Booking Through Thursday on June 19, 2008

June 19, 2008 at 6:28 pm (Booking Through Thursday)

Think about your favorite authors, your favorite books . . . what is it about them that makes you love them above all the other authors you’ve read? The stories? The characters? The way they appear to relish the taste of words on the tongue? The way they’re unafraid to show the nitty-gritty of life? How they sweep you off to a new, distant place? What is it about those books and authors that makes them resonate with you in ways that other, perfectly good books and authors do not?

1. Above all, the book must draw me in. I need to be able to really get into it or I won’t bother.

2. My favorites, the ones that I read over and over again, tend to be sci-fi, fantasy, or historical. See also: if I wanted to live life as I know it, I could go out and do it.

3. The characters must be real. My favorite example of this is a quote from “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”:

“Well, obviously, she’s feeling very sad, because of Cedric dying. Then I expect she’s feeling confused because she liked Cedric and now she likes Harry, and she can’t work out who she likes best. Then she’ll be feeling guilty, thinking it’s an insult to Cedric’s memory to be kissing Harry at all, and she’ll be worrying about what everyone else might say about her if she starts going out with Harry. And she probably can’t work out what her feelings towards Harry are, anyway, because he was the one who was with Cedric when Cedric died, so that’s all very mixed up and painful. Oh, and she’s afraid she’s going to be thrown off the Ravenclaw Quidditch team because she’s been flying so badly.”

A slightly stunned silence greeted the end of this speech, then Ron said, “One person can’t feel all that at once, they’d explode.”

“Just because you’ve got the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn’t mean we all have, ” said Hermione nastily, picking up her quill again.

That is SUCH a teenage girl to be thinking/feeling. (Wait… I’m still like that. A lot.) At any rate, that right there sold me on J.K. Rowling’s ability to make a character.

4. The book must be real. This is why I rarely read “high” fantasy or sci-fi. I prefer something I could see happening, if I suspend a tiny bit of disbelief. For instance, if I were to suspend just a tiny bit of disbelief, I could see humans being able to tesseract (“A Wrinkle in Time”), Magic being something you’re either born able to do – or not (the Harry Potter books), ancient artifacts being created by aliens (Area 51 books), the strive for perfection causing us to actively decide not to have emotions (“The Giver”) and the US being overthrown and women only being considered useful for their babymaking abilities (“A Handmaid’s Tale”).

I’m sure there’s more. But these stand out for me.



  1. CJHill said,

    Great answer and one I agree with.

    Mine’s up


  2. Sally said,

    You certainly picked some crowd favorites. : )

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