What Makes A Good Book?

by bdhesse

Everybody has different taste when it comes to what kind of story they like. I like various kinds of stories. I will read fantasy, I’m not really all that picky about the sub-genre when it comes to fantasy. I also like scary stories. I will read murder mysteries, paranormal stories, thrillers, etc. I usually prefer short stories when it comes to anything scary, but I will read novels too. I just don’t like anything slow-paced. I also like sci-fi, but I’m a bit more picky about that. I read way too many space-voyager stories as a kid, so I’m no longer all that interested in that type of story. I like dystopians, and I like certain near future sci-fis, like The Martian by Andy Weir. I haven’t gotten into any steam punk, but the culture interests me.

All of these books are very different. The stories are different, they are written differently, and they have different authors (usually). So what makes the books that I enjoy good? A large part of it for me is the characters. I have to like the characters or I won’t be able to get into the book. I like characters that are intelligent and strong-willed. I particularly like these qualities in female characters. I also like characters that go against the stereotypes. I don’t like overly emotional female characters who are interested in finding a boyfriend. If that is a part of themself that they discover, or something that happens to be the case but is not strongly focused on, the I’m fine with it. But I am not interested in reading about someone who talks about nothing but her love interest and decides that they should take a dramatic leap off of a cliff in the name of hanging on to that person. I also don’t want to read about the muscle-bound stud who can do anything and never cries. I want real people. I want to read about female characters who don’t want to get married and have kids and I want to read about male characters who are self-conscious and show weakness.

The story has to be good too. If the world isn’t sufficiently built and the story is slow, then there is no way that the characters can save it. But I think that good characters are the most important thing for me. A good story tends to come with good characters.

So what makes a good story for you?