I love to read.
I read a lot of books.
I post a lot of reviews.
When deciding what I liked about a book, I don’t look at things like writing style, typographical errors, or if certain elements showed up at exactly the right number of pages into the book. I’m not reading to be critical of someone else’s work.
I have my reader’s hat on and I am reading for enjoyment or for information. If what I am reading delivers, I am a happy camper.
So, in the case of reading fiction, what is it that makes a book enjoyable for the masses?
Here are a few observations. (Please feel free to write in and add any to the list that I may have forgotten).
I like a book when
- I have empathy for the main character, especially if they are the “under-dog” or are hurt or in a difficult situation which they are trying to change.
- I value one of the traits he/she has—love, courage, loyalty, etc.
- There’s not too much backstory.
- There is a nice balance of suspense and humor.
- If, by their actions and emotions, the characters seem “real.”
- There is enough description so that I can visualize the setting and the characters.
- The story doesn’t drag on and on way past when I feel it should have ended.
- There is a sentence or two at the end of each scene/chapter that makes me want to read “just one more”—and, often, late into the night. (I just have to find out…)
- The story isn’t totally predictable. If it twists and turns, making it a challenge for me to figure it out too readily.
- The hero succeeds/“wins.” That doesn’t mean that it must end the way I predicted. In fact, not at all. But, if the hero learns something or is in a better position at the end of the book than when the story began, I am satisfied.