Tuesday, August 3, 2010

What Makes a Book Good?

Thank you so much for the warm welcome. I am honored and extremely excited to join you three at Girls Just Reading.

Let me get started by telling you a bit about myself. I am in my late thirties and live in Jersey. I work in beautiful New York City and read on my commute into the office. My love of reading began in high school with my senior year English class. We read Catcher in the Rye and it was the first time a book spoke to me. The very first time that I got something from what I was reading. After that, I started reading all the time.

I read with my heart. A book has to touch me. It doesn’t have to be a situation I can relate to, but the characters have to be relatable. I need to feel something when I read whether it be empathy, happiness or even anger. I’m not a happy ending kind of girl, I don’t always need one. I would rather read a story that is real than have a textbook happy ending written in. I prefer truth in fiction. (Oxymoron much?) I love stories about sisters, friends, everyday life in extraordinary circumstance. That is what makes a book good to me. I want to know the characters, I want feel what they feel. When the story ends, I want to know more. Not because the author left me hanging, but because these characters became friends of sorts and I want to know how the rest of their lives turn out.

Some of my favorite authors are Alice Hoffman, Jen Lancaster, Elizabeth Berg and Laurie Nataro. I read all kinds of books but my favorites are Chick Lit, Memoirs, and Romance (historical or contemporary) occasionally thrown in. For some reason I really don’t have an answer to, I usually only read books written by women. My absolute favorite book is Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. I am a re-reader. I’ll read something again if I absolutely love it.

My ratings are pretty basic. I try to keep them to strictly 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

1 – In plain English, this book was terrible. So bad, in fact, that I am mad at myself for reading it. I’m even madder at myself for buying it. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.

2 – I didn’t like it or hate it. I’m pretty neutral about this book. I probably wouldn’t recommend it to anyone unless I knew that was a writing style I knew someone liked. This is the kind of book I hope came from the library.

3 – I liked this book. This book had something redeeming to it. I would recommend it to others, passing it on and not expecting it back.

4 – I really, really liked this book. There is something about the story that spoke to me. It is well written, the characters charming and believable to me. I would definitely recommend it, in fact, I’d probably let you borrow my copy, but I would want it back.

5 – The best book I’ve read this year. Fives for me are rare. Water for Elephants: A Novel is a five. The Time Traveler's Wife is a five. A five has everything I want in a story. A five is the kind of book I will read again and again, probably once a year. I won’t let you borrow this one, you’ll just have to go out and get one yourself because it’s worth it.

I have about 30 books in my TBR pile. I read about two or three books a month. Here is what you can expect from me in the next few months:

My Name Is Memory by Ann Brashares
Sold by Patricia McCormick
A Little Bit Ruined by Patty Friedman
The Last Bridge by Teri Coyne
A Wish In Time by Laurel A. Bradley
Consequences by Penelope Lively
A Hopeless Romantic by Harriet Evans
Veil of Roses by Laura Fitzgerald.

I am looking forward to sharing my insights with all of you. I’ll have my first review for the novel The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno: A Novel by Ellen Bryson posted on Wednesday.



Alison's Book Marks August 2, 2010 at 7:04 PM  

Welcome and great post!

I love that NONE of your books that you have on your list are familiar to me. I love discovering new books and new authors, especially ones that aren't blanketing the book blogosphere! I look forward to your reviews...and I'm really jealous of your commute to the city. Someday...my boys are still too little for me to commit to an hour commute to the city each way. As I said...someday!

Jenn August 2, 2010 at 9:08 PM  

So excited to have you, Alice!

I have an Ann Brashares book in my TBR pile too... should we do an Ann Brashares week? LOL

Jenn August 2, 2010 at 9:12 PM  

Actually, I nearly bought My Name Is Memory but ever since I read City of Light by Lauren Belfer I have no taste for historical fiction.

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