What I like in a book

I did not finish two books recently, so it got me thinking about what makes a good book for me. I came up with three things.

1. Characters

I like fully developed characters. I don’t need to like the characters, but I do want them to be consistent in their motivations. For example, I watch Game of Thrones, and I think everyone would agree that Tywin Lannister is not a good person. But he is consistent in his evilness. You always know where he stands, and his decisions make sense. He is one of my favorite characters even though he’s a truly awful person.

All that said, I cannot stand to read about weak female characters – consistent or not. I get pissed off when female writers write weak women characters because why would they do that? And my feminist rage flares up when men write weak female characters because is that what they really think about women? It’s just all around bad news for me as a reader.

2. Plot

I like books where the plot advances quickly. There doesn’t need to be a ton of action, but I like for something to happen and for things to move along at a nice pace. I think this is a huge part of why I like YA novels. Things happen quickly because they’re usually pretty short books (under 400 pages).

I enjoy dystopian novels, anything with a romantic sub-plot (but not full on romance novels), a lot of contemporary fiction, and some fantasy or sci-fi books.

I strongly dislike reading books about anyone having an affair.

3. The right amount of details

Somewhat related to plot, I like books that have enough details but not too much detail. I don’t like to be bogged down by unnecessary details or subplots. If it doesn’t add to the story, I really don’t care.

I like a book that jumps right into the plot and fills the details in later. There should be some backstory, but the book cannot be all backstory.

The two books I DNFed lately were…

Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner

I usually like Weiner’s books, but this book was all backstory. It had a weak female character (Sylvie), and two characters were having affairs. I got it because it was on sale for Kindle, and the mother-daughter plot line was appealing. I made it about 1/3 of the way through, and there wasn’t much interaction between any of the characters.

Wildflower Hill by Kimberley Freeman

This book is two intertwining stories – that of grandmother and granddaughter. It appealed to me because it’s about a dancer who gets injured and then inherits her grandmother’s house. The plot of this book was pretty non-existent though. I listened to almost half of it, but nothing happened. She was just inheriting the house at almost half way through the book. There were too many details and backstory and not enough actual plot. I probably only listened as long as I did because I didn’t have a new audio book waiting, and it is read by Caroline Lee, who also read Big Little Lies, and I love her accent.

What makes a good book for you? What have you DNFed lately?

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  1. I totally agree that I don't have to like characters to enjoy the book. Sometimes I find that more interesting. Pace is really important for me. If it is too slow there is a good chance I won't make it. I actualy haven't DNFed anything lately but I am not opposed to doing it.

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