Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Why All Books Are Great--Even The Ones I Don't Like

I love books. Why else would I be blogging about them--at numerous sites? I've learned to appreciate the written word, and how challenging it can be to craft a book that someone else will enjoy. I fail at it miserably more often than not. I struggle with plot, showing versus telling, and character development.

While it's definitely more fun to read a book that totally captivates you, even those books you don't care for can teach you something.

  • You get a feel for what works in a book and what doesn't. I recently read a book where there was tons of conflict, but everything turned up rosy for the protagonist in the end. Each time he was presented with a challenge, he met it. Whose life is actually like that?
  • You learn the importance of good editing. Self-publishing gets a bad rap for this, but typographical errors, grammar errors, and inconsistencies can plague any manuscript. I once read a book by a New York Times best selling author where the protagonist used his belt to escape after he had been kidnapped. Not a bad idea, if the kidnappers hadn't confiscated the belt at the end of the last chapter.
  • I'm known for occasionally stepping outside my comfort zone when it comes to genres. It's rare I enjoy science-fiction or fantasy, but I've read a few books in those genres. I can appreciate good writing, no matter what genre it is.
  • You learn to appreciate readers. I've read books whose back cover blurbs had little to do with the actual story or embellished the book's contents. Writers have an unspoken contract with the reader that what they say is in the book should be there. If you can't honestly tell a reader what's inside, why should they buy your book?
I haven't enjoyed every book I've reviewed at my blogs. Overall, however, I have been satisfied. I can honestly say, though, that even if I didn't care for a book, I always learned something from it.

No comments: