The Makings of a Good Book

I wasn’t sure about making this post because everyone has their own opinions and everyone is capable of deciding what makes a good book, but I’ve slated a few novels over my blogging-life-so-far and feel obliged to explain why. I hope to clarify what I’m looking for in a book and explain why certain reads turn out to be big disappointments. Don’t worry, I’ll make it snappy.


1. It has to teach me something new. By this I don’t necessarily mean it has to be factual or historical but I have to feel somehow intellectually better-off after having spent hours of my time sifting through its pages.

2. It has to be well written. If I feel I could write the book better myself then it’s not a good book. Before I Go To Sleep. Cough. The language has to have some thought behind it. It has to be interesting. I have to notice it.

3. The plot has to keep me engaged. Of course there will be moments of tension and times where things sort of plato, that’s natural in every story, but there has to be constant progression or else I (and many other readers I suspect) will get bored.

4. The characters have to be well-rounded and developed. They also have to be believable. If a character’s actions do not seem to suit his or her personality then I seem to lose any connection I had with that character; I no longer understand them and I no longer care. They have to have layers and they too need progression. Also, a good book needs at least one likeable character, if I hate all of them I’m likely to hate the book. This is really important. The Girl on the Train. Cough.

And I think that pretty much sums it up. If a book is well written with interesting characters and an engaging plot – and I have like I’ve gained something from reading it – then I’m bound to like it. Hopefully this somewhat justifies me slating the odd book. A bit. Sort of. Maybe?


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