Book Blogger Hop, April 4th Through 11th
"What qualifies a book as good or bad? Are some books objectively better than others, or is it purely a matter of opinion?"

The answer can be both: "some books" are "objectively better than others", and a "matter of opinion."

Points on what I look for in books and what I look for when I read them.

1. In the preface, foreword, or introduction, the goals and intentions are explained. This is a key point in whether a non-fiction book is "good". Has the author met the goals? Does the author have documented facts, or is the information a legend?
2. Is the book dry and dull, void of breathing life into the historical people? A non-fiction book can be entertaining, and not an academic treatise.
3. Has the author written a book with an agenda, or bias? This can be out-right evident, or it can be sneakily added when we least expect it.
4. Is there a thorough Bibliography and notes section in order to state where there facts came from, as well as give credit to others.
5. An author's enthusiasm transfers to the page, making the book more interesting and engaging.
6. Has the author given information at such a quick pace that not only my head is spinning, but there is no way I can follow what he is writing? I take notes on every book I read. On a few occasions, a book has filled my head with information to a point I feel my head is about to implode or explode. Taking notes is a life saver in order to keep pace with and understand what I've read, it is also a great way to help when its time to write a review.

1. Has the author brought life to the characters? I've read some books where too much descriptive information is given about its characters leaving no room for imagination; on the other hand, other books have given few details which make its characters anorexic.
2. Does the ending tie-up quick? Is it predictable? Does the book end with a hint of a second book?
3. The pace of the story, is it spread out thin? Does it have a rhythmic melody, like in a score of music, with crescendos, fortes, and rests?
4. Is the book of interest to me? Is it a genre I enjoy reading?
5. While reading the book, does the author interject something into the story which is a shocker? There have been books in which I wondered if the "shocker" is done on purpose, to cause a sensation, or attention?
6. In a historical fiction book, which parts are true, and which are embellished, or completely untrue?
7. I love strong characters, but do not need to like them. Milk-sop characters should only be in the background.
8. When I'm finished reading the story, will I take the story and characters with me? There are stories and characters which are still haunting my mind.

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  1. Fantastic answer. Love your comparison between fiction and non-fiction and the nice detailed points.

    I like strong characters as well and base my good and bad on the characters for the most part.

    THANKS for sharing.

    Happy Hopping!!

    Silver's Reviews
    My Blog Hop Answer

  2. EXCELLENT post, Annette!! You've really covered all the bases here! In fact, I would say that the questions you pose would generate more posts on this fascinating, yet complex topic.

    I love the fact that you've covered nonfiction as well as fiction. Most book blogs tend to focus exclusively on fiction. This is fine -- each blogger has their own criteria for their blogs, after all. However, I do wish more book blogs featured nonfiction as well as fiction. I include myself in this statement. Although I greatly enjoy reading nonfiction, I don't feature it very frequently on my blog, in spite of having an eclectic one. I feature a lot of YA fiction, so I have drawn those types of readers. Well, it's hard to balance genres for me, due to my limited amount of time....

    Very important, as well as interesting, are your points on whether a nonfiction author has provided a foreword in which goals and intentions are well-established. I also like your point about bias, and yes, you're right about some nonfiction (and fiction!) writers "sneaking" it into their books!

    I hate it when a nonfiction book lacks a bibliography!! This tells me that the author has a bit of an ego problem. They must have gotten some insights from SOME books along the way. But the lack of a bibliography makes it seem that their book sprang fully formed from their heads, much like Athena sprang from Zeus's forehead!

    As for fiction, I love strong characterizations, as well! And I agree that unforgettable characters are a solid clue that the book is a good one. While we readers might not remember every detail of a plot, the characters will always stay with us, if the author has succeeded in truly bringing them to life!

    I think I would have to say that yours is one of the more interesting posts answering this question that I've read so far! Thanks for your well-thought-out answer!!

    I'm now following you with GFC!! : )

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  4. Nica opinion. As for me, there are "good books" that I utterly hate, although hundreds of scholars try to convince me otherwise. And yet there are "just a book"-s that haunt my mind for weeks after reading them.

    In most cases, I usually just try to understand why some people love some books, what role the books play in the history of literature and how they are related to mankind's history. I can say to people, "I understand that some people love this book because this and that, but in my opinion...," or something alike.

    I love bibliography, not just in fiction but in science fiction and historical fiction as well. I want to know things that I can trust and things I can't trust in a book. Besides, the fact that they put bibliography in their books makes me appreciate them more for the research that they have done.

    By the way, you are nominated in Liebster award. Please visit and answer the questions. I'd like to hear your opinion.

  5. Thank you everyone for the positive feed back, much appreciated. Thanks for nominating me for the Liebster award!


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