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What Makes A Book 'Good'?

Updated: Feb 19, 2021

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Have you ever heard the phrase: ‘One man’s trash is another man’s treasure’? This doesn’t just apply to antiquing or shopping at thrift stores but is also very applicable to reading. After all, it only takes one glance at Goodreads to see that people can have very different reactions to the same books. What one person loves reading might be impossible for someone else to get immersed in—there’s different books for different folks!

But is there a particular set of guidelines to help readers determine when a book is good or bad? Read on for some insight into whether or not your current read can be considered ‘good’.

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Does it invoke emotions?

A good book will make you feel something. This is part of the reason why the term ‘good’ can be applied to pretty much any book: because as a reader what really matters is that it takes you on a journey and invokes some sort of reaction and emotion in you. Whether it makes you feel sad, happy, or angry, it only needs to affect you on a personal level for you to give it the title of ‘good’.

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Does it make you want to read it again?

Well-written books tend to stand the test of time. These are the works that you don’t mind reading and re-reading, even if years pass between each perusal. One of the best ways to tell if a book is ‘good’ or not is to take a look at your bookshelf and consider whether you’d enjoy re-reading any of them. The ones that have this value are definite keepers!

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Does it teach you something new?

There are great books out there about pretty much every topic under the sun, and one of the best ways to learn about people, places, and things that are foreign to us is through reading. That being said, ‘good’ books tend to be able to teach you something new every time you read them. It shouldn’t matter if you’re reading the book for the second time or the thirtieth, if you can take something new away from it each time, then you’ve probably got a good book on your hands!

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Does it hook you?

One of the most important characteristics of any book is that it draws the reader into another world. There are plenty of masterpiece works of literature out there that might be hard for you to get into. This doesn’t necessarily make them bad, but they may not be books that would fall under your personal ‘good’ category. A book that sucks you in and makes you feel what the characters feel is ‘good’, whether other people agree with that or not!

As you can see, there’s no one way to define a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ book. Everyone has different opinions, and a work of literature that’s beloved to someone else might not be your cup of tea. The important thing is that you develop your own unique definition of what you love to read. Never let yourself feel embarrassed for loving what you love—if it’s something you enjoy, then it’s ‘good’ for you!


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