Think about your favorite book. Why do you like it? What is it about your favorite books that make you like them? This is the question that I asked people when I began this book-writing adventure. I even asked myself the question. I wanted to be sure to include those crucial elements in my book. However, I ran into several snags upon my attempt to answer that question. For one, the obvious: EVERYONE is different and has different tastes. You can't possibly please everyone's tastes. Okay, well then, I will narrow my questioning field to my target audience. Young adults, or adults like myself. Okay, still too broad of a guide, but a good start. However, this interesting fact entered my mind: even if I narrow that audience to myself alone, it is hard to pinpoint exactly what I like because I like different types of books for different reasons.
Enter extremely long side note/semi-rant here: I've talked with several people who have a pet peeve about the rating system on Goodreads. I’d have to agree with them. For example, it is strange to contemplate that The Very Hungry Caterpillar has the same rating as War and Peace. They both may deserve the high ratings, but they are not on the same plane. The rating system seems to put them there. The reason you pick up a book will reflect your rating. Not all books have the same function and the reason you read should technically become the standard for your rating...not some collectively embraced rating system that puts a loved children's book on the same star as a 1300+ page historical masterpiece novel. It is these two approaches (subjective versus collective standard) that wage a war in my mind when I attempt to rate and review a book on Goodreads. But Goodreads is good nonetheless if you have an idea of the tastes of the person who is rating (...and the review feature is there, so my argument may be a moot point).
So, I decided to jump into the question: what are some reasons I read? To be informed, to be educated, to have a life-changing/heart-lifting lesson, to be inspired, to be entertained, to be warned, etc. In all honesty, the reason I pick up a book has everything to do with in which stage of life I am. Two of the books I devoured and loved in college were The Basic Writings of John Stuart Mill (by John Stuart Mill) and Modern Literary Theory (by Rice and Waugh). Both were required reading for polar opposite classes (Media Law & Ethics versus Theater Studies, respectively). Strangely, I found they complemented each other in expanding my ability to think, stretch, and blow my mind wider at each read and juxtaposition. I love books that make me think. And make me think hard. The ones that combine the intellectual with basic truth, then leave you sitting back in your chair, mind expanding with original thought.
However, that type of book is not my first book of choice at this phase in my life. With the constant demands for my attention all day long as a homemaker and mother, at the end of the day, I love to curl up with a good, wholesome, engaging, entertaining story. One that shows a side to life that is happy, lifts one up, and makes one happy. I just read the fourth book in the Gallagher Girls series. Have you read them yet? They are awesome. I’d say they have nearly all of the elements that make me like a book (remember: that’s the me speaking at this stage in my life).
Stay tuned for my next post, where I will list the elements that make a book one that I love to read (and the type I'm attempting to write). In the mean time, What are the elements that make a book one you love?