Last week I was tagged by My Bookish Blog to write about several things I like in a book which is such a great idea for a post! Sometimes I forget about why it is I’m so passionate about reading, so it’s nice to remind myself of those things that really make me smile when I’m enjoying a good book. I found it hard to narrow it down to seven but here goes!
Strong character development
Character development is so important to me because I need to care about the characters to want to read the book. I don’t just want to know about what’s happening in the present plot though – I want to know the history of the character, why they are the way they are, their likes and dislikes, their quirks. I want to feel like I know them as a person, rather than just witnessing them complete a journey.
Unreliable narrators are definitely a Marmite device within storytelling but for me I absolutely love them (when done well). Ian McEwan never fails to entertain me with his knack for writing them, and I’ve read many a novel where I’ve been well and truly duped by the main character. It fascinates me that a well-written unreliable narrator can completely throw you and lead you off the scent, yet if you read it back again it just seems so obvious. I find it all very clever, and it’s something I’d love to perfect as a writer as well.
I absolutely love books that show the story from multiple perspective as it adds a curious dynamic to the plot and broadens the story for the reader. I love seeing things evolve through different eyes and eventually catch up with one another – it can be frustrating to know what’s stopping a character without themselves knowing, but it’s an interesting tool that helps get the reader completely absorbed in the story. I don’t like too many perspectives because I get confused, but a few just makes it that little bit more interesting.
Unusual plot structure
The standard plot structure that’s used within many stories is a very good thing, but sometimes I appreciate a book that deviates from it bit, whether it be telling the plot in a different order or going full blown literary fiction and not including a plot at all! I love stories that come from the mind of the character, where not much happens physically, but mentally so much is explored. For this reason I love books that explore mental health and the more philosophical concepts.
I hate to admit it but I’m one of those people that struggles with long, uninterrupted pieces of text… I even struggle to write them because I get distracted so easily! I like chapters to be short and to the point, which not only makes it easier to read but also allows me to dip in and out of the book much more conveniently. I have this thing where I hate ending my reading sesh halfway through a chapter so shorter ones are especially useful during my commute or when I get a quick 10 minute break to read.
I’ve already spoken about plot but I find subplots so important as well. I’ve read books before that don’t really have subplots and to me they just feel so flat. Having a couple of interesting subplots not only adds to the main plot but also contributes to better character development which, as I’ve mentioned, is key to getting me hooked.
I’ve always appreciated those authors that go a little bit further with their novels, adding extra things besides the story to entertain the reader. I’ve been reading books by Jenny Colgan recently and I love how she adds recipes at the end of her novels! I also love fantasy novels filled with lore and maps, and pictures included in fiction books – these sorts of things flesh out a world and give yet another medium that the reader can use to delve deeper into the story.
There are so many other things that I love seeing in books, but I’d say these have to be my top seven. I’d also like to tag the following bloggers to write one of these posts as well…. I’m looking forward to comparing our lists! I’d also totally recommend you follow them as I really love their blogs!
What sorts of things do you look out for in a book? Let me know in the comments, and don’t forget to like and pin this post if you enjoyed it!