What makes a good book?

'How do you decide it is a good book?' This question has been asked to me several times. Hence, I thought why not make a post about it. Previously, I had written about a few articles about 'How to Judge a Book?' where I have written about how to pick a book from a bookstore or a seller website, 'How to plot an awesome story?' where I write about tips to keep in mind while creating a plot for your new book as a writer, 'Things I find funny in cliche' where I have penned down my thoughts on how cliches can be turn into a boring plot if its not well thought after. I thought let's write an article which helps readers to decide whether the book they read was worth their efforts or not. As a writer this article may help you to write a better story when you know what your reader would be expecting.

  1. Story telling is an art and not every writer is a storyteller.

    There are some books which might be good grammatically, lexically and even vocabulary will be great but you won't be able to connect with the story at all. If its a fiction, you were confused about the story and the main character's goal then its not worth at all. At max I will give a 3 star just for its good lexical content otherwise it was pretty much indecipherable for me.

    If it is a non fiction for example biography or an autobiography then see if the story actually inspired you or not. In terms of autobiography, you can cut some slack as many times the person writing it isn't a professional author. But coming to biographies, author has to show main content like the time which changed the personality, struggles which shaped his/her career, key moments that defined his/her life. A person's life is like a mozaic and you have to detail and outline as well as bring those key moments of his or her life into focus. If it's not there then it's not a good biography.

    Every person as a story and you just need a good way to share it. A book should always tell a story be it a non-fiction or fiction. Although, technical books are a different concept altogether which I will share later in last point.
  2. Grammar isn't only thing in a book. Narration is a bigger factor

    I have seen many readers or so called literature experts go berserk about grammar and narration. A writing is only as good as long its passing the intended message in an accurate way.

    Narration is a key in making may books a really enjoyable read and a horrible read at best. Narration, I thing is the most underrated and undermined factor when it comes to reading and reviewing books. I don't know much about how writers perceive narration as a quality factor while writing a book.

    At times editors have conflicting narration styles and end up messing with the author's narration style which results in a horrible pace of words. The flow with which the river of words flows in your mind should create an ecstasy of imagination. It should paint a picture inside your brain and make you live and feel that moment with its words. If a narration isn't doing it then it's not a good narration at all.

    Every author has their own way of telling a story which dominates the narration at times. It is not about who is a better writer or who has better understanding of the language. It is about what suits your way of thinking.

    But there are some bad narration examples where the flow gets obstructed randomly, no consistent pattern of word flow, pace isn't set in the whole book that is horrible.
  3. Check for Author's Other works.

    At times, you might stumble upon an author who you weren't aware about. It might happen that the author has some very well known works which you didn't know about. Else it might happen that the book you read was author's first time attempting to write a book of that kind. You don't really define any author by one or two books. There are authors who have penned a single brilliant classic which everyone remembers but then others are okayish while there are some who have penned brilliant series but a few stick out like a sore thumb.

    If you are reading a new debut author, never just bash the book or judge his or her writing abilities on the very first attempt. There might be times when the output wasn't what the author would've expected. Coming on topic of debut books, please take care about reading the samples before buying. Since this discussion is a post-purchase one, I'd say if you don't like it better don't drop a review at all. I know many will have conflicting opinions on this but, it is better not to say anything rather than try to fake a praise.

    If you stumble upon a book whose author is been like a guide to you for all your emotional or inspiration doubts and then one of his book turns out off-track from his usual style, don't bash. It might not be your style of the book at best. I have learnt after a lot of experience that at times you might feel a particular work would have no readers and then you realise, that particular thing has a huge fan following than the maximum number of followers you'll ever achieve on social media.

    So key is that, don't bother reviewing or posting anything about a book if you can't leave a good remark. If you still feel adventurous and love putting out your opinion then sure, do it but just don't bash the work.
  4. When you take a first break while reading the book.

    There can be a lot said depending upon the time you voluntarily take a first break from reading the book. I am ignoring busy schedules here as I am only talking about a section when you just want to to take a break from the book.

    It is a good book if you took your first break only because you got some chore to do or you started having eye strain. At times some people like me don't get up hours on before finishing a read and such books are rated above 4 stars for sure. I am a picky person who gives 5 only when a book touches my heart else everyone lands a 4.

    It is an average book if you took your first break say within half hour to first hour. If it is anything more than that then you have a really good book and if it is any less, you are not liking it. Many times it has happened that the start of some book is extremely crappy but as it goes ahead the story improves and I end up somehow reading it.

    There are moments when you feel like just not continuing reading any further, that thought brings it down into a 'not liking' zone. Although, at times it has happened that after I finished some book, my views have changed about the book. This would happen if the story has involved you too much and once you are over the book back to reality you would realise how much you liked or disliked something at the best.

    But as a general rule of thumb, I'd say the lap of time where you start reading to you first think about taking a break or just keeping a book aside automatically ranks a particular book on your liking index. Obviously, not everyone is an avid reader and not everyone reads for hours long so make your index about it.
  5. Book Series are always a surprise for me.

    There's a new trend in the market about pushing out books in series, a duology or trilogy at best. There are authors who just end up regurgitating the same plot even after its far past limits. Such books just keep on getting boring and boring as the numeral count keeps increasing in series.

    At times I have encountered seriously horrible first books when series turns out to be fine. For most part there's always that one book in the whole series which is like a cherry on a pizza. Well and then there are books which I just love and wish they never ended. So invest in a series wisely. Hence if you come upon a book series which is ongoing, free tip, wait till it ends. Else if you have read a book which is a part of a series but can be read as a stand alone then it is safe enough but unless you won't understand a series if you miss a book in middle then you better should just decide about the whole series when you read it as a series instead of rating every book of the series individually.
  6. Descriptions in a book are like salt in food.

    I have met a lot of people who just love poetic descriptions and then there are people who just want it as bare as possible. Obviously context is the key here also I feel it should be a part of story-telling and narration.

    If you land upon a book which has a ton of descriptions too much for your own taste then just skip them. See if you still are able to understand what is happening in the story without any hassle. If the answer is a yes then it is a good book ( Although, a badly written one as per me as blending is a very important factor in all elements. A good blend is needed to enjoy the read. ).

    Also, if you are someone who is reading a book with bare minimum descriptions and you need more, just add some of your own and see if they fit. If answer is yes then it is a good book. Just little bit off to your taste.
  7. Last but not least, the blending of all elements should be good enough.

    All the elements of the book like the plot, story-line, narration, placing of elements (Story-telling), lexical part, graphics and illustrations should be well mixed and blend should be so smooth that you can't find out the rough edges in the book.

    By that I mean, you can't just be bothered to find a mistake in the book and if encounter any it just wooshes past your brain and you ignore it like it never existed. That's when I can say you truly enjoyed a read, dived deep into the world of imagination and just probably had a book-hangover.
  8. Some Tips about Technical or Informative textbooks.

    See if the explanation suited you, or you had to work open the explanation in much better way. The answer here is very evident and I feel it is very easy to identify a good nonfiction which is technical or informative based on the factual content, explanation, language used, formating of the book ( indices, glossary, references ). Hence, I don't think there's much I can contribute here.

Do comment and share your thoughts about it! I'd love to know what do you think. Also, I'd keep updating it quite often so do follow the Website to get all the updates by clicking here.

Also, a minor headsup.... Obsessed is free to read on Kindle Unlimited! Do check it out. I'd be glad to read your reviews!
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