Since I started joining the Bored to Death YA Book Club I have been thinking a lot about reading. That, and I started to go out on Friday evenings once a month instead of, well, reading on the couch in my pajama bottoms, a top knot and a little furry thing yelling at me for his late night snack.
Oh, the joy. The thing I have been thinking about the most is what exactly defines a good book. I can tell you right away that I haven’t got the answer (yet?). One thing I do know is that there are certain features that I tend to avoid. I’ve come up with a list:
1. A rubbish ending, or: when the thing you most dreaded to happen, happened. Damn you, Nicholas Sparks.
2. Historical fiction. I entertain myself with the thought that I just know too much about history to enjoy historical fiction. A more realistic explanation for my distaste in historical fiction is that much of the historical fiction I read are just poorly written love stories with a historical background to make it more interesting.
3. Books filled with cliches that are just too… cliche. You can’t just keep building that shit up like it’s eye shadow.
4. Books about chicks who need to choose between two guys. I want to read about real love, not about yeah, I couldn’t choose but then I made a pro’s and con’s list and it suddenly became very clear to me-love.
5. Shallow characters. I hate it when most characters in a book are only there to tell a part of the story, but don’t seem to have any story to tell on their own.
I have to be honest: it took me a while to come up with this list.
Writing them down made me realize that I don’t hate these features in books when they are used with care. Some authors can get away with cliches while others can make you cry happy tears when your favorite character dies, because it just seems to be inevitable.
So, what does define a good book, if you can’t really decide based upon a list of bad features?
I’m starting to think that maybe a good book is the one that has you staying in at Friday night, in your pajama bottoms and a top knot, with or without the yelling of your furry sidekick in the background.
Written by Francisca Priem, YA book clubber and fervent keeper of guinea pigs.