Friday, June 12, 2015

What Makes a Book Good?

I worked in the digital marketing department of one of the big five publishers for over six years, so like the rest of these ladies, I’ve read a lot of books. Like, a LOT a lot.
I’m a tough critic, but I’m far from being an editor! I’ve only read a handful of books that I really could not finish. And most of those involved a plot where girl is engaged, girl meets another boy, girl has overly sexualized affair with said boy, finance finds out…you get the idea. 
I rate my books on a scale of 1-5, with a score of five being one of the best books I’ve enjoyed, and a score of one meaning that I couldn’t finish the book. A score of five will be reserved for the best-of-the-best. Most good books will receive a score of four.

By genre:

 Women’s Fiction, Mystery/Thriller -

I want to read a book that has me thumbing the corners so much that by the last page, the width of the book has doubled in size from bent pages. A book that is so well planned and executed that tears pour from my eyes, or have me shouting “WHERE DID THAT COME FROM??!” – in a good way! A book that might have some purple prose, but written with a purpose.
Favorites: Shantaram (Roberts), The Dogs of Babel (Parkhurst), Winter Garden (Hannah), The Lock Artist (Hamilton), Andorra (Cameron).

Business - 

I do, actually, enjoy reading business books, and I have a shelf devoted to them at home. It boils down to two things: 
         Does this book work for me, right now, with where I am in my career? Or do I need to be a C-level executive to put what I’ve learned to good use?
         Does this book use too many business terms that nearly put me to sleep? I recently tried to read a book that came highly recommended by a senior executive, and couldn’t make it past the first ten pages. Business ≠ robot. I want to be invested in the knowledge the book provides, not feel like I’m sitting in a college lecture.

Favorites: Managing Oneself (Drucker), What to Ask the Person in the Mirror (Steven), Reaching Your Potential (Kaplan). Almost anything by Drucker, Lencioni, Goleman.

Cooking, Health & Fitness - 

I love food. I love running. I have to run because I love food so darn much. I try (and regularly fail) to be health-conscious, so I am always up for a good cookbook or running book that I can put to good use.
Favorites: The Juice Generation, Eat and Run (Jurek), Born to Run (McDougall), The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook: The Original Classics (use the turkey recipe amended for your needs - it works flawlessly every single time).

Memoirs/Travel Memoirs - 

I love a good memoir. There isn’t much to say here aside from whether I deem the person worthy of writing a memoir (sorry, Lena Dunham!), but I love little nuggets and insight into the lives of people I admire.
Favorites include: After All (Moore), Eat, Pray, Love (Gilbert) 

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