Thursday, January 24, 2013

What Makes a Book Good?

Freshmen at HTHS blog every other week on our private Ning.  The topics are varied and we all learn a lot about each other through the blogs.  Right after Hurricane Sandy, Jesse posted a thought-provoking blog about books and reading.   (Because the Ning is private, the post has been reproduced below).

 With Hurricane Sandy selfishly taking away all the electricity, almost everyone in Monmouth County was left without power. As teenagers, many of us panicked. What are we supposed to do without internet and TV? For some of us, including myself, we had to resort to the old fashioned way of entertainment--reading. 
     Up until about 6th grade, I loved to read. I would get a stack of books from the library and end every night reading in bed. However by the end of 6th grade, I started to focus on what was even more beneficial to my brain than this--electronics. Reading started to seem time consuming and was something that I was doing at school, so I thought why do it at home when I could have fun playing a video game, watching TV, or listening to music. But during the hurricane, when there isn't electricity for entertainment, I decided to get going with our 40 book challenge. 
    During the break I read two books and started a third, which may not seem like a lot but that is because I got the books when there was only a couple of days left without power. The first book I read was "Framed" by Malcolm Rose. This book was about a child Forensic Scientists in the future that has to solve a murder at his school. I really liked this book because it was very suspenseful at parts and kept me guessing, while trying to solve the case myself. The next book I read was a re-read of "True Talents" by David Lubar. This is the sequel of the book "Hidden Talents" which is one of my favorite books. Both books are extremely suspenseful and I am personally fascinated with the idea of supernatural talents that aren't ridiculously far fetched. The third book that I started and am continuing to read is "Looking for Alaska" by John Green, which was highly recommended by Matt Kumar. Although I only just started it, I am already captivated by the humor and wit used by the author. I think that all of these are very good, which brings the question, "what makes a book good?"
   In my opinion, there are a few attributes to what makes a good book. The first is that the reader can relate to situations. In all  books, even fantasy, there are situations that the reader should be able to relate to. In "Looking For Alaska" the main character goes away to boarding school and has to make new friends. Even though I never went to boarding school, I went to sleepaway camp and could relate to the first meeting of my bunkmates and making new friends.
   The next quality of my idea of a good book is humor. All of the books I read had parts of comedy, but "Looking for Alaska" and "True Talents" use a lot of humor. The jokes add some laughs to reading which everyone likes, and it can also add some relief during very suspenseful parts. 
    The next quality of good books, which has been mentioned a lot, is suspense. The ability to keep the reader from putting the book down is one of the most important things. It makes the reading go quick, and leaves the reader wanting more. This is what makes some books real 'page turners'
     The last attribute I would say is vital in a good book is a smooth plot with a solid beginning, middle, and end. If just one of these is weak, it will kill the flow of the book. This is true in movies too. For example, the movie "Captain America" was doing pretty good...until the ending. It just ended abruptly with a stupid ending that seemed like the writer couldn't think of anything good and just wanted there to be a hint of a sequel. 
     I didn't expect myself looking forward to reading, but now I feel very differently about it compared to how I felt before the storm. Now, reading doesn't seem like a chore, and I enjoy long as the book really is good and no one is forcing me to read.

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