Throughout a reader’s life, he/she/they will encounter some gems. A book that moves the reader deeply, worms into the memory, and changes the way they move through the world.
When a person finishes a truly penetrative book, it’s as if fiction and reality are blurred for a moment; there is a lingering weight in their heart as they acknowledge the end of beautiful story.
Why is your favourite book your favourite?
Some argue that book quality is subjective, that there are technically no “good” or “bad” books, only books a person prefers or dislikes. To some degree, this is true, there are high-quality books that haven’t captured my fancy. But there is a difference, in that I can still tell that they are high quality (whether they meet my preference or not). Some books ARE better than others, and it’s silly to argue otherwise. Some authors are masters of the craft. Here is what I say are necessary qualities for a superb work of fiction:
The author should hold an anthropological position. When they observe human mind and mannerisms with careful attention, it really makes a reader feel each character and scene they create. When a narrator points out how a character holds his hands as he speaks, how a fly looks stark against a white tablecloth, or how biting into a peach feels fuzzy against the tongue — bringing these little quiet, oft unnoticed, moments to life makes for fantastic fiction.
- Deliberative with vocabulary
Each word is carefully placed. They use a creative selection of vocabulary that isn’t obvious, but perfectly explains what the author is trying to create.
Nothing ruins a book like an author who can’t reign in their words. Suddenly the author’s voice rises above the characters’ because they cherish the words more than they do the goal of the story. Instead of being careful with their character and plot development, they can’t help but go on and on and on and on…
A novel that holds turmoil, love, woe, joy, anxiety, vengeance, despair, all of the above! BUT, in a way that feels real, makes them rise within the reader’s own chest in a way people can’t usually express in their own words.
- Creating a new lens
When a good books is complete, the reader should look out at the world as if they are a new person. Everything they say, see, and do should be tainted with the memory of that novel.