortunately, there are enough books to choose from to make it possible for any reader to find one he or she likes.

    • Carmela Dutra Post author

      You are very true Barbara. There are many opinions on books. I bet we could spend hours discussing our feelings about some of the greatest books of the literary world. That is the beauty of books, there is a book for everyone, and not everyone will appreciate it as you do. Thank you for your comment!