rockym93 dot net

archive · tags · feed

What makes books good?

25 December 201205:01PMintrospection

I got Consider Phlebas for Christmas and it got me thinking about what I like in a book.

(I liked Consider Phlebas, by the way. And apparently it's the awkward first novel of the series. So really looking forward to Player of Games and Use of Weapons. (I got a box set. I love it when I get box sets for Christmas.))

But anyway, here's my theory:

Some books, like Consider Phlebas, and Sundiver (which I read last week) I like for the plot. The value in those books is in novelty, in reading something and following the plot and trying to predict where it's going and grinning like a maniac to myself at the twists. Seriously, nothing gets me into a book like a good twist. Not, like, a cop-out "IT WAS ALL A DREAM LOL" twist. A proper twist, that once it's twisted seems really obvious but that you just did not see coming. I live for those.

And honestly, I will probably never reread Sundiver. It was entertaining, but... it's spent. The novelty's gone. It's 'spoiled', to use the internettish term.

(I've never really thought about it, but I suppose that reading a book for the first time is inherently destructive and a bit bittersweet. Barring, like, lobotomy, there's no way to experience it exactly the same way again, the way that you discover and are surprised by a new book. I guess it's true of movies too, but books are more personal like that.)

Other books, though, you go back to. Because they're familiar, or because you love the world, or because you love the characters, or just because they're really well written. So you read them again, just to get into that world or hang out with those characters or experience that writing.

And while there's probably a tendency for books to be one or the other (like murder mysteries are probably more likely to be the first whereas something like The Lord of the Rings is more likely the second, and I guess something could start off as one but progress to the second pretty damn easily) it's ultimately a pretty personal thing. Different people are always gonna read and enjoy different books for different reasons, but I think this is still a pretty important dichotomy.

Which I guess brings me to my main point, which is can whoever has my copy of Good Omens please give it back already? Cause it's my favourite book. kthx.

(Also Merry Christmas and stuff I guess!)

< Things Change Worldbuilding: Parameters >