I love reading. I'm an unapologetic nerd when it comes to books and I'm sorry I'm not sorry. I'm almost positive it's hereditary, in which case I'm doomed. I just finished reading The Hunger Games Trilogy - like, 6 minutes ago - and I must say, for adolescent literature, it did not disappoint. I just love getting caught up in a book [or in this case, three books] and feeling like the world needs to stop so I can keep reading. I love being so enthralled in a story that I can't make myself go to sleep even though my eyes are fighting with me. I even sort of love that all day today I could barely focus on anything other than the last third of the last book waiting for me on my nightstand. Both hours of The Bachelor were even hard to get through, you guys, which is saying something, because I love The Bachelor.
That's how I know a book was good. Well, there are a few ways, really.
1. When I am so caught up in it that I have a hard time functioning in the regular world.
It doesn't happen terribly often and sometimes it's why I don't read as many books as I could, because when I get into a good one it's hard to stop me. It's like when you start watching Mad Men on Netflix and you say, "ok, one more episode," until you've said it so many times that it's nearly 6 AM and you're just really glad in that moment that you don't have a job. Not... that I've ever done that. But really. There are few things more delightful to me than getting wrapped up in a good book. The Hunger Games fed that for me three-fold.
2. When I am so sad it's over that it makes me turn the last few pages slower.
In the same way I love being enthralled in a good story, I love to hate when it ends. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I hold off on reading the end as if to delay the inevitable. Sometimes I write a blog about it to deal with it's over-ness. When I finished the seventh Harry Potter I was devastated; thought I would never love again. But that's the tell of a really good novel - when even just through words, through rhetoric and dialogue, you are so attached to and involved in the development of the characters that for a weird little minute it feels like a loss when they're gone. [also - for the record - I am Team Peeta all the way]
3. The writing has got to be good.
I want adjectives and big words and passion and emotion. I don't care if you have the most interesting story line or M. Night Shyamalan plot twist in the whole wide world. If the writing is lame, the book will be too.
4. No one wants to be a cover-judger, but let's get real, I'm a sucker for a good cover.
Or as my friend Beckie says, we like "sexy books." All three of those hardback badboys are sexy as all get out and will look stupendous out on my shelves for the world to see. [That, friends, is what we in the business like to call a bonafide perk.] Don't hate that.
This is specific to novels, obviously. In fact, if I'm reading another kind of book, say, Christian Inspiration or Self-Help for Women or some other category from the sections in Barnes and Noble you hope no one ever catches you browsing in, my criteria is almost exactly opposite. As in, I know it's good when after I
This little trilogy provided a nice little break from reality for the few days it took me to read them. I don't ask for much in a novel, really. Take all my attention while we're involved and make me miss you when you're gone. Then just try to not write like you're texting a 14 year old or writing an online dating profile, slap on a sexy cover, and we'll be in business.